Amazon Studio's The Dark Tower series, based on the novels by Stephen King, will not be moving forward, as the studio reportedly passed on the series pilot. The pilot was developed by executive producer and showrunner Glen Mazzara and Media Rights Capital.
Deadline broke the news, and it was later confirmed by Entertainment Weekly. Per the report, Amazon Studios passed on the pilot from The Walking Dead's Mazzara for not living up to the standards currently being set by other big-budget fantasy series like Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time. Mazzara is said to be shopping the two scripts, which comprised the pilot episode, to other outlets. The scripts are written by Nikolaj Arcel and Anders Thomas Jensen.
SYFY WIRE has reached out to Amazon for confirmation. But Mazzara put out his own statement on social media noting he was proud of the work done on the project, despite the fact it won't be moving forward.
The Dark Tower series has been mired in a lengthy development timeline, with news of the small-screen adaptation beginning in 2017. Alas, as we've seen from the big-screen version, King's magnum opus isn't one that lends itself easily to adaptation.
The novel series tells the story of Roland Deschain, a gunslinger who roams the fantasy wasteland or another dimension in search of the dark tower (which is both real and an abstraction). The other hardship? There are eight books' worth of material to choose from. If anyone knows the difficulty of trying to bring King's work to the screen, it's legendary director Ron Howard.
Howard directed the 2017 film, which was widely panned as a critical and commercial failure. Part of the difficulty, Howard admitted, is in striking the right tone with the source material. Not even Idris Elba (playing Roland Deschain/The Gunslinger), and Matthew McConaughey (Walter Padick) could save a film that many critics called confusing.
The director says he should have gone full horror with the material, instead of trying to balance horror and PG-13 material. The Amazon Studios production was said to be taking a more direct approach to retelling King's work. One can imagine, with someone like Mazzara at the production helm, that would have meant leaning into the horror elements of the series.
The now-ill-fated Amazon Studio series also sought to avoid some difficult adaptation issues by focusing the story on the fourth novel in the series, Wizard and Glass. The novel tells the story of Deschain's journey to becoming the gunslinger, finding love, and meeting his nemesis known as the Man in Black.
The Dark Tower was slated to be a 13-episode season and would stand alone from the 2017 film. While there wasn't a ton of information released about the cast, we were treated to some announcements over the past few years. English actor Sam Strike (Nightflyers, Timeless) was set to play Deschain, with Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy) in an unnamed, unconfirmed role. Jasper Pääkkönen was to star as Roland's nemesis, the Man in Black.
Yeesh. Here's one tower we're sorry to see crumble!