In The Dark Tower series, fans know “there are other worlds than these.” So maybe in one of those worlds, this holiday season, top 10 lists across the internet include The Dark Tower movie, and fans clamor for news on its sequel and speculation runs rampant of where the story goes next.
But in this world, the real world, Keystone World for fans, The Dark Tower movie bombed and found its way onto “worst” lists instead of “best” lists. It was a major disappointment to, well, everyone, but one man in particular above all else: Stephen King.
King, of course, wrote seven main volumes of The Dark Tower over the course of 20-plus years. It’s described as his “magnum opus” and filmmakers have been trying to make a movie for almost as long. Not just a movie, though, a franchise—and that was part of why King believes it failed.
In a great interview with Entertainment Weekly, King doesn’t shit on the movie. He says he really likes the people who made it, but he does understand why it wasn’t a success. It’s a two-headed beast.
The real problem, as far as I’m concerned is, they went in to this movie and I think this was a studio edict, pretty much, this is going to be a PG-13 movie. It’s going to be a tentpole movie. We want to make sure that we get people in there from the ages of, let’s say, 12 right on up to whatever the target age is. Let’s say 12 to 35. That’s what we want. So it has to be PG-13 and when they did that, I think that they lost a lot of the toughness of it and it became something where people went to it and said, Well yeah, but it’s really not anything that we haven’t seen before.
So it lacked the grit and originality of the books. But there was also the setup.
There was a decision made, too, to start it pretty much in the middle, and when they actually made the movie I had doubts about it from the beginning, and expressed them, and didn’t really get too far. Sometimes when people have made up their mind, the creative team that’s actually going to go and shoot the movie, it’s a little bit like hitting your fist against hard rubber, you know. There’s a kind of it doesn’t really hurt, but you don’t get anywhere. It just sort of bounces back and I thought to myself, Well, people are going to be really puzzled by this, and they were. So there was some of that problem, too.
Then, of course, there were tons of rumors about problems during production. Reshoots. Battles behind the scenes. All kinds of stuff that may or may not ever see the light of day. But, whether that’s true or not, you have to think these two issues were likely at the heart of it all.
Optimistically, King does say maybe one day someone will pick the books back up and give the project another crack—and there are still rumblings about a TV series, potentially. But, at the moment, this world at least is taking a break from The Dark Tower.