When The Dark Tower movie bombed, one could assume that it would’ve been the end of a Dark Tower television show based on Stephen King’s famous series. In reality, the failure of the film only strengthened the vision of the TV series. A series that, unfortunately, will now never see the light of day.
Speaking on The Kingcast podcast, Dark Tower showrunner Glen Mazzara spoke in great detail about his would-be Amazon show. He talked about what the show was in tandem with the movies, what the show became after the movie, what specifically happened in the pilot, and most excitingly, about what the show would have become had it went on for several years.
To set the table, in early 2018, word broke that Amazon was working on a Dark Tower TV show. In early 2019, that show began to progress and Mazzara, who previously was an executive producer on The Walking Dead, shot a pilot. However, in early 2020, Amazon decided to pass.
Long before any of that happened or was announced though, Mazzara’s take on the material was to start things with book four in King’s series, Wizard and Glass. That book goes back in time and tells the story of a young Roland years before he goes searching for the titular tower. The bonus with that approach was it became a compliment to Nikolaj Arcel’s movie, which starred Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. The movies could tell the story of grown-up Roland, and TV could be the prequel. Then the movie bombed. Badly.
“I was actually thankful that someone made that movie, believe it or not, because, I think that movie…was exactly what I said not to do in my initial pitch,” Mazzara said on the podcast. “It was about the Dark Tower. My plan was not to mention the Dark Tower, not to explain there was a Dark Tower. I wanted Roland to find the dark tower as he finds it in [the books].”
Mazzara thought if he made his show about a young man who loses everything and, eventually, becomes obsessed with this mythic tower, it would work much better in the long run, the audience would feel more for this character. Even though after the movie opened he was given the option to just start at the beginning with the older Roland, he struggled with that decision for about a year, eventually, he stuck to his guns. Pun intended.
The plan Mazzara had to make his way through King’s books was so well thought out he knew exactly which episode the story of the first book would start. “By episode 3.03 or 3.04 I was going to have Roland stumble out into the desert, follow him into the desert, and then I was going to do a time-lapse so that maybe you actually age Roland and switch actors,” he said. “Then you have a new Roland reset the show at the top of season three, then go into The Gunslinger and by the end of that season go into The Drawing of Three.”
Unfortunately though, due to budget reasons and other competing projects, Amazon passed on Mazzara’s pilot, basically killing the entire show. Now, the closest you’ll get to see it is listening to the full episode of The Kingcast. On the episode, besides all of the above, he details exactly what happens in the pilot he shot, what he was looking forward to getting to most, how he was going to break down the last two books, his plans for the Horn of Eld and much, much more.
We’ll be sure to bring you more on any Dark Tower developments. Considering King’s adaptation run, never say never.