Crushing news for fans of Stephen King: Warner Bros. has reportedly passed on the long-awaited, much-hyped adaptation of King’s genre-bending Dark Tower series…making it the second time in just over a year that the project has been dumped. Last summer, Universal also jettisoned the project, which includes three feature films and two limited-run television series. Though fans were temporarily disappointed by the announcement, Warner Bros. stepped in and picked up the deal, keeping director Ron Howard, mega-producer Brian Grazer, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman on board, with Russell Crowe heavily rumored (though never confirmed) for the lead role of Roland Deschain.
King himself had even signed on as producer, releasing a statement early on indicating his faith in the original project:
I’ve been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world. Ron, Akiva, Brian [Grazer] along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for The Dark Tower series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in The Dark Tower that fans have come to love.
In both cases, the studios seemed to have balked at the enormous cost involved, in spite of all the star power behind the adaptation and the immense popularity of the series itself, which has sold more than 30 million copies since the first book was released in 1982.
Here on Tor.com, where we’ve been reading The Dark Tower along with Constant Reader Suzanne Johnson and arguing over the ideal casting choice for the enigmatic Roland Deschain for months and months, we have to admit to feeling more than a little let down by this latest development, just when it seemed that the project had finally gotten off the ground. But there may be a silver lining: Deadline and several other outlets are already reporting that Media Rights Capital, which recently had a surprise hit with Ted, is in “serious talks” to finance and distribute the adaptation.
Fingers crossed, and if it happens, let’s hope this deal finally sticks.
Stubby the Rocket is Tor.com’s mascot. All work and no Dark Tower movie make Stubby something something.