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'The Dark Tower' TV series is back on, with 'Doctor Sleep' director Mike Flanagan in charge
Mike Flanagan is finally chasing his dream project.
It's a week of big moves for Mike Flanagan. Just days after announcing a move from Netflix to Amazon Studios to develop new projects, the director and his producing partner Trevor Macy have revealed they've landed the rights to Flanagan's dream project: Stephen King's The Dark Tower.
In a new interview with Deadline about the future of their production company, Intrepid Pictures, Flanagan and Macy announced that they've already begun laying out their plans for an ambitious seven-part adaptation of King's magnum opus, a sprawling horror-fantasy saga set largely in an alternate world.
"Predating our deal with Amazon, we acquired the rights to The Dark Tower, which if you know anything about me, you know it has been my Holy Grail of a project for most of my life," Flanagan said. "We actually have those rights carved out of our Amazon deal, which doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t get behind it at some point — you don’t know. But that’s something we’ve been developing ourselves and are really passionate about finally getting it up on its feet at some point."
According to Flanagan, the broader plan for his Dark Tower saga at this point is five seasons of television, along with two "stand-alone features" to close out the story. And because the filmmaker has been dreaming of this adaptation for much of his life, he's already got a solid handle on how he wants to structure the story, so solid that he's already sold Stephen King himself on the vision.
"This happened because I sent him a very, very detailed outline of what I wanted to do with it," Flanagan said of King. "And it was in response to that, that he gave us the rights. A project like this, I wouldn’t want to be involved in it at all If we were taking it in a direction that was going to be blasphemous to the Stephen King material, but he’s been very, very supportive and very excited about what we’d like to do with it."
This isn't the first time Flanagan has tackled a King property with King's blessing. The writer/director previously adapted Gerald's Game (long considered one of the most difficult King novels to bring to the screen) and Doctor Sleep into feature films, and was all set to adapt King's novel Revival before the studio backed away from the project. Now, he's tackling the biggest King story ever.
But Flanagan is, of course, far from the first filmmaker to attempt to tackle The Dark Tower. Producer Ron Howard spent years developing his version of the story, which finally bore fruit in the form of a poorly received Dark Tower film back in 2017. Write Glen Mazzarra tried his hand at a TV series version for Amazon shortly after the film arrived, but the project never got past the pilot stage.
Now it's Flanagan's turn, and he's got both King in his corner and a years-long commitment to getting the material right. He's aware of how daunting it is, but he's also aware that he's been waiting decades for this chance.
"The pilot script is one of my favorite things I’ve ever gotten to work on," Flanagan said. "It’s been surreal working on that. So we’ve been floored and grateful that Stephen King trusts us with such an undertaking, something so precious to him, and we hope to find the right partners to realize it."
Looking for more Stephen King thrills and chills? Stream IT, Stephen King's A Good Marriage, and Mr. Mercedes all on Peacock right now.