Somewhere along its journey to production The Dark Tower split into two: there's the film of course, that's on course to arrive in theaters early next year. Then came word of a TV spinoff. Details on how the two would connect were unknown for years, although my suspicions had it pegged as a quick cash-in on the brand (like the apparently-still-happening Terminator Genisys TV show). How wrong I was.
As revealed by Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), the TV show is most definitely in the works. It's foregoing the pilot process to start shooting its 10-13 episode run, and plans to flesh out the backstory of the movie's lead character, Idris Elba's Gunslinger, Roland Deschain. How so? They're only going to adapt another of Stephen King's novels aren't they. Yep. The Dark Tower series features two volumes that act like origin tales for Roland. Wizard and Glass is the first and that's the one Sony are turning into a companion series that's aiming to hit the small screen in 2018 - around the time the movie will also be available via streaming.
The cool thing about how the story happens means Elba will be part of the show, filming the opening 'wraparound' story segments as the older version of the character. He's set to appear alongside Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers - who's also in the movie - but they won't be in it for long. In the book, the pair take a time out from their arduous journey and Roland regales them all (there's two other characters who aren't in the movie but play large roles in the book) with a tale from his younger years.
It's a rich, fantastical story set in a seaside kingdom that involves an old haggardy witch in possession of a powerful glass, an unattainable beauty and a boy's quest to impress his father. It's a terrific read, even if it does pull you away from the main narrative, and I'm very excited to see who they cast as the young Roland Deschain. Now that we're in the age of Stranger Things (i.e. crazy talented pre-teen casts) I'm equally excited to see who's gonna play his ka-tet of pals.
And, if all goes well, there's always Roland's second origin book The Wind Through The Keyhole to adapt for season 2...
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Jackie Earle Haley, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Katheryn Winnick and Tom Taylor, The Dark Tower movie opens on February 17, 2017.