Steven Spielberg and the Duffer Brothers Will Take on Stephen King's The Talisman

Illustration for article titled Steven Spielberg and the Duffer Brothers Will Take on Stephen King's The Talisman
Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix (Getty Images)

After essentially creating a show made of pure Spielberg-King fanfic, Matt and Ross Duffer will go from honoring their heroes to working with them.


A project nearly 40 years in the making, the Duffers will team up with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television for a Netflix series (awkward) based on Stephen King’s The Talisman. This is huge for Talisman fans, who long thought the book far too sprawling to ever be a movie, but also for Spielberg himself who has held the rights to the novel since 1982 when they were purchased for him by Universal. For years he’s talked about it as a film, but with the Duffers and Netflix on board, the 900-plus page book will be the series the source material requires. Curtis Gwinn, a writer and producer on Stranger Things as well as shows like The Walking Dead and The Leftovers, will be the showrunner.

The Talisman is the perfect project for this specific set of people, following a 12-year-0ld boy who enters the Territories, a parallel universe that is a “flip” of the real world, all in search of a crystal called the Talisman in an attempt to save his dying mother. We got a kid on an adventure, we got parallel dimensions, we’ve got goshdamn werewolves. Inject it into my veins with a side of childhood malaise and probably a lot of wide-eyed tears. The book, co-written by King and Peter Straub, also has a sequel called Black House wherein our boy hero grows into a boy detective. Season two, it’s right there.

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The Talisman is interesting because it’s a blend of King and Straub’s styles (they would imitate each other in order to throw off readers trying to figure out who’d written which chapters), and also because it’s a dry run for the multiversal concepts King would explore in the later Dark Tower books. In fact, Black House is set within the Tower sequence, though arguably The Talisman contradicts quite a bit of the Dark Tower mythology. But hey, consistency was never King’s strong suit.

I have to assume that the Duffer Bros. will keep the early ‘80s setting, since that seems to be their bag, and also the novel would’ve been very different if Jack had carried a smartphone with him on his journey.