Years ago, rumors began that there would be an attempt to adapt Stephen King's epic "Dark Tower" seven-book series onto the big screen. Fans familiar with the work immediately questioned whether it was possible. King's magnum opus serves as the foundation of his multiverse, complex mythology linking King's other stories into one giant universe. So, instead of attempting to "eat the entire feast all at once," Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Motion Picture Group, told The Hollywood Reporter that they wanted "The Dark Tower" movie adaptation to work as an "introduction to the world." This approach is the reason why the film is successful, as it achieves this specific goal.

The video below gives a glimpse of only some of the connections within the world of Stephen King.

What makes it work

"The Dark Tower" was released in theaters on August 4, 2017, and has been met with harsh reviews from critics. To date, the movie has received $88.6 million at the box office with a budget of $60 million. Audiences have offered a mixture of reviews of the movie, especially among fans of the book. It's understandable that fans anticipating a pure adaptation from the books would be left feeling frustrated or disappointed by the movie. I would implore the fans, however, to consider the goal behind the movie and view it through another lens. Again, the film was meant to give fans a small piece of what King brilliantly wrote.

The original content of the book series contains a mythology that is too rich, complex, and layered; add to that a limited budget, and the real success story comes in the version the filmmakers were able to put onscreen.

Instead of shooting too big, they came up with a plan to introduce fans to the world they were either already familiar with through the books, or to a brand-new audience that had yet to experience Roland's adventures.

The structure, heart, and many of the other important elements are in the film, including a mixture of moments interwoven into the one movie. The movie provides a tease if you will, and a supportive role in Stephen King's "Dark Tower" universe. Based on how the movie ends, it can be argued that the film is a sequel of sorts to the books.

Either way, the film was always meant to be a taste of the universe King created. King himself claimed during his talk at the TimesTalk event in NYC in 2009 that the series is not actually done and that the books are simply "sections" of one ultra-long novel.

Point being, this universe is expansive, and one movie would not be able to encompass that entire saga. It did its best, however. The most special element, arguably, was the multiple Easter eggs of Stephen King's other works subtly layered throughout the movie, presented without comment to incorporate the massively important revelation that King's works are all connected by a singular universe. "The Shining," "It," and "Cujo," were all represented as well as many others.

Stephen King has never been shy about revealing which adaptations of his literary work he has enjoyed and which ones he hates. The writer himself approved of director's Nikolaj Arcel's work on "The Dark Tower," while reminding fans before the movie was released that the film would not be a direct adaptation of his works, but rather, a sequel. King felt, while it wasn't a pure adaptation of his novels, it had the same "spirit and tone" of them, which is why this introductory adaptation of an intricate universe as massive as King's is successful and entertaining.

Looking ahead

The film adaptation was only one milestone in the overall attempted effort to bring King's epic from the page to the screen.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the minds behind this push to bring more of the Gunslinger's world to life are hoping to create a "cross-platform cinematic and TV universe." A potential television series is being planned, with Glen Mazzara (former producer of TV's "The Walking Dead" and "Damien") as a possible showrunner for the series. The show would focus on the gunslinger's origins, providing a look at a younger Roland's experience in this world. While the character would be played by a different actor than Idris Elba, The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Elba, along with other familiar faces from the movie such as Tom Taylor (Jake Chambers), and Dennis Haysbert (Roland's father) are planned to make limited appearances in the TV series.

The hope is for the show to essentially stand on its own and build from there. If there are film sequels produced, the creative minds behind this effort hope that the TV series will inform what happens in the films, but standalone as its own project as well. This plan for "The Dark Tower" to be a cross-platform adaptation venture has been in the works for over a decade and shows the respect producers and directors have for the incredibly complex and layered universe Stephen King spent years creating. Instead of attempting to adapt the words directly from the page onto the screen, they realized there can be a balance between the movies, potential TV series, and the books working together to bring this universe to life even more for old fans and new.

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