Hot on the heels of leaving Netflix for Amazon, horror creator Mike Flanagan already has his next big project lined up. The creator of spooky TV favorites like “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Midnight Mass,” and “The Midnight Club” has acquired the rights to adapt Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” book series.
Flanagan revealed the news in a Deadline interview with his producing partner Trevor Macy about their recent jump from Netflix to Amazon, where they recently inked an overall deal.
“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.”
Amazon previously had the rights to “The Dark Tower” themselves and was working on a project that only made it to the pilot phase. Those rights lapsed and Flanagan and Macy picked them up before setting their new pact with Amazon, which was announced on Dec. 1.
Flanagan has already written a pilot script
Flanagan envisions his adaptation as lasting five seasons, with two standalone feature film follow-ups. He said that he has already written a pilot script that he is extremely pleased with, visualized the opening shot, and created the outlines for future seasons.
He expressed his gratitude towards King and said that the project came about after he sent the legendary writer “a very, very detailed outline” of what he had in mind. King responded by handing over the rights to Flanagan and his producing partner at Intrepid Pictures, Trevor Macy. In his own words:
“Having lived with this project as long as I have, I have an enormous amount of it worked out in my brain. But I have a pilot script I’m thrilled with and a very detailed outline for the first season and a broader outline for the subsequent seasons. I think eventually, if we’re able to get it going, there are some other writers I want to fold into that process whom I’ve worked with before; I think they would be really fabulous for a very small, intimate writers room where we can continue to break it. I’ll tell you, more than half of my life, I’ve closed my eyes and been able to watch a lot of this play out, I’ve dreamed about this. That first shot which comes right off at the first incredible sentence of the first book, The Gunslinger, I’ve had that image just rattling around in my head since I was an undergrad. It’s going to have to get out of there eventually, I really need to get it out of my head.”
The Dark Tower Franchise
King’s “The Dark Tower” series first began in 1982 with the publication of “The Gunslinger” and continued for seven more novels, the last of which was published in 2012. An eclectic mix of horror, fantasy, and the Western genres, the series revolves around Roland Deschain, a member of a knightly order known as the Gunslingers traveling to the titular tower, said to be the nexus point of ever universe. In addition to the sprawling main series, the “Dark Tower” also crosses over with other King books, featuring many of the most famous characters and locations from the celebrated horror author.
“The Dark Tower” previously received a film adaptation in 2017, with Idris Elba starring as Roland. The film, which was technically a sequel to the book series, received negative reviews from critics, though Elba’s performance received some praise. Amazon also previously worked on a pilot for a series adaptation of the books, with Sam Strike and Jasper Pääkkönen leading the cast, but ultimately decided not to move forward with the project.