Glen Mazzara Discusses The Dark Tower Pilot, Series That Might've Been

Earlier this year, Amazon Studios passed on the series pilot for Stephen King's The Dark Tower series of novels, with Amazon executives reportedly not feeling it was as strong as other big-ticket pilots that were given greenlights like Wheel Of Time and The Lord Of the Rings. Developed by showrunner/executive producer Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Akiva Goldsman (Titans, Star Trek: Discovery) and King, Amazon's The Dark Tower television series was to be a more faithful retelling of the books than what was attempted cinematically.

Dark Tower
The cover to Stephen King's The Dark Tower I, courtesy of Grant.

The series was set to start years before the events from the film, focusing on Deschain's origin and backstory: from how he first earned his guns and became a gunslinger to his first encounter with the villainous The Man in Black. Sam Strike (Roland Deschain, aka The Gunslinger), Jasper Pääkkönen (The Man in Black aka Randall Flagg aka Marten Broadcloak), Game of Thrones' Jerome Flynn, and Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) were reportedly set to officially join the 13-episode series produced by Media Rights Capital (MRC). Recently, Mazzara was a guest on The Kingcast podcast where he offered listeners a glimpse into what the pilot would've brought to the screen:

"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. In the books, (Roland) gets his guns to kill Marten, and then Marten sort of disappears from the narrative. So (Roland) chases Marten across the desert and ended up in Hambry. He meets Susan," Mazzara explains. "In the pilot, it's the Feast of the Kissing Moon and she's being presented to the mayor and she meets Roland on the road. Roland goes into Traveler's Rest. He has the scene where the Big Coffin Hunters trip Sheemie, and Roland gets into a classic western stand-off. The ka-tet catches up and we have Cuthbert use the slingshot and he takes out one of the Big Coffin Hunters. They go into the square and as they're arguing, Roland explaining he's there to find and kill Marten, Susan grabs him and they dance. They actually dance to a Flogging Molly tune, which I love. The Big Coffin Hunters come in and are chasing him through the square, but Roland sees Marten, so everything all collides in the end."

If you're a fan of King's fantasy series, then definitely treat yourself to the podcast above. But in case you need more convincing, Mazzara also revealed what he was looking forward to adapting for the small screen the most: "I was really looking forward to Blaine. I had ideas for that. I was really looking forward to Callahan. In fact, I was hoping to take Callahan's backstory from the time that he leaves 'Salem's Lot to the time he ends up in Mid-World, I wanted to do that as its own mini-series. I didn't think you could fit that into The Dark Tower proper, so I wanted to split that off. I had plans to hire the best joke writers in Hollywood to write when Roland and Susannah meet Dandelo. I really wanted that to be laugh-out-loud funny. There were all these things I was jonesing to do."

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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