The Dark Tower: Mike Flanagan Offers Promising Update on Stephen King Series

Filmmaker Mike Flanagan revealed last December that he obtained the rights to Stephen King's The Dark Tower, arguably the most beloved of all King series, and while the writers' strike is preventing any substantial momentum developing on the project, the filmmaker confirmed he's hopeful about the project's future following the strike. After a long partnership with Netflix, Flanagan ended up leaving the streamer last year in favor of Prime Video, so even if the writers' strike wasn't going on, Flanagan would have likely faced some development hurdles, but it sounds as though it's a priority for him.

"We're on strike but I'm very optimistic," Flanagan shared during a Tribeca Festival masterclass, per Variety. "We have great partners and I think it's going to happen."

While it's exciting to hear Flanagan's enthusiasm for the upcoming project, the uncertainty surrounding the writers' strikes means it could be months before any progress is made on the project, potentially not heading into production until next year for a possible 2024 or even a 2025 release date. Similarly, with previous filmmakers struggling to find the best way to bring a Dark Tower TV show to life, there are sure to be a number of challenges for Flanagan to overcome.

Despite all those challenges, Flanagan might be the most prepared to take on such a task. The filmmaker previously delivered an adaptation of King's Gerald's Game back in 2017, which was widely believed to be too difficult to adapt from the source material. He returned to King's world for 2019's Doctor Sleep, which served not only as an adaptation of the novel of the same name, but also as a follow-up to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

Like many fans, Flanagan understands that The Dark Tower can be the key to the entire world of King.

"The thing about the King universe is, it's all connected. And the nexus point of those connections is The Dark Tower," Flanagan revealed to the Script Apart podcast. "So I have the rights to that at the moment, I hope I'm able to keep them long enough to get it made, but that's something else that always affords opportunities. In the Dark Tower universe, there are all these other characters from the King world that come into play in different ways. And that's one where when you make changes to the source material to introduce characters who could have played a very important role in that story the way it was structured...Doctor Sleep was written after The Dark Tower was finished. Abra Stone in the Dark Tower universe, as a Breaker [telepathic agent], is really interesting."

He continued, "There's a character in The Dark Tower named Dandelo, who I think is a cousin of the True Knot, who's this emotional vampire but who feeds on laughter instead of fear. But there's room in that world for the True Knot themselves, there's room for Rose the Hat. There might be room for Danny Torrance. There's all sorts of stuff that could be amazing, if we're able to get that property on its feet. There's ways to pull in other things from the King universe, and I think The Shining universe – the Doctor Sleep universe – could very seamlessly dovetail into it. Especially since, in our movie, Dick Hallorann all but points to The Dark Tower in his last scene with Dan." 

Stay tuned for updates on Flanagan's The Dark Tower TV series.

Are you looking forward to the adaptation? Let us know in the comments or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!