Mike Flanagan’s ‘The Dark Tower’: Everything To Know So Far About The Stephen King Adaptation Series (Update For May 2024)

Stephen King’s prolific run as a horror maestro includes regular commentary on what scares him onscreen. Lately, that has included Late Night With The Devil and Baby Reindeer (for very different reasons), but of course, adaptations of his own work will continue until humanity no longer exists, and there has been no shortage of attempts to properly adapt The Dark Tower book series.

As King’s “Constant Readers” already know, a disappointing 2017 effort (directed by Nikolaj Arce) starred Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. In 2020, a TV pilot also apparently did not work out when Amazon decided “nope” on agreeing to a series order. However, the project would be in good hands next time around, which will be no small feat, given the polarizing nature of King’s eight-novel (and a novella) saga even among his own readers.

The one and only Mike Flanagan happens to have recently wrapped up his time with Netflix for an Amazon TV deal. His legion of devotees is perhaps, despite the differing mediums of literature and TV, the closest contemporary counterpart to King’s own fanbase. Flanagan has already brought Gerald’s Game and (The Shining sequel) Doctor Sleep to audiences, so let’s mull over what we can expect from another meeting of their minds.


The history of The Dark Tower novel series happens to be as winding and troubled of a saga as efforts to give the fantasy/Western/sci-fi/horror epic saga a proper treatment. Stephen King did, after all, detail (in his On Writing memoir) how his completion of the series was interrupted (and, in a way, spurred on) by a horrendous collision with a car while he had been cycling. So perhaps a successful journey to the screen was meant to be peppered with bumps in the road, too.

Would Amazon take another swing at this saga? There has been zero confirmation on that front thus far, but Flanagan favorite Carla Gugino has admitted, “There has been a conversation about The Dark Tower,” and prior to Flanagan’s deal with the streamer coming together, he and Trevor Macy’s Intrepid Pictures did acquire rights to the book series. And earlier this year at Emerald City Comic Con, the ridiculously productive showrunner described a scene that he cannot wait to adapt:

“Very late in the story, there’s a scene that takes place in a forest where a character is being buried. And there’s a eulogy being given that made me cry the first time that I read it… [it] just kills me, and I can’t wait for that.”

Back in 2022, Flanagan even previewed his opening-shot vision with iconic words: “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” Clearly, it’s his long-running dream to give the post-apocalyptic gunslinger his proper due while he attempts to protect a tower (which is tied to multiple realities) from the antagonistic Man In Black (Walter Padick/Randall Flagg, who readers obviously also know from King’s The Stand).

With that said, Flanagan is currently working to finish another King adaptation, The Life Of Chuck movie, which could arrive in 2024. If The Dark Tower comes next, the showrunner has detailed how he already has “a pilot script I’m thrilled with and a very detailed outline for the first season and a broader outline for the subsequent seasons.” Beyond that, he would prefer five TV seasons and a few movies to give life to the full saga. Again, he cannot stop thinking about that opening quote:

“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.”

Is the cart ahead of the horse? Perhaps, but Flanagan recently insisted that The Dark Tower is what “I want to do the most.” He added, “I think it’s going to happen. I can’t say for certain, but we look good.” If there’s any hangup, however, that would be with what he acknowledges is Amazon’s possible “institutional PTSD” regarding the source material, but they are “very aware” of his aspirations in making the series. Let’s hope they allow him to fire away.


There shall be no appetite to see Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey reprise their performances as gunslinger Roland Deschain and the Man in Black, respectively speaking. Nor will Amazon be likely to want to revisit Sam Strike and Jasper Pääkkönen in those same roles after shelving that pilot.

Flanagan, does, however, have a rotating cast of frequent collaborators with whom he loves to work, was the case with Netflix’s Fall of the House of Usher, The Haunting of Hill House, and more. Those actors would presumably include Carla Gugino, Annabeth Gish, Rahul Kohli, Katie Parker, Samantha Sloyan, and/or Kate Siegel. Already, Flanagan favorite Henry Thomas has thrown his hat in the ring by declaring that he would “love to have a part in that.”

Psst. Hamish Linklater (of Midnight Mass) would make a fine Man in Black.

Release Date

If a prospective release window exists, nobody in the know is talking yet. Fingers are crossed, however, that Amazon will decide to roll the dice again now that they can take full advantage of their deal with Flanagan. Once the greenlight happens, it truly shouldn’t be long before he can whip out a first season because he stayed on a fairly consistent year-to-year release schedule between his various limited series on Netflix.


We cannot conjure up a trailer out of thin air, but until that happens, here’s a refresher of what Flanagan did with Gerald’s Game. Man, I hope Carla Gugino took a vacation after this shoot.