'The Dark Tower' TV Series Plans Unveiled, Idris Elba To Return As Roland The Gunslinger

Even by fantasy franchise standards, MRC's adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower looks pretty damn ambitious. Next year brings the much-anticipated movie starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, but that's just the first piece in the puzzle. Also in the works is a companion TV series that'll fill in some of the the universe's intricate backstory. Elba will reprise his role for the show, as will his Dark Tower movie co-star Tom Taylor. But the project is also looking to cast a younger actor who can play the teenage version of Elba's character. 

Dark Tower TV series has been part of the plans for the adaptation from the beginning, but in recent months our focus has mostly been on the impending Dark Tower movie directed by Nikolaj Arcel. Today, Entertainment Weekly reports The Dark Tower show will shoot in 2017, with the aim of premiering in 2018. The project is looking for a cable or streaming platform, but in the meantime will move forward without a distributor. MRC has already committed to producing a full run of about 10-13 episodes.

Akiva Goldsman, who executive produced and co-wrote the Dark Tower movie, will serve as executive producer on the TV series, along with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (through Imagine Entertainment) and Jeff Pinkner. Arcel will pen the script with Anders Thomas Jensen. No showrunner has been announced. Elba, who plays the gunslinger Roland Deschain, and Taylor, who plays the boy Jake Chambers, will appear in the TV series' framing device. McConaughey, who plays the semi-immortal antagonist called the Man in Black, may or may not be involved. None of the new roles for the show have been cast.

The central narrative will concern Roland's younger years growing up in Gilead. As revealed in the first book of the series, The Gunslinger, Roland had an early encounter with the Man in Black. Then known as Marten, advisor to the ruler of Gilead (who just so happens to be Roland's father), the Man in Black tried to manipulate the young Roland into destroying himself. But the bulk of the show will focus on Roland's origins as told in Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in the series. The novel has Roland telling Jake and the rest of his ka-tet (group of people brought together by fate) about a mission he went on in his youth to a distant seaside kingdom known as the Barony of Mejis. Among other things, the story reveals how Roland fell for his first love, Susan Delgado, and nearly tore apart his original ka-tet including his friends Alain Johns and Cuthbert Allgood.

The Dark Tower TV series is described as Game of Thrones-level dark, Goldsman says it won't be devoid of hope. "In the movie, Roland is suffering tremendous loss. The most concrete, personal, existential heartbreak a character can have," he told the publication. "If the movie chronicles his final reach toward hope again, the TV show is the loss of that hope." And unlike the film, which mixes and matches plot elements from throughout the book series, the show will be a more straightforward adaptation. "This one has much more fidelity to the story as King wrote it," promised Goldsman.

For much more on The Dark Tower TV series, including what exactly this map means, click over to Entertainment Weekly.

Dark Tower tv series map