Some early concept art for Ron Howard's Dark Tower movie/TV adaptation has surfaced on the net. Its unpolished appearance, not to mention the deviations it makes from some readers' preconceptions of what the design of locations should be, has led to inevitable controversy. The fact that this has surfaced at all has caused fans to speculate that the project has been completely shelved, though recent comments from Howard would indicate that it has just been temporarily mothballed until further negotiations take place. Stephen King has also spoken about the adaptation recently, stating that he was absolutely behind Howard's vision, and that his idea was to have the films cover the events that occur with adult Roland and his ka-tet (posse, for non-readers) from 20th century New York, while the two seasons of TV show would cover all the flashbacks to Roland's youth. This is the first time I recall reading exactly how the film/TV structure was going to work, and I have to say it makes a lot of sense to do it that way.
As for the pictures, well, they have a decidedly unprofessional look, but I suppose they are a few years old now and were just the initial prototypes that were made. Here's a couple of examples (spoilers from the books are only minor):Tull (Book 1, The Gunslinger)
I approve of this. Although I've seen fans complaining that it doesn't look as "Wild West" as they were hoping, I rather like the post-apocalyptic, decayed-modern look. It seems appropriate to envisage Tull as such seeing as across the desert is a dilapidated alternate universe version of New York. A huge theme of the books is that it's set in a universe where things on Earth are falling apart, and this reflects that.The Speaking Ring (book 1, The Gunslinger)
This looks appropriately creep-tastic. Again, there's certainly the feel of a world that's gone to the dogs.The Manni village (book 5, The Wolves of the Calla)
The two obvious HUGE controversies here are that Suzanne is walking, with legs (she has lost both her lower legs in an accident in the books, and uses a wheelchair), and that there is no Oy (their pet/companion, a small, hyper-intelligent mammal that doesn't exist on our Earth). I can only assume that if these WERE changes that they were considering making for the films, then it was because of budgeting constraints. But it would have pissed a LOT of people off. Surely a reasonable compromise would have been to have Suzanne be wheelchair bound because of a spinal injury, if they really couldn't find a way to use special effects to hide an actress's legs? Or couldn't they cast an actual amputee?! The fact that she appears to be styled in a 1970s fashion is also worrying, since a huge part of her character is that she is a civil rights activist who has experienced extreme racism in the 1950s/early 60s. Also, it's a very relevant part of her relationship with Eddie that she is from a different time period (and universe) to him, so in the "real" world their relationship could never exist.
I'm also perplexed about why there is a large city visible in the background - this scene takes place near Calla Bryn Sturgis, a small rural town, and there's no city near there as far as I remember. Unless the picture has been labelled incorrectly and this is actually the village that they encounter on the way to the city of Ludd, which would make more sense. But that would be in the desert...
Anyway, the Manni are supposedly like the Amish, so I don't really think the representation of their homes makes sense - not to mention they look really impractical.Devar Toi (book 7, The Dark Tower)
This looks like it was knocked together in five minutes on an Amiga 500 in the mid-1990s. On the other hand, it does at least conform to expectation in regard to the descriptions of this location in the book.
Overall, these pictures don't exactly inspire confidence in the proposed adaptation, but on the other hand they are early drafts and aren't necessarily representative of the final product. I suppose that one can't make assumptions based on any of this evidence - for one, Oy's absence in the illustrations doesn't mean that he won't be in the films, just that they perhaps haven't come to a decision regarding his design just yet.
You can see all the pictures here:http://io9.com/concept-art-gives-us-our-first-look-at-ron-howards-trou-1596506901