How best to adapt The Dark Tower

Every time news breaks about Ron Howard’s planned film and television adaption of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, it’s always concerning what studio rejected the sure-to-be expensive production and what studio is now considering making it. What we don’t hear much about is exactly how Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman plan to adapt the seven-part (actually now eight-part) series, other than a vague acknowledgement that the project would include both theatrical films and several seasons of a television show.

But which books would be adapted into movies? Which would make up the TV show? Which would be shortened or combined? Which would be adapted most fully? In these regards, no one knows exactly what Howard’s plan is. But I know what mine would be. First off, forget the add-on TV series. Actually, if they wanted to do the whole project as a TV series, a la HBO’s Game of Thrones, that would be fine. Perhaps ideal. But if The Dark Tower is destined for the big screen, then I’d prefer that’s where all of it ends up. And I believe it is possible to do the entire saga as a four-part film series. Here’s how (and if you haven’t read the books, spoilers galore) …

FILM ONE — THE DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER. The first film should be nearly a straight adaptation of the first two books in the series, The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three, though taking the name of the first. I’d adapt the first book nearly in full, making only some slight trims. (For example, I’d likely drop the Oracle as most of that info can be conveyed via Roland’s palaver with the Man in Black.) Once you move on to the Drawing content, Roland’s trips into our world can be cut down to just the basics: Eddie is a druggie that Roland saves from some gangsters. Odetta suffers from split personalities and a tragic history. And then, on the other side of the third door, Roland forces Mort to throw himself in front of the subway, which “heals” Odetta turning her into Susannah and creates all manner of mayhem on the timeline, especially when it comes to Jake. I think (or am hoping anyway) that this can all fit into a three-hour movie.

This first film must also include one brief flashback to Roland’s childhood: His defeat of Cort, a sequence that will serve to introduce many of the characters from the “young Roland” era that we’ll be seeing more of later, including Roland’s mother. Also, concerning the Man in Black: The Martin/Walter/Flagg nonsense needs to be streamlined something fierce. It’ll be one actor playing one character. Roland calls him “Martin” in the flashback sequence but knows he’s crossing the desert using the name “Walter.” When he finally catches him on the other side of the mountain that claims Jake, the Man in Black reveals his true name to be “Flagg.” And Flagg doesn’t die or pretend to die after Roland awakes. He’s just gone. Also, no more talk of John Farson. That role will be assumed by Flagg as well.

FILM TWO — THE DARK TOWER: THE WASTE LANDS. It’s the best book in the series, so it gets a full adaptation. I’d open with Jake in New York going about his business but dealing with some strange hallucinations that are finding their way into his school essays. (“The gunslinger is the truth.”) That’ll be a proper mind-fuck for the audience. Past that, I want everything here: The beams. The time paradox affecting Roland and Jake. “Charlie the Choo-Choo.” The haunted house. Demon sex. Lud. Blaine the Mono.

We also need another flashback sequence, this one detailing the Battle of Jericho Hill, featuring Roland, Cuthbert and Alain riding into battle with the Horn of Eld in their possession. The fates of the three should be left purposefully vague. This flashback, coupled with the one in The Gunslinger, should feel like their own little film within a film, complete with their own narrative momentum.

The movie ends with Blaine screaming down the track toward everyone’s doom and: “CAST YOUR NETS, WANDERERS! TRY ME WITH YOUR QUESTIONS, AND LET THE CONTEST BEGIN.” Smash cut to black. The audience will lose their fucking minds.

FILM THREE — THE DARK TOWER: WIZARD & GLASS. Film three will be another straight adaptation of its respective book, which means it’ll be 80 percent prequel as opposed to sequel. And why not? Hollywood loves prequels, and this will serve as one that’s actually naturally integrated into the overall story. It’ll also feel like a proper continuation of, and ultimate conclusion to, the adventures of young Roland that we’ve been teasing in the first two movies. Once the tragic love story of Roland and Susan is told, we also witness the full outcome of the Battle of Jericho Hill, with Cuthbert and Alain being killed and the horn being left behind on the battlefield. If the studio backing The Dark Tower really wanted to get creative, it could hire a completely separate director and crew to shoot all the flashback stuff, including the huge majority of this movie, while your primary director is busy working on the story proper.

There will be some of that here, too. We’ll still have have the “present day” bookends, with Roland and company defeating Blaine, discovering the Emerald City and having a showdown with Flagg. We’ll have one more quick flashback near the end revealing that Roland was tricked into murdering his own mother (with Roland now discovering the part Flagg had to play in that). And we wrap up with the ka-tet, having escaped Flagg’s grasp, once more on the path of the beam.

FILM FOUR — THE DARK TOWER: ROSE & TOWER. And now it’s time to get out the scissors. The sad truth is The Dark Tower series begins to unravel narratively starting with book five, but at least the film series offers a second chance to fix all of King’s mistakes. To do that, we’re going to combine the final three books — Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah and The Dark Tower — into one film (ignoring The Wind Through the Keyhole entirely). I’ve concocted a brand new title because the first two won’t work all that well for a series ender and The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower would just be stupid. Plus, I like that Rose & Tower echoes Wizard & Glass. (Another solid option would be The Scarlet Field, which is from the title of the last section of the last book.) Most of our final movie will detail the tail end of Roland and company’s journey to the tower, but we’ll make a side trip to New York for Roland to save the rose growing in that vacant lot. All the meta crap gets dropped, which means no Stephen King as a character. Father Callahan still shows up, but no one’s going to recognize him as a character from the book Salem’s Lot.

So basically what we’re left with is this: From Wolves, we have most of the Calla Bryn Sturgis stuff, with Roland solving the mystery of who’s taking the village’s children. (The wolves can still be robots, but certainly not Doom-bots. No goddamn snitches or lightsabers either.) Susannah starts to manifest the Mia personality, and everyone finds out she’s pregnant. Father Callahan, just a regular Mid-World clergyman in this version of the tale, promises the ka-tet a way to return to New York City provided they save the town’s children. When they do, Callahan reveals Black Thirteen (name-dropped by Rhea of the Coos in the last movie), which the group uses to travel back to our world.

From Susannah, we’ll still have the group being split between two time periods, though the action will be cut down to the essentials. Roland and Eddie have a 1977 shootout with the mobsters from Drawing of the Three and secure the vacant lot where the rose lives. (Remember, no King and no detours to Maine.) Meanwhile, after stashing Black Thirteen at the World Trade Center in 1999, Jake and Callahan launch a rescue mission to save Susannah and end up doing battle with a bunch of Low-Men.

Just like in book seven, both missions are more or less successes, though Mordred is born into the world and Callahan dies in New York. Everyone else returns to Mid-World, where they are reunited and make their final push toward the tower, which will be much shorter from this point than it is in the book. Massive cuts here, as I jettison Devar-Toi, Patrick Danville and the Dandelo stuff.

Flagg meets with Mordred, but unlike in the book, Flagg — who to this point as been built up as the series’ big bad and ultimate protagonist — is not immediately killed. Instead the two make a pact to destroy Roland and head toward the tower together. The ka-tet journey through one final montage of late-game Mid-World locales — we briefly see Castle Discordia and scenic shots of the beam — before making camp just outside the fields of Can’-Ka No Rey where they are ambushed by Flagg and Mordred. Eddie and Jake are murdered in a magic-vs.-six guns battle for the ages. Just as it appears Flagg will be victorious, Mordred assumes his spider form and kills him, breaking their deal. He then turns to finish off Roland, but Oy comes to the rescue, sacrificing himself in the process. As you’ll notice, most of this is straight from the book. It’s just combined into one huge climax here instead of being strung out among a number of wheres and whens.

Only Susannah and Roland remain, but when the pair find another mysterious door in the rose-filled fields, Susannah chooses to leave Roland and search for a reborn Eddie and Jake back in New York. Now all that remains is Roland and the tower. We’re eliminating the Crimson King, as the character ends up being a massive disappointment in the final book anyway. Instead, Roland’s final obstacle will be the tower itself, which is godlike and mentally tortures Roland as he approaches the front door. It reminds him of all that his quest has cost him, listing the names of his dead friends in an attempt to break his mind. But Roland perseveres and opens the tower’s door. The screen violently turns to white.

From here, we follow the book. From blinding white, we fade to New York City and see Susannah finding alt-universe Jake and Eddie in New York. They’re reconciled and happy, and the film slowly fades to black as if ending. But then we smash-cut to Roland climbing the steps. All the rooms are filled with images from the four-movie journey we’ve gone on. The tower fills his mind with screams, urging him to turn back. But Roland reaches the top. The final door. He opens it. He goes through …

And we’re back to the very first scene of the very first movie, with Roland chasing the Man in Black across the desert. But this time there’s one key difference. The camera pans down to reveal of the Horn of Eld hanging at Roland’s side, a tease that Roland may just yet complete his quest and atone for his sins.

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  • Terrence Aybar

    You know… reading through this makes it all the more clear to me that the books would be better served as a cable TV series. This piece is probably the best suggested strategy I’ve seen on how to tackle the books via film but the amount of cuts needed to fulfill that plan… let’s just say I can see plenty of people holding up torches and banging on the Tower door with some of it.

    Jake was killed in the book by the same van that hit King, if I remember correctly and that in itself is something I’m sure would have to make it in, so jettisoning King as a character would make Jake’s death something else entirely and possibly not as poignant. Having Eddie and Jake die at the same time as you suggested, lessens both of the impacts of their deaths. You left out any mention of Wind Through the Keyhole which is fine as that story was pretty much just fluff but could find existence on a cable TV show.

    Totally agree with you on the series losing its grip from book 5. If you ask me personally, I think King was scrambling to finish the series before he died (and thankfully, the man is still kicking, praise Jesus) and made the mistake of shoehorning things in that had no business being there in the first place. King was a HUGE champion of Harry Potter, so it’s no surprise the sneetches made their way in but it was something that I found hugely distracting. And the DoomBots? The less said about that, the better.

    Only one major disagreement with you and that’s with the best book being The Wastelands. I think Drawing of the Three is the best, personally but that’s just a matter of differing tastes, so it’s not like you’re flat out wrong. The opening scene on the beach with Roland losing his fingers is an incredible way to start the film adaptation of Dot3. And that shootout with Roland and Eddie vs. the mob is the ONE thing that I need to see brought to life if this ever comes to fruition. Combining books one and two, that’s quite a bit to stuff into one three hour suitcase.

    Guess I’m going to have to reread the books now. It’s been a long time coming.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      Yeah, I’m with you that The Dark Tower would be best served as a cable TV series. But what you have to worry about there is that ratings are low and it gets cancelled early in its run. Whereas if someone with serious clout, be it Ron Howard or whomever, takes it on as a film series, the whole project could get greenlit, a la Lord of the Rings.

      I agree that jamming The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three into one film would be a tricky proposition. But if we’re limiting this to four films — and you’ve got to get it to a manageable enough number for a studio to take a chance on it — I just can’t justify giving those books more time considering that The Gunslinger is so short and that the stuff that takes place in our world, not just in Drawing but in all the books, is going to have to be de-emphasized to a degree.

      Although, it’s true that The Waste Lands and Wizard & Glass are my favorites, so that bias obviously leaks through.

      • chris

        i agree with you for the most part,but can we still have the lobstrosities?

        • Ray

          I want an entire movie about lobstrosities. DOD-A-CHOCK!

    • http://gravatar.com/kimtazo kimtazo

      Completely agree leaves too much important stuff out, but may be the best movie only plan I’ve seen.

    • Ness

      I can’t read all of how you think it should go because I’m not through the entire series, on book 5 now. However, I like your idea of making it a TV series. You could get quite a few seasons out of it and it would really give you time to get to know the characters. I could entertain that option.

    • Drock

      I would like to see someone think about combining the Gunslinger and Wizard and Glass. Focusing more on Wizard and Glass story line with shorter sections of The Gunslinger.

      I think you could easily find a way to show Rolands triumph and progression to manhood as one flash. Then do Wizard and Glass in sections with short glimpses into the desert that might be causing Roland to halucinate and relive what started him on the journey.

      No matter what I just hope this happens eventually.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cecil.neighbarger Cecil Neighbarger

      I am cool woth the four movies idea, but I would add Wind in the Keyhole, and the Little Sisters of Eluria as HBO/ AMC Shorts. Hey, maybe as a Superbowl 30-min Halftime Movie (Remember Family Guy episode 1) the year prior and year post release.

    • http://www.khurmi.com Jagmohan Singh Khurmi

      The book was a masterpiece as the first five stories published in THE MAGAZINE OF SCIENCE FANTASY AND FICTION were turned into “The Gunslinger”. The bareness, neatness of the small book was a magic in itself, youknow that sense of desertness which fired SK’s imagination and to top it up were Wheleen’s line drawings ! Then the publishers destroyed it in future editions

  • Terrence Aybar

    Oh and one other thing: Roland’s revolvers have to have, at the very least, the same level of oomph as a) the gunshots in Open Range and b) James Caan’s hand cannon in Alien Nation. When those guns are fired, it has to be HOLY SHIT sized blasts.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      In an earlier draft of this, I had Roland killing the Crimson King by firing a deafening bullet into each of his red eyes. But then I decided the Crimson King as realized by King in book seven is just too fucking stupid to even think about including.

      • nico

        I agree, he was such a disappointment after so many years, I was a bit offended. Leaving the CK out would be fine by me

  • http://www.aussieontheroad.com Chris

    Interesting trims. Wolves of the Calla was my second favorite book after Wizard and Glass (with The Waste Lands in third), so I’d be sad to see the cool meta stuff getting the chop. Although the elimination of King doesn’t phase me so much – I’d shudder to have to watch him act and can’t imagine who could play him.

    Would kill to see it as an HBO or AMC series ala Game of Thrones/Boardwalk Empire/The Walking Dead.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      I actually LOVE the first half of Wolves of the Calla, but then it loses me when all the meta stuff comes into play.

  • nick

    Or how bout a big nope on the whole thing hollywood blows and so do you crimson kings not stupid you are FTGE

    • duk3

      ^HERO STATUS

  • courtney

    was the significance of the horn of eld well explained in the book? i don’t remember because it’s been so long since i read it, but i do remember most of my awareness of it’s importance came from having read the poem this was inspired by.

    • LIsmalls29

      It is a reminder to him, it is a sign that his journey can change. Perhaps this time if he has the horn and it was preserved then maybe he can make it this time to his goal without having to sacrifice everyone he cares about.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      AND that maybe this time he’ll truly reach the finish and the cycle can end.

    • Azrael

      The whole Horn of Eld thing made me view the entire series as if it were a big Quantum Leap sort of thing. He get to the end of his journey, climbs the stairs of the tower, opens the door, then jumps back to the beginning and does it all over again. Maybe Groundhog Day would be a better analogy. The only difference is he doesn’t remember that he’s done it before, but subconsciously he knows that things have to be just right, so he does things a little differently each time, and hopefully at some point he will have the right ending and then find whatever it is that he’s supposed to find at the top of the tower.

      • Jacadu

        The funny thing for me was that I held off reading the last 100 pages or so for several months. After all those years, I just couldn’t bear to have it end. You can imagine my reaction to then find out that there was no ending really. For me it was the perfect ending,, because now I’ll never have to worry about there BEING one.

        • cbcraig

          I’ve read the series twice and both times I could not read the last 100 pages. I just didn’t want it to end. Now knowing there really isn’t an ending is the perfect ending for me!

          HBO is the only way to get the hours required to tell this story. Everyone has a different favorite book in the series (mine is The Drawing of the Three). Everyone has a different opinion about what should or shouldn’t be cut for the film. So bring it all to the screen! Adapt the story for the screen but tell the whole story Stephen King wrote. Our opinions about what was good or not good in the books are irrelevant. If it’s in the books, it’s part of the story. I think HBO is the only way to get the budget, graphic elements and the hours needed to tell this story. Well, I am off to read the last 100 pages!

        • http://twitter.com/gridiron70 Paul Scharf (@gridiron70)

          I loved the ending myself.. wife hated it.. King may have a grasp of what the meaning of everything really is.. there is no real end to anything…

          • cbcraig

            I loved this ending because I didn’t want roland to die or for him to finally get to the DT and find nothing and his journey ends unfulfilled. You never know with stephen king. He tends to take you to the edge of a cliff and through you off! This way roland starts again, learns more, and tries again…maybe there is no real end to anything…

        • MDMreno

          The best part of the ending, I still wonder what Richard Bachman has to say about the Dark Tower cycle and the Horn of Eld…

  • Malissa Radigan

    I loved reading this. Thank for writing it. And hell yes, the Crimson King was just ridiculously stupid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donna.loyd1 Donna Loyd

    This sounds pretty good though there are a few things that I personally would have done differently… I tend to agree that the series would be best as an HBO series as long as they get the right actors to fill the key roles.

  • Alan Walker

    Excellent series of ideas my good man, while we all will differ in opinions on the best/work book (obviously W&G/SS) your ideas bring everything together very, very well.

  • Anonymous Fan

    I liked everything until the last film description: Eliminating the Crimson King is not the way to go. Altering him, like you suggest with the Calla’s attack robots would be fine, but the horror and madness built up around him is too good to throw to the wayside.

    Also, emphasizing the baby-spider’s powers before he runs into Flagg (with a somewhat extended Flagg death similar to as-written) would fix the, “Well, that was a quick throw-away death of a major antagonist,” issue, relacing him with a horrific and more powerful new one…

    A lot of good ideas here, though five films would be better to fully build up both the Calla battle and the Blue Haven attack. As a screenwriter and a huge King fan I’ve tried outlining this massive story a half dozen times for translation, and it always turns out that there’s so much scope and drama you end up with more than can be filmed…

  • A.J. Brabo

    This article shows me that the best place for this series to let it’s legs stretch and have some room to breathe is HBO as a series a la Game of Thrones. The appeal for me was the broad range of influences at appealed to a vast number of constant readers. Each book is beloved and has some diversion, in themselves callbacks for the characters to underscore the strangeness of the new world they find themselves in comparison with their world and times in it. The dark tower is the center of all of KIng’s universe serving at the hub of all the parallel dimensions where his stories take place. Cutting so many of these characters undermines what makes this work in his cannon his magnum opus. As I haven’t read Wind Through the Keyhole, I can’t speak to it’s inclusion, but for as the rest, I feel strongly that doing an epic, well crafted series on HBO or even Showtime, is the best place. Jake’s part for the first can be done in compressed production blocks of 2 seasons at a time to limit the effects of time on the actor.

  • http://gravatar.com/jbirren jbirren

    Brilliant. Hope they’re listening!!

  • Toni Allen

    One word: ANIME. The story of Cowboy Bebop is so similar that I always saw anime as being the vessel that would best carry The Dark Tower.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      An animated version (be it anime or something that looks more like traditional American animation) could be incredible, but, alas, it doesn’t seem to be what Hollywood has in mind.

      • chris

        i agree but if ILM got involved who knows what it could be.Look at Avatar.

        • Johnny

          Did you just say that ILM did Avatar? No.

  • http://gravatar.com/90milesnorth 90milesnorth

    Usually this doesn’t happen until late afternoon each day, but you’ve managed to set a record. Never in the history of anything worth noting have I been ready to quit the Internet before noon. In my opinion, you’re cutting and compacting components too crucial to the story. I’ve always felt the movie option was a square peg in a round hole. If you have to trim this much and omit this much, then movies are not the way to go. Turn it into a multi-season show on HBO, Showtime (heck, maybe even FX or AMC) and tell the entire story. Movies might create more profit, but the Dark Tower is not a widely read series. Create a multi-season, extended presence and more people than ever will want to read the books/graphic novels. Movies, especially in the format you’re describing, would gut the tale.

  • Klaus Markson

    I think the series would be given the best treatment as a TV series. However, I don’t understand how Warner Bros. backed out of the project due to expense, but they had no problem sparring no expense for Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings trilogy along with the upcoming Hobbitt trilogy (how they make the shortest book of the series into 3 movies is way beyond me) how can they say The Dark Tower series would be too expensive? If done into three or four movies, I fear that fans of the books will be sorely disappointed, while those who don’t read (or can’t, still not 100% convinced) will eat that shit up. Oh, well…maybe they should just focus on the series as an HBO show. Given how well Game of Thrones was received, I believe that a show of The Dark Tower would be equally watched, if not more.

    • http://dbjonathan.wordpress.com Jonathan Hara

      Re: the Harry Potter and LotR movies, the answer is simple – money. Those series are cash cows and super popular. While I am a way bigger fan of the Dark Tower series, as I’m assuming you are, we are in a way smaller audience.

      Also, as a die-hard DT fan, I would be disappointed if they made any of these with a lower than R rating, because too much of the graphic nature of these novels would need to be sacrificed. However, studio execs hate to make anything higher than a PG-13 rating, because it drastically reduces their target audience. I think many, if not most, people would agree that the TV interpretations of King’s works were disappointing because they were so immensely watered-down.

  • Larry

    Wow you pretty much nailed it – I was all ready to bring up discrepencies that I didn’t agree with, but in the end, I like your ideas better than King’s. Richie Cunningham, give Robert a call and have lunch, k?

  • http://dbjonathan.wordpress.com Jonathan Hara

    So agree with you that Wastelands was the best in the series, and honestly would probably be the best “popcorn flick”, with all the post-apocalyptic metropolis imagery. Hell, I’d be happy if they only made that movie.

  • ih8michael

    after watching game of thrones a bit, I’m thinking HBO series would easily work best.

  • http://www.bigbluebullfrog.com J.D. Cook

    I think it would be really amazing and mind blowing if the films told the story of Roland with the Horn. Much of the story would remain but the ending stuff would be radically different. This way the films would be fresh for those of us who read the books and for the audience. His whole past would be the same except he retrieved the horn after the battle of Jericho Hill and from there things could stay more or less the same except for slight changes here and there.

    I would disagree about a full adaptation of Wizard and Glass. I really disliked that I was so into Roland’s current story and then had to read about a love story set in the past. I would gloss over it a bit because it kind of takes Roland and changes him from this king of all bad asses character and makes him a love sick puppy. The most interesting part of that story is that Rhea got him to kill his own Mother and I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Wind through the Keyhole sort of take the place of that flash back as it is more about Roland finding a kind of peace post murdering Mum. Of course these are just my personal opinions on Wizard and Glass; to each their own.

    I agree the Wastelands is the best book in the series though! Would love for a good adaptation of that. I think a television series is the best way to do it.

  • Ben Hunt

    Pretty brutal cuts, but the DT series is full of narrative Gordian knots (and even more practically, from a production perspective), and this will never make it to any screen without at least a few being sliced. Nice work, even if I don’t agree with some of your choices.

  • Tony

    I don’t think you can do the Dark Tower without a HBO/AMC tv tie in. The truth of the matter is there is too much info. You have to explain some of the small details or the over all story is lost. You need to have more than a 5 or 10 minute clip about city, jericho hill, or the horn of Eld. You have to explain all of that.

  • Belight

    Ah, Flagg feeding himself to the spider Mordred was the best part of the series!!! It stuck with me more than any other parts of the books.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      I HATE the way the series’ primary antagonist — nay, the primary antagonist for the ENTIRE Stephen King universe — is bumped off away from the action without ever having a final showdown with Roland. I’ll give you that it’s memorable, but, for me, not in a good way. And I don’t think there’s any way a general audience would go for it. They’ll want to see the Roland/Flagg showdown at the end.

      • Terrence Aybar

        Flagg is a King staple. The way he went out may have been one of the biggest let downs in my history of literary consumption.

        • nico

          totally 100% agreed. The weekend I spent reading the last book was full of me screaming at the book; my roomates knew ahead of time this might happen…between the Crimson King, and the death of Flagg, I was in tears of anger…as you say he is the Main antagonist for all of SK world…to go out like that was just lazy crap. I like your idea of the pact, makes it a little better.

  • Toni

    We can’t forget that The Dark Tower Series is the center of an entire universe formed by all King’s books. There are several references from other books, like Insomnia and Last Stand, in The Dark Tower, and several references from The Dark Tower in the other books as well. The Dark Tower is all about the details that make the whole thing become magic. The only thing that will be adapted in only four movies is the budget. We need a TV show, even bigger than the Game of Thrones.

  • Dirk

    I wonder what someone who liked the books would have done for an adaptation. Something that might actually resonate with people, is my guess. This is like an abortive, drunken wikipedia entry mixed with ‘why I’m better than the guy who inspired me to sit up all night writing this post.’

  • http://www.latoursombre.fr GreG

    Interesting screenplay but I have to disagree with most of it. Basically you want to cut out all the things that make the Dark Tower what it is. I mean, cuting the parts about King, the connexion with the books, the fucked up questions about reality, the links between our world and the book’s world… What would be the point ? Making a new shitty blockbuster to fit Hollywood standards ? Fuck that !

    I imagine the Dark Tower as the Matrix trilogy : financially successful, but way too complex and tricky to be understood with one vision (though it could be less tricky).

    Personnaly, I’d throw away every flashback parts into the TV series. They’re not necessary to understand the quest, but it is still interesting for fans who would want to understand Roland’s past.

    But like you, the scheme I’d rather prefer is only a TV series like Game of Thrones.

  • Mike J

    This was a great read. I love a lot of the ideas, most especially the ending. I have a monkey wrench, though, the same that foils other series’ adaptations: each chapter, especially the first, needs to be stand-alone or there will be zero draw from anyone not already an established fan. Is the first movie, as it’s laid out, enough to interest anyone who wouldn’t go see this already? I’m not so sure.

    As for personal opinions, I’ll throw out there that Wizard & Glass was my favorite, despite being entirely out of the main timeline. I like the idea of a different treatment of it.

  • Brand

    Here’s the thing: There HAS to be a Crimson King. Maybe not the exact same one Stephen King wrote, but an echo (a vibration, as he might say) of him.
    After all, the Crimson King is supposed to be behind the entirey of Discordia. Placing it all on Flagg’s shoulders… It COULD work, but you’d lose some good material dropped in the comics and Wizard & Glass.
    I’d say Roland’s shootout with the Crimson King would be a good second-climax, then have him walk into the Tower, fade to white. Show Susanna in New York, all that happiness, fade to black, credits.
    Then have Stephen King voice over the entry to the Coda after the credits and basically shoot the entire coda scene-for-scene. That’s one of the best devices of the book (having it be an “optional” ending, one that can be ignored) and it has a natural outlet here in film.

  • Melanie

    You changed the story. Mordred did kill Flagg, I found it stupid in the books but I wouldn’t change it just to suit a movie. Completely altered Jake’s and Eddie’s deaths. If they are going to bother to change the story then I say they should just leave it the fuck alone. HBO series would be so awesome because they could leave in every little detail like they did with Game of Thrones.

    • Liam

      Except Game of Thrones doesn’t include every little detail from the books and changes other details significantly. Adaptations are exactly that – adapted from the source material to best suit their intended medium. Books almost always benefit from changes made for the screen, like The Lord of the Rings. It doesn’t mean the film is better than the book, or the book has somehow been overwritten, it just means it has been adapted to suit the screen.

  • zack gangemi

    I couldn’t disagree with you more whiley you may not have enjoyed Kings representation of certain things for the way you wrote himself into the novels towards the end you have to appreciate that everything has ever done has to a greater or lesser extent been about Rowlands question the tower to cut it down and such a fashion to cram it together in order to fit into 4 movies however long you might try and make them is just into inconceivable

  • Savvy

    I don’t want to pay $16 a month to see it as an HBO series.. I would prefer it as a series on AMC or FX where there is flexibility in violence, language and sex.. however.. no matter who picks it up, a TV series is SO risky! If it gets cancelled, that’ll be that. I think your ideas for a 4 part film series is fantastic.. although I agree with the above comment that Jake’s death needs to be more accurately told.. I don’t agree about the dynamics of that scene being altered to accomodate any cuts. Aside from that.. bravo!!

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      I am completely open to figuring out a different way to adapt Jake’s death without it involving the “character” of Stephen King. I definitely don’t want his death to be a throwaway thing.

  • Tony

    The script reportedly opened on Earth, at the end of Book 2. If that’s true, then Goldsman messed this up just as badly as we thought he would. One of the strongest elements of this series is the opening line, “The man in black fled across
    the desert, and the gunslinger followed”. That line serves as both an easy invitation to Mid-World, because it could be lifted from several non-fantasy westerns that audiences are familiar with, and also as a layered cue of what to expect in terms of tone, scale, and the protagonist’s stubborn, steadfast motivation. It resonates in the reader’s mind until the very, very end. When they finally adapt this series, it should open with that line against a black background, similar to “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”. Opening at the end of Book 2 was likely Goldsman’s attempt to show the audience something they could recognize, like Eddie Dean in New York, something that was accessible, and not so strange that they would dismiss the series from the start. What he forgets is that the opening of Book 1 perfectly balances the familiar with the strange, and it’s that combination that is so intriguing from the outset.

    WB is one of the smarter studios, in my opinion, and HBO was responsible for making Sundays more exciting than Fridays for many cinephiles. I believe that they understood what I have explained above, and consequently passed on Goldsman’s script. This was the right move. Howard and Goldsman have both done some quality work in the past, but neither of them have the sensibilities necessary to deliver The Dark Tower as it should be seen. I AM LEGEND was 170 pages, and Goldsman got it wrong. He was never going to gets thousands of pages of Stephen King right. And by the way, King is not infallible. Getting hit by that van seemed to remind him of his own mortality, and the rapid publication of books 5-7 resulted in an intermittently thrilling, but mostly disappointing conclusion to the incredible foundation he had built with the first 4 books. I’m saying that it is OK to make some deviations from the source material towards the end, but leave the beginning as it is. If you’re worried about upsetting fans of the books, just put a horn in Roland’s hand at the beginning. This will not only silence the complaints about the changes to the story, but adds a meta kick to the whole experience.

    I hope that HBO gives this another shot, maybe when Game of Thrones starts winding down. An animated version is a viable option. It solves the Jake aging problem, and leaves the possibility open for a live action adaptation down the road.

  • http://gravatar.com/ideaguy1974 ideaguy1974

    I think it’s a huge mistake to cut Stephen King out of the story. He underpins the whole universe next door thing and I found it to be a real joy to read. I disagree with this article. I want 7 movies, (you can skip the keyhole book). The only problem I foresee is the first book. Written almost like an essay (or a practice in narrative and before the full plot was fleshed out), I would rewrite book/movie 1, put Jake as a hostage Roland must save from the TULL townsfolk because otherwise, what’s the point of going to TULL? It would make for a better story and set up the second book which is great, but I would change out Roland ability to inhabit others and make it more of a, he stumbled into our world and interacted with Eddie and Susanna in person. The doors could be left over technology that Roland encounters along the beach (old building, falling into the sea, some with doors that still function). It would play better as it’s used again later in Thunderclap. I never liked the idea that the doors were magical in book 2 and just doorways in book 6. I did enjoy Roland possessing the characters, it was interesting, but it didn’t fit into the logic of Roland’s world. It’s a mistake to gloss over the last 3 books. They are all rich and fascinating. The payoff at the end in book 7 is well worth the journey. The last thing I would change is the showdown with the Crimson king. That was botched…again, the logic of Roland’s world didn’t hold to the magic of the the kids pencil (and erasure). Didn’t like that.

  • Mike V

    My first instinct is that this could be well servers as an Animé series. Before you scoff, hear me out. While alot of what is popular now is quite alot of time-filling character staring at each-other for 20 minutes before any action, there does exist some very good limited-run series with solid excellent stories. See “Cowboy Bebop”, “Trigun”, or even Nichelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender”.

    Such a medium can be as artsy and stylized as necessary, depending on what studio is approached, and can be designed for English voice acting right off the hop. Further, we would not be as constrained to thirteen-episode seasons like in America, a constraint that would necessitate am awful lot of content getting the chop.

    While I think that completely removing the meta-literature would me a mistake, it surely could do with some trimming and streamlining. Many of my Holy Shit moments were during that stretch of the series. Much could be cut, but you could still leave that essence in. An an animated Stephen King could then be voiced by pretty well anyone.

    It’s worth considering.

  • Nathan

    Nicely done. On cutting the Crimson King, hell yes…can’t get the damn stupid image of two disembodied red eyes out of my head. Though you’d have to wrap up his storyline somewhere different, perhaps the Emerald City. I disagree with cutting ALL of the meta stuff–to me it took the multi-universe ideology up a notch, and I found it interesting, though definitely difficult to get right outside of print. I’d just hate to see it reduced to a simple action/adventure flick, since it had much more depth to it. I don’t envy whomever has to get it on screen.

  • Gaz

    Marten and Walter the same person? It states pretty clearly in Roland’s recollections that Walter and Marten are two different people, Walter is Marten’s understudy.

    • bettyjane

      Yep! I was wondering that myself as i was reading above. walter and marten are totally 2 different people.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      While these books were being published, there was a lot of conjecture about the relationship between Martin/Walter/Flagg and whether they were one, two or three characters. And King didn’t help matters much by making a lot of the material that’s in the books contradictory in that regard.

      But by the time you get to book seven and the revised version of The Gunslinger, it’s pretty clear that Martin, Walter and Flagg are all the same dude. This was confirmed in Robin Furth’s official Concordance to the series and noted as such in places like The Dark Tower wiki: http://darktower.wikia.com/wiki/Walter_Padick

      It’s one guy. And even if it wasn’t, it should be.

  • http://jackspw.blogspot.com/ Paul

    The Dark Tower series is, in essence, the metaphysical backdrop of most of King’s literary fiefdom. That’s one reason I find it distasteful to be talking about supposed scripts, etc., just to illustrate the narrative of this story. Half the fun is in the light-hearted suggestion of connections to other books he’s written; effectively making it more of a Stephen King expanded continuum than just a mere separate series of books written by the same author as a handful of novels and other stories. Even many of his more popular short-stories have some sort of included reference or another. I guess my point is this: why steal the magic of a series just so it can be on film? Just because something “might” be done doesn’t necessarily mean that it should. Now, I’ll be the first to say that bringing stories to cinema is fun, wild, endearing, etc. However, with that being said, there is no substitute for picking up the books and just reading them and enjoying the story as it was originally intended to be consumed. Just for the record, I find it difficult to see King envisioning this particular series for film. He may have had an idea about other stories he’s written making it to film (in fact, probably many) but unless there is evidence that, originally, he had some wild hope of this series being adapted for film I ask “why force a tale to be adapted that obviously doesn’t need to be adapted just to satisfy morbid curiosity?”

  • http://twitter.com/JacoTremendez Jake Waitzman (@JacoTremendez)

    I dig Robert’s take on the whole thing. Sounds like we like/dislike the same aspects of the story.
    If I had to cast the series today, I’d go with these main folks:

    Roland – Karl Urban
    Eddie – Joel Kinnaman
    Jake – I’m sure they’ll audition and find some young break-out talent
    Susannah – Zoe Saldana
    Flagg – Willem Defoe

    • Some Hollywood Guy

      Eddie and Susannah… yes. Possibly. Can Joel do a NYC accent, you think? That is kind of important. Willem is too flamboyant. Yes, Flagg has a healthy degree of upbeatness, but he is also menacing and Defoe is just creepy looking, but not threatening enough. Oddly, I heard someone once mention Titus Welliver and it stuck with me as being both appropriate and somehow perfect. Welliver has a long history of playing characters named ‘The Man in Black.’ He has piercing eyes, can be charming and he has a hell of a sense of humor. As for Roland, that’s the tough one. Karl doesn’t look the part. Roland is long, tall and ugly. With the right make-up, I could almost see Bruce Campbell pulling it off. Roland does have a very dry, arrogant sense of humor that matches Bruce. Drop a few belt sizes and who knows.

      • Razu

        Anton Mount from Hell on Wheels (Cullen Bohannon) would make a perfect Roland.

      • Lasky

        I don’t know if anyone else did, but I always imagined Roland as being pretty old. Like, 50 maybe even 60. He’s still a badass, but he’s getting on in years, so in a way I sort of could imagine Harrison Ford pulling it off. Susannah and Eddie are a yes and I have no idea who’d pull off Flagg.

  • Dru

    You can’t cut the Crimson King. He is the culmination of a majority of the evil in Kings stories. His significance is too great to forget. Also, keeping the Callas but cutting out the battle over the beams makes no sense. Saving the beams was a major part of the story.

  • Robert Brian Taylor

    Well, this kind of blew up a little, didn’t it?! Thanks everyone for finding the site and reading this post. Special thanks to those who have commented. I’m going to go back and reply individually to many of you, but let me just say here that, yes, it would probably be for the best that The Dark Tower get adapted as a TV series that can run for seven or eight seasons. That way, you’d fit much more in, and some of the brutal cuts I’ve recommended here wouldn’t be necessary.

    But two things to keep in mind: One, no television show is guaranteed to run that long. If it goes to TV and isn’t a smash (which it would need to be considering how much it would probably cost), it’s possible Roland’s story ends before Blaine the Mono ever even makes an appearance. (And I love me some Blaine the Mono.)

    At least if it’s greenlit as a film series, you have a very real chance of the whole story being told. And there’s no way anyone’s green-lighting a seven-part film series. That’s why I thought it might be fun to see how just how compact I could make this thing. The end result was this post, and it’s refreshing to discover I’m not the only one who obsesses over these things!

    Okay, now on to diving deeper into the comments. Long days and pleasant nights, folks.

    • http://gravatar.com/poeticerudition Poetic Erudition

      You make valid points. I would be livid if this was made into a TV series and then cancelled before completion, but if you are going to adapt this much story into movies some things will have to be sacrificed. There is no way anyone could please everyone with this project, but if they do a good job they could make some really entertaining and kick ass movies based on these books.

  • Briane

    I think this is a very good way of adapting the books to film. It’s too bad that so much would have to be cut/trimmed down, but if you want to make the movies a manageable length, it makes sense. Someone made a comment that cutting out King’s character would lessen the emotional impact of Jake’s death, and I have to agree.
    All in all, I think this is a very good idea, Mr Taylor :) I’m a huge fan of the books (started reading them when I was 12 and I’m 20 now) and I can’t wait to see if anything will actually happen with this

  • K-Mann

    I have found it all too frequent that books I enjoy, especially a series of books, are not well made into movies. I fear that this would be the case with Dark Tower. Some stories are better left to be visualized only in our imaginations.

  • Some Hollywood Guy

    While I can respect a healthy fan interpretation of a book to script rundown for a massive series such as this, condensing an eight part series (because now that WttK is canon, you can’t just chop it out because you didn’t like it) into four movies would prove to be impossible, even with all of you ideas for cuts and edits. The seventh book alone has about as much storyline as book three. I can see mashing the first two into one film. They are both short enough (in terms of spec scripting) to do so. I would even say part of book six could be attached to the end of book five and the beginning of book seven, as could Wind be attached to book four and five reducing the amount of films to five, and that’s pushing it. Keep in mind that Jake is twelve and a complex movie like this would require at least two years per production. Weeks would pass in mid-world and the actor would either have to be changed out in each film (lame) or he would age eight years overnight. Realistically, there is no way to do this in a serialized motion picture format unless it was shot consecutively and released once a year. Furthermore, removing elements important to the story because you find them ridiculous won’t bode well for the rest of the fans who would actually like to see how it plays out. Were this dropped on my desk, I can assure you that I would push heavily for a cable release. The Dark Tower, as amazing as it is, would be better served on HBO/AMC, etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.policarp Paul Policarp

    Cutting the Oracle encounter impacts the origin of Mordred.

    • http://dbjonathan.wordpress.com Jonathan Hara

      Does Mordred really need to be descended of Roland? Does it impact the story at all if we wasn’t? Not in my opinion, but maybe I’m forgetting something.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      I think it could be worked around, but the fact that the Oracle is where Roland’s, uh, seed is obtained is a complication I forgot about when I suggested cutting it. (The folks at Reddit called me out on this, too.)

  • http://booklover3351.wordpress.com aimeedorsey3351

    I personally do not like the idea of doing a television series. I would prefer to see all the books made into films. I do agree with most of your ideas. However I would prefer to have as little cut as possible. Having the second film end with the beginning of the riddling would be a perfect cliff hanger. I truly hope that whoever decides to make these films will take the time to read through the various comments on a wide array of pages to see what the true DT fans really want. I am not excited about having Howard anywhere near this film. I think he is not the director to choose. I personally would prefer Guillermo Del Toro. I think he would be truer to the novels and his directing and writing are superb. In case you did not know he co wrote an amazing trilogy with Chuck Hogan. The books are The Strain, The Fall, and Night Eternal. I have read all three, and was unable to put them down.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      Guillermo Del Toro making The Dark Tower is nearly too perfect a proposition. That would indeed be amazing.

    • Joshua Crowfoot

      del Toro directing is the most amazing idea I’ve heard in regards to adapting my favorite story of all time. I am very much in agreement that Ron Howard (and Akiva Goldsmith, for that matter) should be allowed nowhere NEAR this project. It is far too important to far too many people. The 7 or 8 season miniseries is the best way to go as far as presentation, in my opinion. Though as Robert has mentioned, the gamble a studio takes on such an epic and fantastical tale gathering the following it would require (read: “deserves”) to keep it on the air is huge. I am in favor of some of the cuts proposed (assuming we’re taking King’s opus to the big screen), and I believe that, if done correctly, the entire audience this story draws will be much bigger than any of us expect.
      You have “The Gunslinger” drawing in fans of Westerns simply on the merit of title alone.
      “Drawing” appeals to the sci-fi crowd with the introduction of other dimensions and different wheres & whens.
      “Wastelands” is straight up action/adventure and kidnapping tale (a la “Taken”(-ish)).
      My personal favorite of the 7, “Wizard & Glass” is very obviously a love story that harkens to Romeo & Juliet (ladies!).
      I’m sure you all see where I’m going with this, and even the casual cinephile will want to devour the entire story as we do, even if it was only one film that sparked their interest.
      This is a HUGE (I can’t overstate that word or any other synonyms that apply in regards to our beloved tale of Roland and his yet) fucking deal, and it needs to be done correctly lest the fans of King’s masterpiece collectively decide to burn Hollywood to the ground. The aftermath of a botched job, in my grand imagination, could/should be catastrophic to the careers of those responsible. If this project cannot be done with style and scope, it should not be done at all.
      We are a fairly small but FIERCELY passionate fan base. We do not kill with our guns. Those that kill with their guns have forgotten the faces of their fathers. We kill with our hearts.

      • Joshua Crowfoot

        Also, as far as casting goes, I would choose the following:

        Roland: Javier Bardem. Have this unequivocal badass go on Christian Bale’s “Machinist” diet for a while to thin him out and he would be PERFECT.
        Eddie: I’m leaning heavily towards Ryan Gossling for this role because I think he’s got the acting chops necessary for the character’s serious emotional depth. (Though on a completely honest personal note, I’ve dreamt of portraying Eddie since I first read “Drawing” back in 1995.)
        Susannah: I agree with Zoe Saldana. Though I’m not entirely convinced of her acting prowess (admittedly, I’ve not seen much of her work) I think she would fit nicely.
        Jake: He’s the wild card in my book. No prominent child actor immediately comes to mind, but I think a relative unknown could make a career off of portraying this character.
        Flagg: Assuming we go with Robert’s idea with having Walter, Marten, and Flagg portrayed by the same man, I think Daniel Day-Lewis would be perfect a la his role as Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in “Gangs of New York.” He could really make this character pop and would be a great foil for Bardem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mordecaicrow Jonathan Hardin

    this series would never work on tv because you see this series contains information and characters from all of the books he ever wrote their are references to the stand and the whole vampires deal was another book and their are many others involved

  • http://jackspw.blogspot.com/ Paul

    Another comment to address the “what fans want” idea: Seriously, film adaptation is an art form which means it is interpretive. I feel the impact of the books would be lost (see my earlier comment) if a film adaptation is attempted because this series was written for a specific mode of consumption, i.e. books. Films have a notorious habit of distorting the original vision of a story through interpretation with a few exceptions, two of them being King short-stories (The Body – Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption.) If someone manages to arrive at the same impact (or better) than the books have provided I will be pleasantly surprised but considering the lackluster LotR trilogy I don’t have my hopes up by any means.

    • Cecil Neighbarger

      I would put The Mist as a third King exception, but that’s my opinion. That was the first adaption where I had a WOW reaction after.

  • Nathan

    I always equated Jake with the kid from The Talisman and Black House, perhaps this is a way to make the first book/movie thicker and more well-rounded?

  • Chris

    What the hell are you smoking? Turn books 5, 6 and 7 into 1 movie?? Are you insane!! If I knew for a fact that this was the official adaptation, I would never watch it! I’m sorry you (and many others I’m sure) didn’t like King putting himself in the story, but nevertheless, it was done, and whether you like it or not, it’s a HUGE and important part of what the Dark Tower ultimately became, and if you take that away, it won’t even be the same story that King actually wrote… think of all the elements in the last 3 novels that were attached to King being a character (like Jake being hit by the van, which someone already pointed out). I agree that King seemed to rush the last 3 books a little, but they were still incredible stories which concluded an incredible saga, and they deserve the same respect as the earlier books. I REALLY wish that Flagg didn’t go out like a chump in book 7, but there’s nothing I can do about it :( And that’s actually one of my favorite aspects of book 7… there was a ton of stuff that I wasn’t expecting, or really wished happened differently, but if everything turned out how I expected, it would have been boring! The fact that I hated what happened to certain characters and plot developments is my favorite aspect of the last book. It was the most emotional experience I’ve ever had reading a novel, and I want that same experience when watching the movies…. so the major plot points need to be left alone! Anyway… ultimately my opinion is that The Dark Tower should be an HBO series (like Game of thrones) or no less than 6 movies, with elements and flashbacks from Wizard and Glass dispersed throughout all of them. It made a great book, but a stand alone prequel movie right in the middle of the whole thing would lose a lot of the audience who would be looking for a direct continuation of the main story after having to wait a year or 2 between movies…. just my 3 cents.

  • James Taylor

    Good evening from England! I think there’s loads of great ideas knocking around here and the original poster is obviously incredibly passionate about the books. I’ve been inspired to reread the books based on a series of articles I’ve been following- link here if it lets me leave it – http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/rereading-stephen-king.

    The DT series is a tricky one- will King even be supportive of an adaptation since it’s so personal to him? And one thing I’m learning fro starting the books again is that almost everything is relevant- the back story is incredibly important to Roland’s character and the refections of King’s own life are his personal imprint on it.

    Just wish the best of luck to whoever does the screenplay!

  • Al

    you have to combine the first two books because the first book was so dull that it could never work in a movie by itself. It would be so dry to get through that nobody would care about the other 3 movies. Everyone openly admits the first book was very hard and boring to get through so why would anyone want this first novel to be its own movie?

  • Anthony E. A

    I have read your thoughts and they are great. As DT fan, I think that the first two books should be individual films. Hollywood is painstakingly cutting too much to suit their budgets.
    The deal should be for a 2-film rights only contract, for the first two books, to lure people to the story. Only the first two books in its entirety. This introduction will give the studio or studios a taste of the demand. Economics at its core. This would entail the CGI, promotions, marketing, etc for the hype of the films. This will attract those that are not fans and draw interest of the books. Also, the possibility of doing the rest of the series.
    I understand that packaging the whole series can guarantee the budget. But, it can also comprise it as well. For instance, if after the first two films are made and the studio doesn’t feel the demand, they are cutting their losses. They stop making the rest of the series (American version of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”). This in turn freezes the story and they own the rights for the full series. Court battle. If done as a two-film contract with an option for the rest, they all can be made. If successful, they pickup the option for the rest. If not successful after the first two films, Ron Howard can then go to HBO or other cable channels can pick up the option to finish the series.
    In my opinion, this rests entirely on the budget. Creativity of the budget goes hand-in-hand with the creativity of the story. I want to see these books on film (with the best actors as well) to tell the story.

  • Wes

    In my opinion, part of what makes the Dark Tower Series so immersive and great overall is how it references so much of the rest of King’s works and plays off our own reality. To shorten it to 4 movies does it no justice whatsoever. To do that is to make a series of movies based off of the books, but not remotely capturing the essence of the books.

    So, in short, you make some goodish movies that’s accepted mostly positively by the general public, but severely pisses off fans of the book. If you’d like to see an example where someone butchered a good thing by changing it based on their perceptions of it, look no further than the disaster titled “The Last Airbender.” What seems like solid cuts absolutely ruins the spirit of it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DarkLordPoetic1 Henry Bonano

    Brilliant synopsis and suggestions. Hope someone is really paying attention. The only way to do this is via HBO series. Hollywood would destroy King’s Opus and leave the heart of the story on the cutting room floor.

  • Chance Kelley

    While no one is going to agree with every aspect of the cuts you suggest, I for the most part agree with your suggestions and it has nothing to do with whether I liked or disliked those parts of the book series you suggest cut. I liked 99% of everything in the book..

    The cuts you’ve made make for an exciting FILM series & cut out much of what, simply, does not translate to film very well given the constraints of this thing ever actually becoming a shorter film series. Film is a completely different medium than the written word and they work in extremely different ways. LOTR had to make some cuts and change a few things to make them work on screen. We’re also talking about a 3 book series and not an 8 book series. Also, major difference here is that what is discussed is how to make the story of Roland & the Tower work as films – not make how to make an extended series of movies that is the meta core of the King universe. We have the books for that. Not going to happen without a greenlight on something that will never be greenlit as a film series that length. That stuff should be mostly cut out when making a limited series of FILMS about the core story of Roland and the Tower.

    Great idea for how to make this work as a film series and the closest I’ve read to what I would like to see. As a previous post has pointed out, the proposed script started in the second book. That would have pissed me off from the first shot. Sorry the film has to open with the first line of the first book which is still my favorite opening line of any book I’ve ever read.

    I’d keep the Crimson King with changes & keep the Oracle as well. Couldn’t agree more with taking King OUT of the films. Like the change on when Flagg is killed by Mordred to greater impact. And losing Jake and Eddie at the same time as suggested would be a stunning lose to the viewer. Wastelands is easily my favorite as well & would be an amazing film.

    And, of course, doing The Dark Tower as an HBO series would be a better option to keep everything. I am certainly against TDT being anything but R rated as well. Nice article for us Tower nerds.

  • Jake

    I think they should remake Salem’s Lot because I feel like the studios what get more bang for their buck just introducing Father Callahan

    • http://dbjonathan.wordpress.com Jonathan Hara

      +1

  • Rod

    This movie needs to happen. The earning potential for writer, studio and all else involved is tremendous. This is a Franchise maker for any studio who is willing to invest. The Dark Tower is the center piece for many other tales in the King library, i.e. Insomnia, IT, The Stand, The Talisman, Black House, etc… For that very reason, the Crimson King must exist and The Dark Tower must be his prison. Keeping that element alive allows you to expand the universe to make (or remake in some cases) the other stories in this universe. The insensible need to gather Breakers by the minions of the Crimson King (Flagg, Pennywise, Tak, etc..) are all profitable extensions of this franchise.

    The Dark Tower needs a proper ending to appeal to the movie going massess. Have the franchise start where the books ended. Roland in the desert chasing the man in black with the HORN in his possession. The theatrical version is now an extension to the original version and it all ties to a proper climax with Roland and the Crimson King. Doing this keeps his literary works seperate from his theatrical works. And it all makes sense!

  • Owen

    The reasoning (I’m guessing) for Ron Howard’s TV mini-series digressions is to fill in the Gilead and “Wizards and Glass” stuff. As much as fans of the books love young Roland stories, a movie audience should fall in love with old Roland and more importantly Susannah, Eddie, Jake and Oy. They are not going to want to go see a movie where these characters are not featured after getting to know and love them in the first films.

  • Mukadi

    You must be joking…

  • Becky

    Agreed!!! I hate how they change the damn story for the big screen! & to leave out Stephen King?!?! Are you fucking mad?!?!? It’s just as much his story as it is Roland’s!!! King has been fighting the crimson king ever since he was little! King is the one that leaves little notes & keys for the characters throughout the story! How can you write him out? Why can’t Hollywood just leave a fucking brilliant story up to the minds of the avid readers & dedicated Stephen King fans?!?!?!

  • Blue

    *Reads part about Crimson King being cut* No, no, no. Bad idea. I agree he did end up being silly, but without him, the whole story and its continuity are GUTTED. The whole reason he’s destroying the beams is to spin the worlds apart so the prim (and all its monsters) can be set free. He would then rule over the prim as its half-human half-monster empiror. If he’s not there, the whole thing (kidnapping the breakers, breaking the beams, thunderclap etc) becomes pointless. Also, if there’s no crimson king, there can be no Mordrid…and thus no death for Eddie, Jake, Oy or Flagg, and the whole story falls apart

  • yetibill

    After reading this and the wholesale cuts you envision to cram the series into four movies, I see no reason the whole series couldn’t be made ala Harry Potter. Prior to that series no one would have dreamed of doing an 8-movie adaptation, but they proved it could be done successfully. This series, and King himself, has the fan base to support a seven or even eight movie franchise and I can see no legitimate argument or reason to try it any other way. I agree a TV series should be scrapped unless it concentrates on Roland’s years between Jerricho Hill and the opening of the Gunslinger.

    • Casey

      I think Jake would be a good reason not to do it that way. He hardly ages in the books, so it’d have to be a different actor every movie or two for it to work.

    • Chance Kelley

      The reason HP was so successful, which equates to profit for a movie studio, was the broad ability to bring in kids and adults. Basically, the fact that it could be rated PG or PG-13 at it’s highest. There is no way The Dark Tower Series should be anything less than rated ‘R’ to be done right. That would cut the studio profits so considerably that they would never greenlight a budget to finance such an undertaking that cuts off such a large section of audience.

  • Brian

    I agree almost completely with this interpretation accept (as many others have mentioned) the case of the Crimson King. I like the Marvel Comics interpretation–makin him partly spider like Mordred. The madness does need to be better built up and portrayed. Rose & Tower is ok, but I still like “the Dark Tower” as the last film. I like your idea of Flaggs and Mordreds alliance but I think the deaths of Jake and Eddie should not happen in one scene. Other than that–this is awesome! Cool as an HBO series would be, there’s something less magical and lower budget about tv shows than movies.

  • Casey

    Many of the ideas for the final film were not pleasing. How can one have Mordred without the Crimson King? The idea behind sneeches, lightsabers, and the Wolves was to show that all realities exist within the Tower and that at some point, fiction inspired real technology. Killing Jake and Eddie at once is not the best idea either, it’s too sudden and fans hardly get time to mourn. The Devar-Toi was one of the ka-tet’s finest battles and Callahan’s presense in the Lot showed the vastness of King’s own personal universe and the idea that all things are united, that “all things serve the Beam”. The same goes for the presense of King himself. It may not have been the best part of the books, but it was highly important to the overall story.

  • Michael Pickhardt

    I agree that book 1-4 were the best, but there are somethings you cut out that I totally disagree on. People hate on the last three books, but I can’t possibly imagine them being any different. The dark tower is said to be the center of all universes, cutting out all the “meta” references from the last three doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I loved every moment of every book. My only complaints are that the villains in the last book were killed off too easily. However, the characters who died, had such perfect deaths. They were sad tragic, and could NOT be changed. Combining Eddie and Jake’s deaths would be an awful move. Those characters should die the same way they did in the books. I would have liked if the man in black had lived longer, and that the crimson king wasn’t as disapointing as he was, but I’d gladly have those complaint rather than have to complain that main characters’ deaths were not as powerful.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      I think you guys have convinced me that combining Jake and Eddie’s deaths is a bad idea, and that we need to find a way to make Jake’s death stand out and give it more weight. But it’s a tricky proposition since there’s no way I’d have him saving “Stephen King” and since so little from book seven is finding its way into my take on an adaptation.

      Nobody said this would be easy. And you guys are doing a good job of pointing out how many problems a condensed adaptation of The Dark Tower creates. My almost 2,000 words on the subject isn’t nearly enough to solve them all!

      • Liam

        How about having them go to Maine but never meeting Stephen King and only seeing him unconscious? I think they converse with him at the crash scene but I can’t remember if what’s said has any great significance.

  • Austin

    I don’t get what you mean by “meta” when talking about Wolves of the Calla. Also, when the flashback goes to Jericho Hill before the battle it should have Alain getting shot by Roland and Cuthbert as in the book. And I think without the Stephen King part and Callahan would be a great loss in the movies. Oh and as someone said before me how can Mordred be born without the Crimson King?

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      The snitches and lightsabers and doombots are all borderline, but the series really goes “meta” when Salem’s Lot by Stephen King shows up as a plot point inside a novel by Stephen King. Many people apparently love that aspect of the series. I find it incredibly distracting.

      • Chance Kelley

        Totally agree.

  • James

    ok this is what pisses me off about movie makers , they think its ok to cut out portions of the books. this is why i didnt think the dark tower would make good movie. STAY TRUE TO THE STORY!, dont ruin it like they did Harry Potter . i like the “meta crap ” and i LOVED the fact that Don Callahan was from Salems lot .These are not mistakes its called depth!

  • Chance Kelley

    I disagree. Leaving things out for continuity of storytelling for a FILM series is different than actually changing things that happen. LOTR left out Bombadil and I didn’t even care. By this thinking, no book should ever be made into a film. The written word is a completely different art form and does things films can never do. However film can do things the written word can never do. As long as you aren’t changing the theme and the actual actions of the characters and staying true to the core, I see no problem with leaving things out. Again, omission for the sake of a better film story is not only agreeable for the sake of the art form, but virtually impossible to get around. I would love to see an adaptation of The Dark Tower for the screen.

  • Mauricio

    I’m pretty much sold in the second and third movies. The only problem is the high possibility Susan could become a empty character, but I can buy it.

    For movie one, I HATE the idea of Drawing of the Three. Susannah can live with that, but without a deeper look into Henry and all the situation, we’re going to lose the entire basis of Eddie as a character. And he’s my favorite, so yeah, don’t like that. Rest of the movie is fine.

    For movie four, the biggest points: dropping Patrick Danville and the Dandelo is great. Dropping the entire existence of the Crimson King, or just mixing his character with Flagg’s (like this better), is pretty good as well.

    Giving Flagg a stronger ending is NEEDED, but I don’t like yours. A Roland/Flagg showoff must be a Roland/Flagg showoff, not a “well, we’re about to kill them, but I’m gonna kill my partner first and go for it myself” from Mordred.

    I would take too much time to explain why I don’t like the idea of dropping the “meta crap” (OK, drop the lightsabers and shit, it’s better that way: I’m talking about King as a character and all that implies), so let me just get to the biggest problem in your idea: you completely kill Callahan’s character that way. If you wanna drop the meta, drop it for good, but leaving half of it like this is horrible.

    Killing Eddie and Jake into one blow is HORRIBLE. You drop the Algul Siento invasion, the only large-scale fight in the entire series. You drop Eddie’s final moments, you drop Jake’s sacrifice and burial. Most of all, you drop the best thing about the last book (maybe the only GREAT thing: hell, maybe the greatest thing in the entire fucking Dark Tower series), the slow death of the Ka-tet. That final movie would be much, MUCH less powerful.

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      A lot of good points here. I may need to do an entire follow-up post just to sort out some of the interesting things you all are suggesting.

    • http://tsn.ca C D

      Dropping Patrick Danville is a flat out terrible idea. Patrick further qualifies the idea of merging the different realities/levels of the Dark Tower. Any Insomnia readers would certainly disapprove of the removal of this vitally placed character. What I don’t get is that it seems you don’t like the idea of removing Callahan for similar reasons?

      This is a difficult project for any film director/producer, so I applaud the attempt of the author as both daring and diligent. However, I feel like removing any of the source material is like taking parts from under the hood of your car… you may still operate the vehicle, but it’s obviously flawed and not at all the same.

  • bettyjane

    These books hold alot of meaning and played a great part in my life. I started reading them in my teens and Im now almost 30. How many times have I re-read these books? 7? I dont know and i dont know how i would have made it through my adolescence without Stephen King. It makes me want to cry when i think of them being made into movies. Just let it be. Movies destroy books. Roland,Eddie,Susannah,Jake and Oy are old friends of mine. I want to forever hold them in my mind, the way they were intended to be. There is no way anyone (no matter how great) could make this series into movies and do such an awesome job that true fans would like it. I feel that it would ruin it for me, personally, and that I wouldnt be able to go back. And that makes me sad. I fear that I wouldnt be able to stop myself from watching it, but i would regret the shit out it! Please Mr. King, keep this off the screen,any screen. And no offence, you did have some good ideas…I just think its better left alone, as books. P.S. Drawing of the Three was always my favorite:)

  • Robert Brian Taylor

    By the way, we’re recording the first episode of the Cult Spark Podcast tonight. The Dark Tower wasn’t originally on the agenda. But it is now. Hopefully it’ll be online sometime over the next few days.

    :: end shameless plug ::

  • http://www.facebook.com/CharliePhuk Connor Jared Nepomuceno

    since the wizard and the glass is sort of a prequel, that would be the ideal part of the series to make a TV series from. I guess the wolves of the Calla could be tacked onto that as well, if it gives the studio more time and money to make the Song of Susannah and The Dark Tower better fleshed out and more accurate to the book

  • Dave Landers

    I actually love that Flagg is slaughtered so easily. Flagg stated throughout the entire series that he is basically middle management. His brutal death just bring out the badassery of Mordred and the Crimson King.

    Unfortunately… The true archvillains turned out to be pretty lame in the books. So they’ll have to be beefed up a bit.

  • http://tsn.ca C D

    Okay, how much money can you guys chip in to get this series done properly? Obviously there’s a HUGE market for the DT universe. Whomever has the capital and the stones to tackle this project will surely benefit financially from it’s completion… I’ve got about $200 I could part with right now, do you think Macauley Culkin is doing anything?

  • http://Facebook Brad Stanley

    My take on the Crimson King, was that by the time we caught up with him, he was already defeated. The beams destruction was reversed, and his son was killed. So, in a very real sense what we ended up seeing was a delusional and crazy nut who was totally defeated, and just needed killing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julio.cesar.flores.alvir Julio Flores

    Hello, I think Robert Brian Taylor just wants to be hired as a hackjob, and his real goal would be totally ruin stories and left them gutted and ready to be processed by the industrial machine of hollywood, in which case we would end up with a mongrel of a movie. This idea for 4 movies sucks horribly. It looks like the pitch a starved hollywood insider would make to some greedy studio owner. The dumbing down of one the great american sagas. I think I have waited and dreamed too much with these books and I am totally baffled at the murdering-of-a-story I am reading here.

    What you all have to do is shut the fuck up and envision yourselves the movie from a cinematic point of view: actors, music, locations, and mise en scene. I would like to remind you that many stories have been deemed unfilmable, and later on this have proved to be just a misconception of the script or a lack of imagination. One of this stories which recently proved that what was needed to be successful was full on committed fanatics behind the project: Watchmen. it did not ruled the box office, but damn if it wasn’t interesting, thought provoking, visually striking and faithful to the comic.

    And also let me remind you that back in the 90′s when preproduction-conceptual phase for LOTR started, no one would give a dime on this genre, it was epic, sure, but not epic like Braveheart, or Saving Private Ryan, it was also magical, and long, very long. It was outre, just check the box office in those years before and after the millennium, what ruled was indie flicks at the award season, and waning ideas for action movies. It took huge balls on behalf of new line cinema to bankroll it, it almost dragged them to bankruptcy. But lo and behold, a visionary on the reigns and there you have it……after seeing Heavenly Creatures I would have laughed if you told me Jackson was going to make a LOTR adaptation, but the guy is talented and was committed, heart and soul.

    I have not seen any interesting movie, or something originally filmed, from RonHoward in a very long time (he even dumbed down the already dumbed down Da Vinci code) so good riddance to him. Better for us to keep waiting for a real fan of the books.

    So, OK, going back to imagining the film. The story has elements of western so it has to have a rhythm, and feeling of dread, so it wont, it cant be a regular action flick, this story is mostly mystical, and that has to be reflected somehow but keeping some of the misteries we found on the books, it can’t all be explained, it is silly to just try. Remember the book also have its own soundtrack in some scenes: zz top, elton john, the beatles. The interludes will need ambient music, it could be made by bands like earth, swans, sunn o))), that would be great, such intensity, and fear it could concoct on some of the scenes. Would not it be cool to have Ennio Morricone to do the OST for Wizard and Glass?

    Some of the places in midworld would have to be CGI: Lud, the path of blaine, maybe a bit of Thunderclap, Fedic and the Prim, but many are entirely filmable, deserts, mountains, spooky castles, wild snowlands, Topeka, Mexico, NYC on 70′s, 80′s, etc.

    For style, there are many filmmakers out there with interesting styles, watch a little of Terrence Malick for some poetic imagery in nature, Olivier Assayas is really good with actors, dig a little, get out of the box and forget about your snyders, scotts and nolans of hollywood and you will see that there are many interesting talent out there…

    Finally for actors, just picture some good actors for these roles, just imagine them in the clothes and the make up

    Roland: Javier Bardem

    Eddie: James Franco/Ryan Gosling

    Susannah: Zoe Saldana (that was suggested by someone I read here and is it an inspiring choice)

    Jake: there must be someone, it is a matter of casting, his aging would be explained as a matter of midworld moving on and provoking ageing quickening….maybe a disease contracted when passing form the dutch hill house

    Callahan: William Hurt

    Steven Deschain Daniel Day Lewis

    Young Roland: Joseph Gordon Levitt

    Susan Delgado: Jennifer Lawrence

    Ted Brautigan: Steve Buscemi

    Enrico Balazar: Cristoph Waltz

    Patrick Danville: Justin Long

    Mia: Mia Kirshner

    And so on, the story is so rich, that many great actors could be cast even for small roles.

    There are things from the story that could change, but no erasing, no, expanding, that would suit a 7 movies saga, you could expand on the backstory of other characters. CK does not need to be just at the end, it could be filmed his terror reign when he lived in the red castle, or how the discordia came to be…..And this is a call to SK, man, you have to wise up, don’t let the man and his bastards destroy your magnum opus! get yourself involved on that project ASAP!!!!

    Why in the world if 8 movies of some annoying kids shooting rays out of sticks, where u knew that the good guy was always gonna win are successful why cant the dark tower be?

    If a film cant be made, then I would settle for a tv series, but no dumbing down, no censoring, and no less than the 7-8 seasons. And to the fools that have not read the wind through the keyhole, I am sorry for you cause that story is a really beautiful fairy tale and an even better flashback than wizard and glass.

    • http://www.facebook.com/julio.cesar.flores.alvir Julio Flores

      uh, I forgot, Cristoph Waltz as the leader of the low men and Josh Brolin as The Man in Black

      • Liam

        There’s no need to insult the OP by calling him a “hackjob” when your own pedestrian pitch amounts to “just picture some good actors for these roles, just imagine them in the clothes.” Hardly inspiring stuff.

        You say proposing 4 films is “the pitch a starved hollywood insider would make”, then describe how Peter Jackson beat the odds and filmed the ‘unfilmable’ Lord of the Rings, when Jackson’s pitch for the trilogy actually consisted of only 2 films before New Line suggested 3.

        You recommend 7 films with “no erasing, no, expanding”, while the OP considers the realities of getting things made in Hollywood (and despite your tirades against Hollywood, these films won’t be made independently). I’m sure all fans of the series would prefer 7 films over 4, but real-world limitations have to be considered. And as mentioned elsewhere in this thread, books always need to be altered to suit the screen. It’s why they call it an adaptation.

        Then you contradict yourself by suggesting some nonsensical changes that could be made, like Jake being aged by a disease and the fleshing out of character back stories, which King did a pretty good job of by himself.

        The fact that you cast Christoph Waltz in two different roles gives away that you haven’t given this half as much thought as the OP did.

        • julio

          Dear Laim, if it is hardly inspiring is because it is written word on a random page, you dont seem too adept at using your imagination. The “realities” of making film in hollywood can vary wildly depending on the financing you can gather, we have seen successful franchises and other not so much. if you limit the scope of the story before going out of the gates you will just get much more downsized than u expected. Dream big first, then you downsize choosing carefully what could be compromised without screwing up the core elements of the story. Who says these movies can´t be done independently? why, you friends with Harvey Weinstein or something?

          I guess that until the makers can manage an actor for jakes’s role not aging during the course of 7 filmshoots, an “adaptation” would consider a device to carry on using the same actor. That would make sense to me. but not to you, obviously you have a better idea for solving that? then let’s hear it ,genius!!. When I thought of character backstories I was thinking of expanding on the crimson king, or something like the marvel comics prequels achieved.

          This franchise needs some star power, and I am sure many would be interested and up to the challenge. I think Cristoph Waltz is a great actor, and like in a normal casting process could come for one role and leave with a totally different one, but you knew that already, right, genius?

  • Danielle

    I absolutely love these books and would love even more to see a film adaptaion. A GOOD film adaptation. My worry is that, like many of King’s novels, the series wouldn’t translate well on screen. I would rather have no movie/tv series and be left with the images created in my mind while reading the books than have a hokie movie that doesn’t do the story justice. I know this takes money, a lot of money, and in the current economy, I don’t know that any studio is going to commit the amount funding it would take to do these films properly. But I’m still hoping…

  • Dave

    Sorry, but I think this adaptation idea is far too concerned with author’s personal preference of books than presenting the full story of the DT series. This is admittedly understandable, but I think the choice of cuts/films is poorly done nonetheless. Before I go into my own proposed changes to the above proposal/my own ideas for an adaptation, let me say that I agree with the general opinion that the series would be best made into a TV series, in a similar manner to HBO’s Game of Thrones. In fact, I think HBO would be a nice place for it to prevent too much from getting toned down. However, I do see the logic in pushing for a film series rather than taking the chance of a show failing to deliver the whole series.

    The first thing I would change from your proposed adaptation would be to put a little less focus on the first novel (The Gunslinger) in the series. I think a fair amount of the book could be cut out, while still including the key points from the story which impact the upcoming events (demon, Jake, Walter/Marten) and flashbacks from Roland’s upbringing, that would serve as an introduction to Roland’s character. The Drawing of the Three should be kept as detailed and intact as possible within the limitations of a movie so that the audience isn’t short-changed when learning about two extremely important characters. The Jack Mort section is what should be cut down, if necessary, as long as his impact on Jake and Odetta is still brought up in some way.

    I like that movie 2 would be a straight adaptation of The Waste Lands. I think using the same cliffhanger that the novel did (LET THE CONTEST BEGIN) would be torture (the good kind..?) on newcomers to the series and DT enthusiasts alike, and I have mixed feelings about ending a film like that.

    My biggest problem with your film ideas lies with the 3rd and 4th entries; namely, the effect which the former has upon the latter. To sum it all up, trying to shove what is essentially the second (longer, more eventful) half of the ka-tet’s journey into a single movie by cutting chunks out of the story is absurd. It’s criminal. And for this reason, I simply don’t believe that the Dark Tower books can be fit into four movies. Unless, of course, the movie series only follows the present day journey and heavily cuts back on the flashback stories.

    And now, I present what will probably be an unpopular idea among fans of the novels: cut the Mejis story from Wizard & Glass from the main movie series, and keep the focus on the present-day Roland and friends. Don’t get me wrong, W&G is an excellent read and is one of my top 3 books in the series, and I certainly would like to see it in movie form. However, W&G is simply not important enough to the main storyline to warrant a full movie in the middle of a four-movie adaptation. The riddling game and emerald palace would of course make an appearance, either at the end of Waste Lands or beginning of Wolves, but aside from that, not very much of W&G has much impact on the rest of the story. We already know that Roland has placed the tower above all else, but what else really comes from the novel-length flashback? Knowledge of Merlyn’s Rainbow could be introduced in some other fashion, Roland meeting Sheemie again in The Dark Tower doesn’t really necessitate much background information, and any other choice bits of information regarding young Roland and his friends could be strewn throughout the films via much shorter flashbacks or campfire stories. Personally, I think the place for the main W&G story and most of the Gilead/younger Roland content would be in a side movie (as is The Hobbit to the LotR trilogy), or perhaps an HBO series that would require less of a run as the entire Dark Tower. Hell, the flashbacks in the main movie series could be used to build up suspense for the flashback stories by keeping the main plot points vague and only revealing what is absolutely necessary.

    So, on to the last two movies. I believe that Song of Susannah could be combined with book 5 without much trouble. The events at Calla Bryn Sturgis were drawn out in Wolves and should be shortened a bit to keep things moving. Callahan’s lengthy story could be drastically shortened or left out, but perhaps he could still encounter Salem’s Lot (the novel) and hint at/reveal King’s importance to…well, everything. I think it would be safe to eliminate Eddie and Roland’s visits to Stephen King prior to the crash, but not to remove him from the story completely. Perhaps his only interaction with Roland’s ka-tet would be during the crash itself, with a few scenes building up to the crash as a significant event (in the final film). Of course, this would require some other method of informing the characters and audience of King’s role in the story, and at the moment I am at a loss as to what it could be. The third film could end where Song of Susannah ends, with the Pere and Jake preparing to fight in the Dixie Pig, and Susannah about to give birth, with an ominous hint at the death of King via car crash.

    The final movie, of course, will cover the 7th and final novel in the series, The Dark Tower. Devar-toi, Dandelo, and all of the other major events of the novel would remain intact, with a few exceptions. Ted Brautigan’s cassette story should be cut down, and more importantly, some changes should be made to the final confrontation between Roland and the Crimson King to create a more satisfying climax to the series for moviegoers (and even the fans of the novels, I know I wasn’t satisfied with the CK’s appearance). I think Patrick Danville and his magic eraser was a cheap trick that created an anticlimax, leaving a lot of people disappointed. So, I believe it would be reasonable to leave Patrick out of the story and find a different way for Roland and the CK to duke it out. I do not think that Walter would make a good villain for the whole series, simply because of the almost cowardly nature of his character. His actions against Roland and company are mostly indirect and he never goes head to head with the ka-tet. His character could, of course, be changed for movie purposes, but why not just improve on the Crimson King scene instead? For me, The Dark Tower contained some of the most unique characters and locations within the series, and I was appalled to see that you would lump the novel in with the two previous entries.

    So, to summarize, I have two of my own outlines for a movie adaptation:

    First, a four part series:

    MAIN SERIES

    FILM 1
    -Includes The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three
    -Character introduction for Roland, Susannah, and Eddie
    -Shortened version of the gunslinger for perhaps the first quarter of the movie
    -Some flashbacks into Roland’s Past, include main story events from The Gunslinger (Meeting Jake, Jake dies, palaver with Walter, sex demon, etc.)
    -Eddie and Susannah’s ‘door events’ kept as detailed as possible.
    -Jack Mort’s ‘door events’ shortened if necessary to fit into a film.

    FILM 2
    -The Waste Lands in movie form. Nothing much to add there.
    -Cliffhanger from book 3?

    FILM 3
    -Includes the Emerald City, Wolves of the Calla and The Song of Susannah
    -Remove detailed background on Callahan
    -Discover Stephen King’s importance without actually visiting him.
    -End where Book 6 ends.

    FILM 4
    -As much of The Dark Tower as can be fit into a single movie
    -Remove Patrick Danville
    -Rework Crimson King vs. Roland
    -Remove most of Brautigan’s background or work it into other scenes somehow

    SIDE FILM: WIZARD AND GLASS
    -Mejis story adapted into a film.

    Throughout the main series there will be flashbacks pertaining to important scenes from Roland’s past that affect the story and that may also hint at W&G. (For example, young Sheemie, the battle of Jericho and the horn, Cuthbert and Alain, etc.)

    Second Idea, less detailed, a five part movie series:

    FILM 1: Wizard and Glass, The Gunslinger
    -The story from Wizard and Glass and other moments from Roland’s Past briefly interrupted by moments from The Gunslinger, as if remembering during his long trek through the desert.

    FILM 2: The Drawing of the Three

    FILM 3-5: Same as 2-4 above

    This idea occurred to me as a way to keep the story more chronologically ordered without actually leaving anything out, but it does add another entry to the movie series.

    I realize that I have left The Wind Through the Keyhole out of this, and frankly, I can’t figure out any way to fit it in. It is not only another flashback novel, but it also contains a story within a story within a story. I found it to be more of a side story in the Dark Tower universe than a bridge between present-time events in W&G and Wolves (which is originally what I expected it to be; I was wrong), so for that reason I don’t really see it fitting in anywhere.

    Sorry for the wall of text; I enjoyed reading your take on a film adaptation of the series and hope you and anyone else will enjoy reading my take on it.

  • Kevin

    Give Rolland the Horn to cover the directors changes.

    With the horn, flagg should elude that his quest will fail without befriending Mordred.

    Cut out the back story, the road to the tower does not need “Wizard and Glass” anymore than “Wind thu the Key hole”. Shemme the only survivor of wiz and glass will get cut anyways.

    Writing him self into the story was brilliant. Sad to see an original idea cast aside.

    what the heck. 7 books get compressed to 4 movies
    they took 2 movies for the last books in twilight and harry potter. We Want More.

  • http://www.humanmama.com humanmama

    Wow. Just….wow. Mordred, the Gunslinger, the Man in Black… Nerd alert! But, totally awesome. Way to go, guys!! Here’s to going viral :)

    • Robert Brian Taylor

      Thanks, AJ. You think this was nerdy? Ha! Check out the podcast! Now THAT is nerdy.

  • Becky

    I totally agree with bettyjane! Please do not make this movie!

  • Alex

    I think I’m one of the few who thinks that the idea of a fully integrated film series and television show sounds really interesting. As long as the continuity was perfect.

  • http://www.hotmail.com Adam

    Turning the Dark Tower series into a tv show should be considered murder. There are so many subtle nuances to each of the characters, even a full-length movie couldn’t cover everything at one book per movie. That is, unless one planned to make each movie into a Titanic-type presentation (So long, it needs an intermission) In which case, one would still need two movies to cover A Wizard and Glass and The Drawing of the Three to give each character a proper introduction without a half-hour voice-over bit defining their personas.

  • salty

    Brilliant work on this. I actually think that this would be an incredible film series given your layout. I just hope that someone important (with a lot of money) sees this and realizes that it NEEDS TO HAPPEN IMMEDIATELY.

    The only things I have to add is casting (it’s also just fun to imagine):

    Roland – Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead), Ralph Fiennes, or Michael Fassbender
    Susanna Dean – Angela Bassett
    Jake – I dunno, some up-and-coming kid actor.
    Eddie – Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice)

  • Erwin Louwagie

    If they can spin a yarn on the DEAD ZONE (how many seasons now? SIX?), think of what could be accomplished on the Dark tower …

  • Cecil Neighbarger

    Can we end the movie length discussion. It seems to me with the success of LotR, and now Disney saying they will add 3 movie to the Star Wars series, seems to me the era of the trilogy is officially over.

    Another note, I totally agree W&G and WTtK WOULD be the perfect TV series tie-in, but as I said before, Little Sisters could be a short miniseries as well.

    I will also say, as for the aging issue, I thought the “Mid-World Virus” was a unique idea. But maybe the producers could find a pair of siblings to play the role of Jake?

    And last, you can put SK in the film, remember Jon Bruno played him in the movie “Monkeybone”, but instead of the words at the beginning of the Gunslinger, why not have Stephen King do a voice over?

  • EP Thorn

    …they CAN, and probably will leave it alone (due to the enormity of the story), and you can sit there and read your books over and over again and be sooo happy that no one will ever get to see an adaption that might somehow sully the tale in your head.

    Seriously, how can anyone think that a book goes to movie without changes and omissions? I liked the series but if you think there’s enough of a fan base to support a series of movies with the budget needed going up to seven or eight films, you’re the ones living in an alternate reality. Besides, treating a writer’s stuff as if its untouchable and perfect is how you get travesties like the Star Wars prequels. It’s clear that King didn’t have the books all planned out, given the contradictions and revisions that happened over the years.

    The vain ‘meta’ placement of King in his own book was so jarring and annoying that I can’t imagine any adaption with a real production letting it go through.

  • Roland!!

    Nonsense?? You fucking dare to claim your a king fan yet call his work nonsense? Piece of shit.You have totally raped the book’s,your idea’s are childish,and i would be ashamed to call stephen kings work “nonsense” while claiming to be a “fan”.