When I heard that J.J. Abrams was going to be in charge of The Dark Tower film series, I was ecstatic. LOST is my favorite, Fringe is amazing, the new Star Trek franchise finally brought it out of the basement dweller zone, and Cloverfield was fun enough.
Then he backed out saying that he wouldn’t be able to do the series justice with as much as he had on his plate, so he preferred to pass on the project until the studio could find someone who could. That’s entirely understandable; I respect that decision.
It turns out, the studio is now in discussions with Ron Howard for the role.
And I would prefer to never have a Dark Tower movie than have Opie at the helm.
I disagree almost completely with the creative team being put in charge of the product.
Now, Ron Howard has made some good movies: A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, and Willow come to mind. But for all those, there have been literary stinkers, too, like Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code.
Now, Howard isn’t the only one to blame for those fiascos. The screenwriter gets the blame for that, and lo and behold, Akiva Goldsman gets the nod for The Dark Tower script despite proving through his Dan Brown scripts that he has no idea how to effectively adapt a complex plot for the silver screen.
A Trilogy? What?
Yes, you read that right. A trilogy. For seven books.
It will be impossible for them to fit all seven books into anything but a severely abridged, incomprehensible movie trilogy, which (astonishingly) the team seems to have realized. Because they are then going to continue the franchise as an ongoing television series to be transitioned into after the movies. Here’s praying for a premium network like HBO to pick it up. If this goes network, we can forget right now about ever seeing it through to the end.
Moving to TV presents its own set of challenges: pacing the narrative, finding an audience, and getting ratings enough to even finish the run. Will the same actors then move to the small screen? The production crew?
And what about the story? Will Howard and Goldsman squeeze that severely abridged story into 3 movies and then opt for after-hours storytelling in the TV show? Or will this be the second-half of the narrative, just being told in a different medium?
We just don’t know right now. And as a huge fan of the literature, that frightens me. Normally, I love to see my favorite works adapted into movies, TV, and games. But this time, I don’t see how the transition is going to do anything but doom the franchise into visual media hell.
Time will tell, though. Maybe Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman will surprise me. I hope they do. What are your thoughts on this announcement?