It was almost five months ago that we first reported the heartbreaking news that the film rights to Stephen King’s epic seven book series, The Dark Tower, had slipped into the hands of pure evil mediocrity. The details hadn’t been worked out yet, but the core piece of information was Ron Howard and Akiva ‘The Hack’ Goldsman being named as director and screenwriter for the feature film adaptations.

We followed this news a few days later with our list of twelve writers and directors far better suited for the material. Not surprisingly, our voices were ignored and Hollywood chose to stick with the Howard/Goldsman team. And while that news still sucks we can’t help but be intrigued, interested, and possibly even impressed with the just revealed details of that arrangement.

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is coming to the big screen… and the small screen. Before returning to the big screen. Then back to the small screen… then, well, you get the idea.

Deadline has revealed the first details of Universal Pictures’ plans for The Dark Tower, and it involves three movies and (apparently) two seasons of television on NBC. Movie>TV series>movie>TV series>movie. Howard has committed to directing both the first feature and the first season of the series, and Goldsman has done the same on the writing front.

I’m no friend to Howard and Goldsman, but I’m a big fan of this news purely out of respect for the creative ambition on display. There are a few issues left up in the air though. If the first movie bombs will NBC keep the series? If that first season bombs will they stick through to the end of the season? And how about casting? The big question, as always, is who will play Roland the Gunslinger. It needs to be a big enough name to carry that first film, but it also has to be someone willing to slum on network TV for a season or two. And that goes for the rest of the cast as well.

It’s unprecedented, it’s risky, and it’s ballsy as hell. The names involved still make my anus cry tears of sadness, but the over-arching plan for bringing the seven books to the screen is fairly brilliant. The ideal would obviously have been a commitment to seven feature films, but in lieu of that Holy Grail this new plan is the next best thing. There are still lots of details that need to fall into place here, but color me cautiously optimistic at this point. This could either be the start of something incredible, or it just may end up one of the biggest creative and financial duds of the decade.

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