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Studio cancels plans for The Dark Tower adaptation

Back in May, we reported that Universal Pictures had put the pre-production team for The Dark Tower on hiatus due to concerns about the project’s rapidly ballooning budget. Now it looks like director-producer Ron Howard’s ambitious plans for adapting Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic tale might never see the light of day, as the studio has reportedly canceled the entire project.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a deadline to commit to the project came and went without the necessary approval, and Howard has already begun lining up the project that will replace The Dark Tower in his schedule. The report indicates that a message went out to everyone involved with the project — which would have taken the form of three feature-length movies and two television miniseries — that the financial requirements for such a plan just couldn’t be reconciled.

The Dark Tower was set to produced by Howard, Imagine Entertainment, and writer-producer Akiva Goldsmith, with No Country For Old Men actor Javier Bardem in talks for the lead role of Roland, a lone gunslinger pursuing a mysterious enemy across a dangerous wasteland. The seven-novel series was a blend of John Ford-style western and magic-fueled fantasy, and featured some of King’s characters from other novels in supporting roles.

The series has had almost as much trouble on its journey to the big screen as its protagonist has on his quest, as this is the second high-profile adaptation of the novels to fall by the wayside. Back in 2007, “Lost” creators J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse, and Damon Lindelof were attached to bring the story to theaters, but backed off a few years later due to the extensive commitment the project would require.

Given the high-profile nature of the novels, this probably won’t be the last we hear of a Dark Tower adaptation, but it could be a little while before there’s talk of Roland strapping on his big-screen guns again.