It’s Stephen King’s birthday today, and to commemorate the occasion EW has been given a first look at the forthcoming The Dark Tower TV series, the companion project to next year’s The Dark Tower movie.
During all the time The Dark Tower has spent in development hell, producers Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman and Brian Grazer always pitched the movies as coming with a companion TV series to provide the backstory for Roland, the gunslinger hero of the series played by Idris Elba. And now we’re finally getting some details as to what that TV series will entail.
The show will consist of 10-to-13 episodes, depending on how the show’s storylines shake out, to air in 2018 after the movie is available on cable and streaming services. The show hasn’t been picked up by any channel or service just yet, but the show’s production company MRC produces House of Cards for Netflix, so that’s a possibility.
Elba will appear in the show as Roland, along with Tom Taylor as Jake, and the two will serve as a framing device for the show, which will consist mostly of flashbacks to a teenaged Roland, who has yet to be cast. Even though his character, the Man in Black, appears in some of these flashbacks in the books, there’s no word yet on Matthew McConaughey’s involvement. It would be easy enough to explain the actor’s absence, though, since the Man in Black often assumes different appearances and identities. The movie’s director Nikolaj Arcel and co-writer Anders Thomas Jensen are also returning to write the show’s scripts.
Part of the show will follow the flashbacks laid out in the first book of the series, The Gunslinger, while the majority of the show will be taken from book four, Wizard and Glass. The show will stick more closely to the books than the movie will, which has been described as a sort of sequel to the book series.
The Dark Tower is a strange property, so it’ll be interesting to see how the general audience reacts to the movie and what effect that will have on the TV series. Sony and MRC are putting a lot on the line for this series so hopefully it’ll pay off, if only so afterwards Idris Elba can star in every movie.
Released along with the show details was a small map showing Mejis, the territory Roland spends most of Wizard and Glass in, which you can see below.
The Dark Tower movie hits theaters on Feb. 17, 2017.