*As most of you know, the trailer dropped for The Dark Tower yesterday and it’s… good? I think? Anyway, this seems like the perfect time to publish this post and get dem clicks, boy!
Greetings, Glancers! As most of the people who visit and comments on my humble page are movie fans and avid readers, I’m willing to bet a fair few of you are Constant Readers – Stephen King fans. Therefore I’m sure many of you will be aware of the many King works heading to screens big and small in the coming months and years. In my ‘last Dark Tower’ post a couple of years ago we knew that the series was finally being made but had no clue who was going to be involved. At the time of writing (started on 30th March 2017) we know that Idris Elba and Matthew McConnaghy will be fighting for Mid-World and more before the year is out. Viral sites have already been set up, the first official poster has been revealed, a pre-effects trailer has been leaked, and a lucky few have seen some final footage (including Uncle Stevie himself). Beyond that, the trailer for the new It movie has just dropped and a couple of months back King and JJ Abrams also gave us a teaser for a new TV show called Castle Rock which seems to focus on the many famous characters and stories which King has created over his life (something I predicted in my previous post). Neither of these works seem to tie in to The Dark Tower movie, but we might get lucky and get a few connections.
All this got me thinking about something I touched on in my last post – the wish for King’s major works (not just DT related) to be released in a similar way to how Marvel was doing things – with at least one major movie and TV show coming out each year until we were all sick of it. These are the things I dwell on when I can’t sleep and if I don’t write them I won’t sleep again, so I’m expanding on that premise for this post. Here is a suggested timeline for most of King’s books and how they should have tied together Marvel style – as always, there will be SPOILERS so tread carefully, especially for those who have not yet completed The Dark Tower series. Please note that I’m not going to cover everything here – that would take an age and this is already destined to be a long, rambling post. Almost every story King has written connects to others in some way so a few standalone TV series a la Castle Rock, Haven, Nightmares & Dreamscapes could fill in those blanks – hitting a variety of short stories while also connecting to the wider world of Derry, Castle Rock, Jerusalem’s Lot, and along the beam. Use your imagination.
We may as well start at the beginning (end?) of the Tower journey. The movie would obviously serve as an introduction to Roland’s quest as well as touching upon the critical ideas of the multiverse. The only problem I see here is that maybe you would want to start the whole franchise with a more well known story – The Stand, The Shining, or Salem’s Lot. Meh, put enough effort into the advertising and you’d be fine.
Best Suited As A: Movie
It isn’t a huge book and most of the major themes and plot elements could easily be covered in a two hour movie.
Major Crossovers/Cameos: The Dark Tower series, everything.
The Gunslinger obviously ties in with the rest of the Tower series but I don’t think this book specifically has characters or scenarios which link to books outside The Dark Tower. The most problematic piece of the puzzle is the aging of Jake Chambers – these movies are going to be years apart, yet Jake should only age a few months/couple of years over the course of the whole saga.
Sure we’ve already had two version of it already but at least now we can make it part of the expanded universe and set up for the Doctor Sleep sequel. The story is strong enough and has enough history to pull in the crowds. The only problem is that Kubrick’s movie is so damn iconic that any updated version would be compared, probably in an ill light.
Best Suited As A: Movie
Take the Kubrick style and visuals, yet follow the book’s plot more closely like the mini-series, but make it scary! And make it about a boy, a father, and a mother – not just about jack going crazy.
Major Crossovers/Cameos: Doctor Sleep, IT
The Shining has a sequel, Doctor Sleep, which is set around 30 years after. Naturally this causes a problem with casting for any ‘surviving’ characters who appear in both works. For Danny you would clearly need a new actor, but Dick Hallorann, Wendy, and Jack could all appear in the sequel with the same actor in each role. Hallorann is referenced in IT so why not have him cameo there. In the same vein, Hallorann could easily reference the events of IT in The Shining depends on how the time setting works. According to the books, Hallorann saved the life of Mike Hanlon’s dad meaning Mike would be born later and help bring down Pennywise. The childhood section of It could be set either before or after the events of The Shining with Dick referencing one while appearing in the other – a throwaway line about adults not being able to see monsters or little kids being able to see things which grownups cannot would go a long way for all us geeks.
We may as will move to this one now. The teaser trailer looks promising, so I’ll be in the Cinema checking that out in a few months.
Best Suited As A: Mini-Series
IT is huge. Sure they could strip away a lot of the frills and get down to the central story of ‘bad creature kills kids every thirty years in small town – only kids can see It and decide to fight back’ but that would be missing out on a lot of the lore, and the world King created. This would be an opportunity to begin tying together the various other worlds and stories. An eight hour mini series would be best, hell, even run that out to ten. Ten single hour episodes or four two hour shots would do nicely.
Major Crossovers/Cameos: The Dark Tower. 11/22/63. The Shining. Dreamcatcher. The Tommyknockers. Insomnia.
IT. Pennywise. A creature millions of years old which can seemingly travel between universes, IT is referenced in many other King books – more confusingly, creatures which share a lot of IT’s powers and trademarks show up elsewhere. The Dark Tower references could be confusing at this point so it would be better splitting the mini-series into two distinct parts – wait for the DT series to catch up a little before the second part of IT is released. Then all the allusions to Maturin and Turtles can be shown, subtly, and would make sense. For crossovers and cameos, the timing could be problematic given that King sets certain stories in a specific time – It features Derry in the 50s and 80s. That’s not a problem in itself as it would be easy to move each period forward a few decades to bring the story up to date for modern audiences. If you move it up to date though, you lose potential crossovers – in 11/22/63 for example Jake goes back to 1958 and meets Bev and Ritchie who discuss ‘The Clown’. We can’t really have Jake going to a different point in time. Having said that, we don’t always have to follow King so closely and the filmmakers can through in their own cameos and crossovers which don’t occur in the books. Between the release of the Childhood part of IT and the Adult part, drop some references in the other movies and shows which suggest Pennywise returning – news reports of missing kids in Derry, good old graffiti etc.
The Dead Zone
A good time to introduce Castle Rock to viewers, and a story which is ripe for retelling given the current political and social climate we find ourselves in. I haven’t watched a single episode of the TV series, but I do like the Cronenberg movie.
Best Suited As A: Movie
I’ve never felt that The Dead Zone was a good fit for the big screen, but with the right director this could be a potent and intelligent thriller, if not a commercial hit.
Major Crossovers/Cameos: Cujo. Needful Things. The Body. The Dark Half.
This is where things get difficult. People have always stated that King’s novels, especially the more horrific ones, don’t translate well to screen. That’s why I think the idea of the Castle Rock TV show(or something similar) is excellent – you can dip in and dip out of each story as the characters and events crossover. It’s difficult to see any of the above tie-ins to The Dead Zone working as standalone movies in today’s market, but even more so in imagining them as individual series. So I’ll leave it up to you – create a new show which links many of the novels and shorts related to Castle Rock together, or go for the movie option. Either way, if The Dead Zone is a movie, then we still have obvious crossovers – Sheriff Bannerman is a key player in TDZ and would still be Sheriff by the time Cujo emerged from the rabbit hole. Depending on when you set The Body (Stand By Me) Bannerman could be there as a younger actor, with the same actor in current time, or even replaced by Alan Pangborn. By the time later Castle Rock stories roll around, the references to TDZ would be minor, though certain foreshadowing of the later works could be added in TDZ – Pangborn as a younger cop, the town in need of a trinket’s shop, reports of rabid dogs, a local writer by the name of Thad Beaumont becoming successful etc.
The Drawing Of The Three
We never want to stray too far from the DT series so you want to make sure the release of each entry is not more than two years apart. Here the journey truly gets underway as we meet Detta and Eddie and learn about travelling between worlds.
Best Suited As A: Movie
Another epic, this one almost needs to be divided into two parts – how much can you really cover in a two hour movie while also getting to know the new characters? You could push it to three like LOTR but you’d need to confident in getting bums into cinema seats. Lets assume it’s going to be a major success and push for a longer run time – sorted.
Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT series, The Eyes Of The Dragon
Now that we have a few other films and shows under our belt, it’s time to really play with the multiverse. New York is important in the DT canon and in The Drawing of The Three we find out how doors between worlds work. In addition to New York, why not have a door to Derry – even one which takes us to the past so that Roland can briefly encounter some of our other characters/places? This might be too convoluted though – it might be easier for Eddie or Susannah/Odetta/Detta allude to events in movies we have already seen or some yet to be released. The main crossover is with The Eyes of The Dragon as Roland refers to Dennis, Thomas, and Flagg. There should probably be a scene – possibly post credits – which shows our good friend Flagg going through a door leading to a world investigating the first outbreaks of a superflu.
The Eyes Of The Dragon
A story which occurs in roughly the same place and time as the main DT series, this one was aimed at a younger audience but with the movie it could bridge the gap between adults and younger viewers being introduced to the whole King multiverse.
Best Suited As A: Movie
I don’t see enough interest in this to work as a TV series or even mini-series. If you go mini-series it would have to be only 2-3 parts and kept cheap. Go for the movie and you can expand upon the character of Flagg, the setting of In-World, and even give a more concrete ending.
Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT series
That concrete ending could of course link up to the events of Roland’s youth, with Flagg being defeated and angry and fleeing to Gilead for his next adventure – how about a scene with him seeing a baby Roland, or taking on the name Marten Broadcloak, or meeting with The Crimson King and discussing future plans?
This is as good a time as any to unleash the biggie. King’s biggest novel, we get to watch the destruction of the world in the ultimate battle between Good and Evil.
Best Suited As A: Mini Series
Like the Mick Garris version – one of my favourite movies/shows ever, this needs to be told over a period of several hours. There are so many characters and the scope is so huge that a single movie just doesn’t work.
Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT Series, Night Surf.
We learn more about Flagg here, but we need to be careful to focus on this being a standalone story. The actor playing Flagg is the same, but in each world he appears in he needs to adapt to the times, the customs, and fashions so his appearance in the ‘real world’ should be different from how he looks elsewhere – King sees him as a modern Texas cowboy, almost as if he is mocking Roland’s more antiquated look. Aside from Flagg, I would keep references to The Dark Tower to a minimum – the destruction of Earth is really just a little fun bit on the side for Flagg. There is of course evidence in the books that Flagg doesn’t always ‘remember’ the things he has done and places he has visited, suggesting that moving between worlds can be detrimental to one’s sanity. Then again, Flagg is ancient so it is same to assume he has been the architect of the downfall of many civilizations and people never mentioned in any King story. Another aspect to be careful about is cementing the understanding that the world of The Stand is not the same as the world of It or other works. How this is done could prove difficult – a simple solution of course may be Flagg enquiring about Derry or Castle Rock only to be told by a confused cohort that no such town exists in Maine. Maybe he’s friends with Leland Gault and finds out that he doesn’t exist on this level of The Tower and could remark as such with a throwaway line.
We should have some connection though – the obvious one being Night Surf. There are a lot of side stories in The Stand – characters who lived and died – no great loss. Night Surf is a standalone short set in the same world and time of The Stand and is interesting enough to include as part of the mini-series. We could change things up so that one of our characters from The Stand was present during the events of Night Surf before making it to Vegas or Hemingford Home. Actually, Hemingford Home crops (ha) up in Children of The Corn and ‘He Who Walks Behind The Rows’ is basically Flagg so we could have a potential crossover there… yeah, that’s a fantastic idea, lets go with that. So, either we have a Children of The Corn movie and brings some actors over from it to The Stand or vice versa, or we skip that movie and have some creepy kids joining Flagg in Vegas with them calling him ‘He Who Walks Behind The Rows’ or Flagg discussing how they took over a small town after the disease landed and killed any adults who passed through.
Wizard And Glass/DT Series
The book which fills in a lot of blanks in Roland’s past. And what is this – I’m releasing it before I’m releasing The Waste Lands? Madness!
Best Suited As A: TV Series
We have another choice – either allow this to be another movie – in which case it should come after The Waste Lands – or as a dedicated mini series which goes beyond the events told in the novel. The series should focus on Roland as an infant with Flagg, Farson, more history on Gunslingers, and take us through his childhood – events mentioned in The Gunslinger, events mentioned in the comics, through his relationship with Susan and the story of Wizard And Glass, as well as killing his own mother and on to Jericho Hill (where of course he lifts the Horn Of Eld). You know what – lets go all the way and throw in The Wind Through The Keyhole too. Given the amount of material to work with, I feel like this deserves to be a dedicated series, not a mere mini series. A full season of 12, or 16, or 22 episodes. Hell break it up into two seasons if you must. The series shows us how Roland came to be the man he is, what set him on his journey, we meet Cuthbert and his original Ka-tet, and we can finish on him as an adult setting out on the beam. And yes, we should also include The Little Sisters Of Eluria. That of course sets us up nicely with the introduction of vampires… For the sake of chronology, what the series should not show is the wraparound story of the actual novel – the conclusion of the Blaine story and the meeting of Flagg in The Emerald City – let’s save those for elsewhere.
Right, any more in a single post and I would be taking the piss. I think this is going to need a Part 2. Stick around for that and leave your thoughts and imaginings for a King Multiverse in the comments!