Ron Howard went on Howard Stern to promote his sure-to-be-mediocre film The Dilemma and gave out a bit more information on the combined movie trilogy and TV adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. And from what he said, it sounds like the plan is put most of the exciting stuff into the movies and let the TV series handle the slightly more, um, less-exciting character stuff:
I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not, but I’m developing with Akiva Goldsman, the guy who wrote A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man, a version of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of fantasy stories And there is an element of it, if everything goes as planned, that we would like to do on tv. So we want to do part of it big screen, and then a lot of the character stuff — because Stephen King’s stuff is so interesting and fascinating, and instead of trying to wedge it into a movie, let the movies be adventure and action.
Howard will direct at least the first film and tv series and the TV series will be handled by NBC/Universal. He also described the series as a “six hour special,” which we’re assuming just applies to the first season.
Combining film and television seems like the only way to adapt King’s incredibly long series and not have to cut huge swathes of it. If you’ve never read the seven book series, it has long, long stretches of backstory which would horribly slow down any film that tried to incorporate all of it. Combining TV and a trilogy of films seems like a great compromise if you’re trying to keep as much of the books in as possible, which Howard certainly seems to be. As he said on Stern:
In a way it’s Stephen King’s life work. He’s woven those characters in and around so many stories… Hey look, there is always a risk when you adapt something and books are challenges. But I think a movie idea is there. And if I have my way, and if everything goes according to plan, which is of course a big if — we’ll be doing movies, we’ll be doing television, and all of that isn’t just [to make money] but all of that is to be as comprehensive as possible.The idea of doing part of it on the big screen and part of it on television is to try to include absolutely as much of the books, and even the graphic novels, as possible.
So, at the very least, we can be reasonably sure he’s not going to half ass the story.