Stephen King Dark Tower Movie Gets a Release Date

I still don’t quite believe that this will happen (or at least happen at a level that’s worth the wait) but Sony announced a release date for a movie based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. The release date is early January 2017, the dead zone for movies so that’s kind of a bummer. If it actually happens, I hope they make it decent enough to push it back to the summer.

Maybe someone at the studio will make a stand and they’ll release it later.

I wasn’t even aware they had a screenplay, a director, or a cast at this point. That’s a lot of work to get done in 16 months.

The timer has begun for that date to be bumped back. Like, a year or more.

If they can’t do a decent job of it, I hope it just stays in production hell. Even if they did an amazing job, I’m not sure how they’d market it to a lucrative point. But I’ve been surprised before.

For those of us who haven’t read it, why exactly is the story said to be so hard to film? Is it the 7 book length, or is there more to it than that? (No major spoilers please)

It’s encapsulated within a world (or universe) whose barriers are literally breaking down and merging with others. There are different timelines. One character is killed and also not killed. So they have to work to rectify the impossibility of both things simultaneously being true. Various points in timelines and time periods have to work together simultaneously to accomplish a goal. It merges with every other Stephen King book and universe at some point. Stephen King purposely inserts himself and his own timeline into a good chunk of one of the books.

I don’t think it’s impossible to film. But I think you can’t really convey to an audience through the screen what’s captured on the pages. So you’re left with trying to simplify it, which I’m fine with. Some things need to be culled. But simplify it too far and it ceases to be about anything remotely like what drew people into the Gunslinger series in the first place.

This is like trying to fit the entire Game of Thrones series into a movie. I’d be much more confident in its quality if this was going to be an ongoing TV series or at least a miniseries.

Besides a few short stories (Rita Hayworth, The Body) and the Green Mile, I’ve never seen a good movie made from a Stephen King work. Though I’m out of the loop, as I haven’t read much Stephen King or seen any of his screen adaptations since the early aughts. I could be wrong and I’ll probably give it a chance when it is released.

I’m trying to finish the Song of Ice and Fire books before the next GoT season, and I’m leaning towards finishing the Dark Tower series some time after that. (I read the first three books back in the 90s when that’s all there was. Never got around to reading the other four, though opinions I’ve received from people who read them all are mixed.)

The good news is that there’s going to be a movie.

The bad news is that there will actually be seven movies, and the last one won’t premiere until 21 years after the first one does.

Oy!

Agreed with what everyone says but I should also add that, while the story progresses and it’s fairly easy to follow, King pretty much threw everything into it. It’s a Western, it’s science fiction, it’s horror, it’s fantasy, and it references a ton of his other works. Some people can roll with that but I feel like the average moviegoer may not really know what to make of it. There’s an entire book in the middle that basically just goes back into the past for the whole book. It’s possibly my favorite of the series but it’s also weird to suddenly jump 20 or 30 years prior. A TV series could probably work with that but I imagine a movie franchise will have to get pretty creative incorporating the flashbacks or just allude to them.

Being the only person I know who didn’t hate the ending, it’s kind of a shame that actuarially I’ve got a very slim chance of seeing it. I don’t know if I’ll even bother with the first few.

There are also a lot of characters from other books who pop up. I’m not sure the audience will get all the references. (Father Callahan, for one.)

King is confounding because he’s so mixed - both his books and the movies made from them vary from the truly excellent to dreck.

He’s had at least three top-ranked movies adapted from his stuff - The Shawshank Redemption (currently listed as #1 at IMDb!), The Shining (#58, same source), and The Green Mile (#42, same). That’s pretty good - three in the top 100- though admittedly, not everyone loves the IMDb list.

For myself, I think that the first three Dark Tower books are in the truly excellent category, and the rest - not so much.

Yeah, Wolves of the Calla could have been MUCH shorter. Big build up, small pay out.

So much of Susannah’s story was cringe-worthy on the page, I can’t even imagine how it could be portrayed in a film. And that is besides the missing limbs (all cgi?) and demon sex.

Speaking of endings, I think I was told one time that there are two endings to the series?

One that ends, and then another that’s like “hey if you want to read more you can, but beware” or something like that?

It also takes a sharp left turn into postmodernism in the last two volumes. There’s no way any of that is filmable.

Yes, there is a section like that at the end. I don’t recall exactly where in the ending it is, but from my point of view, top reading right when…

Roland enters the Dark Tower. Don’t bother reading about him exploring inside. Just stop reading, secure in the knowledge you’ve not wasted time you could be spending reading better books.

I think the whole tone of the movies will be determined by the first scene. Does Roland have the Horn with him or not? If he does, the movies have the potential for excellence. If not, I fear for a horrible ending.

I’ll disagree with Patch - the Coda is very readable. I thought it was predictable, but a blind squirrel and all that. I’m with Bill Door - I thought the ending was more than satisfactory. I’m also with Blank Slate in that the vast majority of the last two books are all but unfilmable. (Though the big battle in Book 7 can certainly work - not the “Boss Battle” though).