Out of all the failed movie adaptations, The Dark Tower was by far one of the worst since the story that Stephen King spent so long crafting was basically reduced to a two-hour blurb that took certain elements from the story and left everything else on the cutting room floor. The best possible representation that this series could have been given was to develop a TV series, not a limited series and not a miniseries, but an actual TV series, around the idea so that it could be allowed to expand in whatever direction it needed, and possibly even show Roland as a young man along with his friends, Cuthbert and Alain, who were prominently featured in the fourth book, Wizard and Glass. The story of Roland Deschain is such an epic tale that seeing it presented in the way that it was would have been like creating the Star Wars trilogy and lumping it all into one movie while eliminating several key elements that made it great. It’s been stated that were plans for a TV series, but it was canceled before anything could come of it.
For fans of the series, this was perhaps one of the last insults that really drove the point home that we weren’t going to get to see a worthy version of The Dark Tower for reasons that probably won’t be known unless someone wants to fess up and tell the truth. But there are reasons why this series would work as a TV show and it’s largely due to the fact that there’s so much going on in the books that trying to create a movie script that will capture as much as it needs to is insanely difficult since the first book alone could be the first season or two. The fact that Roland is chasing Marten, his father’s former advisor and magician, across a vast desert is one of the main points since Roland has been after Marten since he found the magician was having an affair with his mother.
The first book, The Gunslinger, is what one might think of as a hard-bitten western in a fantasy world not that much unlike our own, but set in a post-apocalyptic time since Roland’s world is dying slowly but surely as the Dark Tower, the linchpin of all existence is slowly crumbling. This is also a part of Roland’s mission, to reach the tower and try to set things right, and it’s because of this that he endures one adventure after another. In the first book, he’s seen to put his deadly skills as a gunslinger to use as he actually guns down an entire town’s worth of people that are set upon him by a religious nut job who he also ends before he moves on. From that point on, Roland eventually meets Jake, he lets Jake die, and eventually catches up with Marten as a part of his past is told and the story moves on after the ending. The second book, The Drawing of the Three, is a personal favorite since it introduces new characters and widens Roland’s world in a way that wasn’t fully expected as he has to draw forth the companions that he’ll take with him on the quest to the tower.
It’s hard to say where this story would begin since Roland’s younger years are rather momentous as well since shortly after he wins his guns at the age of 14, which is unheard of in his society, he and his friends Cuthbert and Alain are put to use in scouting the forces of his father’s enemies, a prospect that becomes extremely dangerous since the men they’re going to spy on are a little too smart and end up discovering their secret. It’s also a great explanation of why Roland is such a hardass in the story since he loses just about everything he loves at a very young age, and in an extremely tragic manner. But this story is made for a series since it has so much to tell of Roland, his friends, and the adventures they go on. While the reason for leaving it alone might be that there’s simply too much to it, that would be a rather lame reason to not do anything with the story.
There is a lot to this story, and the majority of it is insanely interesting, not to mention thrilling since Roland’s trek through a dying world is something that many adventure stories could find inspiration from. Not putting this story on TV is a bigger tragedy than the movie could ever be since whether they brought Idris Elba back as Roland, or they went with someone else, this story deserves its place on the small screen. Maybe one of these days someone with a bit of ambition and imagination will make it happen.