Showrunner Glen Mazzara discusses scrapped Dark Tower TV series

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

The recently launched podcast The Kingcast, which is dedicated to the works of Stephen King, has gotten off to a very interesting start. So far they've had Kumail Nanjiani on to do a deep dive into THE RUNNING MAN with them, and TRICK 'R TREAT director Michael Dougherty stopped by to discuss SILVER BULLET and its source material, Cycle of the Werewolf. For the fourth episode, they had on former Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara, who was there to discuss the Dark Tower television series that Amazon turned down at the beginning of this year.

Mazzara was the showrunner on The Dark Tower, which had Sam Strike on board to play Roland, Jasper Pääkkönen cast as The Man in Black, Elaine Cassidy as Roland's mother Gabrielle, and Michael Rooker in an unspecified role. The pilot was directed by Stephen Hopkins. This adaptation would have been separate from the feature film THE DARK TOWER that was released in 2017.

Speaking with The Kingcast, Mazzara confirmed that the first season of the show was going to be based on the prequel story Wizard and Glass, which was the fourth book to be published in the series. Then the second season would have drawn from The Wind Through the Keyhole, which was the eighth book in the series but tells a story that picks up from the events of Wizard and Glass. The show wouldn't have caught up to the story of the first book, The Gunslinger, until season 3, at which time Strike would have been replaced by an older actor.

Here's how Mazzara described it, as transcribed by Slash Film: 

The story of the pilot is basically Roland in the desert. The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. In this version he’s chasing Marten because Marten was with Gabrielle [Roland’s mother] and he’s vowed his revenge.

(From there, the TV show would have Roland encountering Susan Delgado, the woman he falls in love with.)

If season 1 ended with the death of Susan… in Wizard and Glass very quickly you go from the death of Susan to the death of Gabrielle, [Roland’s] mother. I felt that I needed a season to give me real estate so that Gabrielle’s death didn’t step on Susan’s and that it felt like an escalation. Roland fails to save Susan, but he actually shoots and kills his mother. In the book, Gabrielle is not really a detailed character in a way that, say, Susan is… Gabrielle is really not fleshed out. She just doesn’t have as many pages attributed to her. I love that character. The actress we had for her was Elaine Cassidy, a fantastic Irish actress, and she did a really great job. So for season 2… [we were] maybe going to use the shapeshifter story [from Wind Through the Keyhole] as part of season 2 and get to the death of Gabrielle and either the fall of Gilead there or the fall of Gilead would be the season three premiere."

Mazzara said the plan for the TV show was to lay out the entire epic story that King had told through his novels, and the rule with the writers was that they would try their best to include every important event from the books in the show.

I was never fully convinced that the Dark Tower saga needed an adaptation, but if one were to happen it sounds like Mazzara's show was going to take the right approach to it, which is to stay as faithful to the source material as possible. It's unfortunate that Amazon didn't want to give it a chance.

Source: SlashFilm, The Kingcast

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.