Mike Flanagan may be done with Netflix but he's not done adapting Stephen King. After being at the helm of adaptations of such works of King as Doctor Sleep and Gerald's Game, Flanagan has set his sights on adapting the Holy Grail of King's long and iconic bibliography. It's been confirmed today that Flanagan, who recently left Netflix for a multi-year deal with Amazon producing partner Trevor Macy, is working on adapting King's legendary magnum opus, The Dark Tower into a series. One that Flanagan himself spoke on today alongside Macy with Deadline, noting his awareness of the series' immaculate place among classic literary works and his long-term ambition to adapt the series:
“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. 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.”
The popular 8-book series, which began in 1982 with the publication of The Gunslinger and ended in 2012 with The Wind Through the Keyhole, revolved 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 the universe. The series was noted for it's eclectic mix of various genres including horror, fantasy, science fiction, and the Western genres. While Amazon had previously attempted to make a pilot for a series themselves but chose to not move forward with it. The only adaptation of the series that has ever happened was the 2017 eponymous adaptation that served as a sequel to the book series and saw Idris Elba as Roland. The film's negative reception and box office returns led to any franchise plans being killed for that interpretation. That film was meant to be the start of a multimedia franchise that would span shows and films.
According to Flanagan and Macy, their production company Intrepid Pictures picked up the rights to King’s sprawling franchise when Flanagan contacted the author himself with a detailed outline for his planned adaptation. Flanagan even explained to deadline his plan would be to create a five season story (presumably of the first five books), followed by two feature-length films wrapping the project up. King was rumored to be impressed with the pitch and gave Intrepid the rights. Because the deal came before the company moved to Amazon, the series could potentially end up at another streamer or channel, though Amazon Prime still remains a possible destination for the show. And given Amazon's massive budgets that they have put towards shows such as Rings of Power along with the lucrative deal they have given Flanagan and Macy, it's a strong possibility they will fund his ambitious adaptation.
Flanagan's streak as of late with shows has been spectacular, including his adaptations of The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor along with his original show Midnight Mass and his recent adaptation of the 1994 novel The Midnight Club. He is set to finish up his time at Netflix with the Edgar Allan Poe adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher which is currently in post-production. Ultimately, Flanagan's track record and his desire to properly adapt great works with affection for the original source material could be the combination needed to finally capture Roland's journey through Mid-World (among other worlds) with faithfulness and creative punch. As Roland would often say in the books...that's ka for you. Stay tuned!