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Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ is (finally) coming to the big screen

Fans of Stephen King’s epic novel series The Dark Tower have good reason to be cautiously optimistic, as the saga will finally be making its way to the big screen.

According to Deadline, Sony Pictures and MRC studios will team up to produce the franchise, which spans eight books over several decades, marking the longest running series from one of the most prolific novelists in modern history. The series will reportedly play out as both a movie franchise, and a complementary TV series, though exactly how that will work out in practice is as yet unclear.

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The original story follows gritty gunslinger Roland Deschain, a cowboy/knight who is the last of his order, through a winding chain of adventures in a far-off realm that’s part horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and western — not a bad mix when you’re talking about appeasing movie and TV audiences.

Deadline reports that a script co-written by Akiva Goldsmen and Jeff Pinker is in play, based on the first book in the series of novels, The Gunslinger. Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard and Brian Glazer will help produce, along with Goldsmen’s Weed Road production company, and it is expected that, as per usual, Mr. King himself will play a part in producing the series as well.

Top actors in the mix to play the lead role so far include Javier Bardem and Russell Crowe, but no casting has been settled as of yet, nor has the team chosen a director for what could spawn a marathon run of titles should the series gain traction with audiences.

It’s been a long road for The Dark Tower series to make its way off the page and in front of the camera. Originally slated to become an HBO series, the script has been rewritten several times, plucked most recently by Sony from Warner Brothers, after spending time at Universal Pictures.

“I’m excited that The Dark Tower is finally going to appear on the screen,” Stephen King said in a statement. “This is a brilliant and creative approach to my books.”

Every big Hollywood studio needs a franchise these days, with the likes of Disney and Warner Brothers each digging deep into comic books, as well as mining cinematic universes from the likes of Star Wars and Harry Potter respectively. With The Dark Tower, Sony has acquired a ready-made universe of deep proportions spanning thousands of pages, including a prequel series of comic books.

The film is slated to be fast-tracked, and with any luck for fans of the series, the production will finally provide a visual embodiment of King’s deepest storyline worthy of its stature.