'The Dark Tower' Show Lands 'Walking Dead' Showrunner, Won't Connect to Movie

Thursday, 03 August 2017 - 7:40PM
Thursday, 03 August 2017 - 7:40PM
'The Dark Tower' Show Lands 'Walking Dead' Showrunner, Won't Connect to Movie
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Columbia Pictures
Today marks the day that audiences can go see The Dark Tower in theaters. How many people will take up this opportunity remains to be seen, especially considering the lukewarm reviews that the movie has been enduring, and the fact that Sony's marketing for the film has been unusually subdued.

It seems that this movie can't even have its opening day without being upstaged by another project, as Deadline has announced that the rumored TV series based on Stephen King's Dark Tower novels is indeed happening, and will be overseen by Glen Mazzara, a former showrunner for The Walking Dead. Sony seems eager to give Dark Tower fans something to look forward to, even after they've seen Idris Elba fight Matthew McConaughey for the fate of the planet.

The TV show version of The Dark Tower is going to be an origin story of sorts, borrowing from King's novels Wizard of Glass and The Gunslinger to explore the backstory of the character that Elba plays in the movie, gunslinger Roland Deschain. Considering how insanely cool Elba looks in the role, this seems like a wise choice, as it takes something that movie audiences will soon be familiar with (should they buy tickets, that is) and fleshes the world and characters out in a way that can only really be done in the longform narrative style offered by television.

This being the case, one would think that with such a star-studded movie currently in theaters, Sony would want to use that to their advantage by making the TV show an extension of the same cinematic universe. That may have once been the plan, but not any more - Deadline notes that the show will be "independent" of the movie, even though the film's producer and co-writer, Akiva Goldsman, will executive produce the show as well.

Based on everything that Sony's done (or not done) to promote the movie, its lengthy delays and reshoots, and factoring in the mixed reviews that the film is receiving, it's entirely possible that Sony's higher ups have been hesitant about the cinematic adaptation of the source material for a while, and now prefer a clean break that doesn't come with any negative association. It doesn't make sense to pay for Idris Elba to show up in a TV show if his performance is synonymous with an unpopular movie.

That said, there's obviously still time for Sony to change their minds, and it's worth assuming that the studio is currently playing the waiting game to see whether tying the Dark Tower TV show to its movie counterpart is worthwhile, or if there even seems to be enough interest in a television series to begin with. The timing of this announcement is surely not coincidental - Sony is looking to suss out audiences' reactions to the idea of a series that's loosely connected to what they've just seen.

The past few years have seen Sony make some interesting and often baffling choices, and the way that the studio's producers seem to flip-flop on key plans regarding story suggests that at least some parts of the team are merely taking the path of least resistance when it comes to decision making. If The Dark Tower proves a hit, the studio may strong-arm Glen Mazzara into working an Idris Elba cameo into the mix.

If the movie bombs (which wouldn't at all be surprising given its marketing up to this point), perhaps Sony will push ahead with current plans to make a new, distinct version of the story for TV, or simply ditch the project altogether in favor of something else.

Today's announcement is by no means binding, and whether we'll actually get a standalone Dark Tower television series primarily depends on how many people buy tickets to the current film, and whether or not they fall asleep while watching it.

The Dark Tower comes out August 4, 2017.


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