Not too long ago there were reports floating around that some corporate reshuffling over at NBCUniversal was probably going to lead to their gigantic Dark Tower project being cancelled. Originally, the Stephen King novels were set to be adapted into three feature films and two series of television specials by director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, but in trying economic times putting so many eggs into one risky basket started looking like not so great an idea. Or maybe it didn’t. In an interview with Inside Movies, Howard is saying that the project just got pushed back a bit, but it’s still going to happen.

He explains, “We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but Dark Tower is moving forward.”

So, at least according to the director, this project is still moving forward, but in what form? One thing that we can probably forget about is all of the casting rumors we’ve heard so far. Putting the project off makes it hard to predict whose schedule will be able to sync up with such an expansive project. Howard said, “We’re thinking of starting in early spring now. I can’t really say who’ll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We’ll know by the end of the summer… “

And what of the original plan to tell this story over both theatrically released features and television specials? Surely that part of the project is going to be at least scaled back, right? Howard doesn’t seem to think so. He adds, “There are elements of the Dark Tower saga that are more personal and can be best dealt with on television. TV allows you to roll out details of the characters in a more methodical way.”

I suppose this news can be taken in a number of ways. Fans who just want to see the series adapted can rejoice in the fact that it sounds like a big, sprawling take on the material is still going to happen. Those of us who aren’t too fond of the idea of Howard as the director can groan that he’s still attached to the project. And people who don’t read Stephen King can shrug their shoulders and say, “the dark what, now?”

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