Abandoned 'Dark Tower' TV Series Showrunner Glen Mazzara Shares What Could Have Been

At this point, it's probably time to admit that Stephen King's Dark Tower series just isn't adaptable to the screen, big or small. After years of development, we were cursed with a lackluster movie adaptation that failed to capitalize on much of the mythology and world-building fans of the book crave. After the movie's failure, there was some hope that a Dark Tower TV series might set things right. Amazon bought the rights to the series, and The Walking Dead's Glen Mazzara was hired as showrunner. But ultimately, Amazon passed on the show. In a new podcast interview, Mazzara opens up about the plans for the now-abandoned Dark Tower TV series.

During an appearance on The Kingcast, Glen Mazzara told hosts Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler about some of the plans for the now-dead Dark Tower Amazon series. The original plan for the show was to provide backstory for the film adaptation, focusing on elements that didn't make their way into the 2017 movie. But then the movie bombed, and the Dark Tower TV series was faced with a choice: change things up and not worry about all that backstory, or stick with the original plan.

"When we realized that the franchise was not viable, or not going to continue, we decided we could now lay out the entire epic," Mazzara says in the interview. "Now we had a choice: do we go back and start with The Gunslinger? Do you start and tell the story in a linear way and then interrupt that narrative and have this large cutaway in your season 4 or season 5 to Wizard and Glass? That's a viable option."

Ultimately, Mazzara says they stuck with the original idea – having the TV series not pick up with book 1, The Gunslinger, but rather book 4, Wizard and GlassWizard and Glass is primarily told in flashbacks, and fills readers in on the tragic backstory of main character Roland Deschain. This means the show would've initially kicked-off with a younger Roland and eventually work its way through his tale, leading up to his quest for the Dark Tower and the Man in Black, aka Marten Broadcloak. "The story of the pilot is basically Roland in the desert," Mazzar goes on to say. "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. In this version he's chasing Marten because Marten was with Gabrielle [Roland's mother] and he's vowed his revenge."

From there, the TV show would have Roland encountering Susan Delgado, the woman he falls in love with. From there, Mazzara revealed some of his plans for the first few seasons of the series:

"If season 1 ended with the death of Susan...in Wizard and Glass very quickly you go from the death of Susan to the death of Gabrielle, [Roland's] mother. I felt that I needed a season to give me real estate so that Gabrielle's death didn't step on Susan's and that it felt like an escalation. Roland fails to save Susan, but he actually shoots and kills his mother. In the book, Gabrielle is not really a detailed character in a way that, say, Susan is...Gabrielle is really not fleshed out. She just doesn't have as many pages attributed to her. I love that character. The actress we had for her was Elaine Cassidy, a fantastic Irish actress, and she did a really great job. So for season 2...[we were] maybe going to use the shapeshifter story [from Wind Through the Keyhole] as part of season 2 and get to the death of Gabrielle and either the fall of Gilead there or the fall of Gilead would be the season three premiere."

Mazzara adds that at that point, the plan was to switch actors from the younger Roland to the older, adult Roland. At that point, season 3 would start delving into the events from the first book in the series, The Gunslinger. Elsewhere in the interview, Mazzara talks about remaining true to the books, stating: "I had a rule with the writers that if something was really, really important that we were going to try to make canon work."

But alas, none of this came to be. I know there are plenty of Dark Tower fans jonesing for a new adaptation, be it on the big or small screen, but I remain convinced that King's series is too weird to bring to mainstream audiences. Sure, there have been fantasy epics adapted to the screen before, but King's Dark Tower requires so much exposition to set up its weird rules that it all seems untenable.

You can listen to the entire interview at the link above.