Dark Tower Concept Artwork Revealed

June 26, 2014

in Artwork, Video Clips

Universal Concept Artwork

Yesterday, while over on the Comic Book Movie website, I came across an interesting article regarding the release of some Dark Tower concept artwork by illustrator Gregory Hill (who previously worked on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″).

Hill was working with Ron Howard for several months during the Universal phase before the project was shut down, and he recently updated his portfolio with eight pieces of concept art along with a couple of fly-through videos of a computer generated Tull.

I was hired as head illustrator for the New York art department for the feature film THE DARK TOWER/THE GUNSLINGER. It was one of the most interesting jobs I’ve had and looked to be a great film… then Universal shut us down. Oh well…. — Gregory Hill

Here’s my favorite image from the collection; The images include; Devar Toi, Tull (#1), The Dogan, The Manni Village, A Harrier Near The Speaking Ring, The Thinny (shown above), Tull (#2), and The Speaking Ring. All the images can be viewed on Hill’s portfolio.

UPDATE: Gregory has now made that part of his portfolio private. Perhaps Ron Howard or Universal asked him to make that change, but that’s just speculation. In the comments section below, LMM has instructions on how to view the images via the Google caching system.

UPDATE #2: Greg left a comment letting us know that he’s made his DT gallery public again. Hopefully it will stay that way! I’ve also updated the above link, so you can now just click on that to view the images.

There’s also two videos featuring a look at the town of Tull. Both are basically the same, though the second one travels through the town a little more slowly, and shows the town from a higher vantage point at the start.

In truth, I have mixed feelings about this artwork (Devar Toi is certainly not the image I have in my head!), but then we shouldn’t forget that this is just concept art, and as with all work of this type, it doesn’t mean it would have been chosen for the basis of the actual movies.

Now that these images are out on the web, perhaps Ron Howard will step up and comment on them; maybe even drop a few hints on the current status of the movies. We can but hope!

Ken Davidson June 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

Please, please, please make these movies. They are the best books I have ever read. They have have so much potential in the hands of the right director. Whoever makes these films please be as true to the books as you can. This is one of the best stories ever told. It has a place in history with Tolkien.

Thorsten June 27, 2014 at 2:34 am

The link to the gallery does not work anymore. It is set to private now…

Michael June 27, 2014 at 7:04 am

@Thorsten, it seems Gregory moved the images from a DT specific gallery to his personal one. I’ve now update the link.

Nick July 3, 2014 at 11:12 pm

That Tull concept art tour shows paper on the walls of the buildings. I thought paper was rare in Tull… am I being too nitpicky?

Static July 4, 2014 at 6:59 am

Ugh. Oh well. Guess any press is better than none and at least TDT is still being mentioned. #Avidreader

LMM July 5, 2014 at 2:53 am

The link goes to a personal art page that has no DT art at all now. I had to go to the “forbidden” pagem copy the link, paste it into Google, and click the “cached” version to see it.

Michael July 5, 2014 at 6:55 am

Thanks for the update LMM. I’ve updated the link and made a comment on the post.

It is also possible to just use the search feature on Hill’s portfolio site; Type the image title into the box in the top-right (ex. “dogan”) and it will let you view the images!!

Rhys July 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Film company’s should stop making rubbish remakes and reboots and invest in something fresh and new! These books deserve the big screen treatment, awesome series best I’ve ever read. These books need to be made into films but like Ken said please stay true to the books! Most Stephen King adaptations fall short due to irrelevant changes in the plot. Viggo Mortensen for Roland!

Raven July 22, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I am trying to figure out more words to type into the search. Very frustrating LOL!

Raven July 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Tull is one! You get two pics!

Peter July 25, 2014 at 12:35 am

Lol. THIS IS FAKE. Tull is nothing like this! Where’s the saloon? This looks like new York city with some sand blown in…ha ha ha those buildings are like apartment buildings….Tull was an old fashioned place….You guys are being fooled…hahahaha

clayton August 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I have read the series 2 times and loved it as much the second as the first. I believe the movies could rival The Lord of the Rings. Why oh why can’t they get this deal done.

Mas August 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I guess superheroes sells now days, and if they make these movie please let them be as good as LOTR beacuse the books deserved.

Bill August 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Peter Jackson is the one man who could do this properly in my opinion. How do we get Stephen and Peter together?

Matt August 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Viggo for Roland definitely
Robert Pastorelli for Eddie

Maestro208 September 8, 2014 at 8:24 pm

@Matt: Robert Pastorelli passed away in 2004.

The role of Eddie should definitely go to Aaron Paul, plus he WANTS to play him (which is too perfect). In my opinion, that would be a slam dunk.

LD & PN

megadev September 15, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Robert Pastorelli?! Even if he was still alive, he’d be 60 years old! I’ve seen some crazy suggestions for these roles, but this one wins the grand prize. Wait no. On second thought, somebody did suggest Justin Bieber as Jake.

Ryan September 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

The images aren’t private anymore, and be found here (also it’s my “website” link):
http://gregoryhilldesign.photoshelter.com/gallery/The-Dark-Tower/G0000a_ADBTny578/C0000K0HxvBNelsQ

Obviously, the accuracy of the images are questionable, given that Susannahh has legs.

Michael September 18, 2014 at 7:08 am

Thanks for the update Greg…and great to see the gallery is public again!

Paul September 28, 2014 at 10:11 am

I’ve been re-reading the series thinking about how they would be adapted for film. There are some serious problems, I think. First is handling the back-story of Roland’s coming of age. King spends long sections describing these episodes (Wizard and Glass, for instance is almost entirely back-story). While this works in novel form, I don’t know that it would translate well to the screen without screwing up the narrative flow. Another issue with the novels, beginning with Wolves of the Calla, is that a lot of the story (particularly with Susannah/Mia and to a certain extent Jake) takes place within the characters’ heads. Again, this works alright in text, but I’m having trouble picturing it on film without it looking completely hokey.

Apart from the story itself, I think the idea of doing movies and TV is stupid. They should just pick one and go with it. Personally, I think the series would be served best as an adult-oriented anime series. This would solve the problem of aging child-actors, Oy, and a number of other ‘unrealistic’ elements that you can get away with in animated form but would look ridiculous in live-action (and cheesy CGI).

Also, for the love of all that is good and decent, dump Russel Crowe from the role of Roland. He’d probably be better cast as a ‘Big Coffin Hunter’ but that’s it. Roland should be older, and more rugged looking. Though, if you animate him, you can draw him however you like, and then it’s just a matter of finding the right voice. Seeing as Aaron Paul is considering the role of Eddie, I think Bryan Cranston would make a better Roland than Crowe.

Skuzelbutt October 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Viggo for Roland is a decent choice, but for my hard earned money I believe Daniel Day Lewis would be absolutely perfect

Valentin October 26, 2014 at 4:00 am

What about Williem Dafoe as Roland?
I think that would be perfect.

lokifan November 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm

yes, please get Mr. King and Mr. Jackson together!!!! If you have seen the latest Hobbit trailer, you will know that there is no other choice.

caldak November 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Russell Crowe as the Gunslinger? Not! ANSON MOUNT from Hell on Wheels. He’s the one!

Clara Bush December 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Definite on Anson!

Michael, thank you for the information. I was in The DARK—so to speak—I didn’t know Universal had shut down the project in 2011.

I was researching for my blog today and ran across yours. I provided a link to yours from mine.

Great information. Loved seeing Hill’s concept art. I hope the project is revived. I’ll stay tuned to your blog to keep up to date.

CUTHBERT ALLGOOD December 17, 2014 at 12:01 am

That isn’t the image that I have of Tull, but with that said, I am glad that there is progress being made.
CAM-A-CAMMAL, PRIA-TOI, GAN DELAH!

Long Days And Pleasant Nights fellow DT Junkies!

CUTHBERT ALLGOOD December 17, 2014 at 12:12 am

Gregory Hill’s Budweiser Tiny Dancer Commercial illustrations is how I picture what Tull SHOULD look like. What you have to remember is that Roland’s world is very much like what our old west WAS, with SOME reminisce of our world now.

CAM-A-CAMMAL, PRIA-TOI, GAN DELAH!
Long Days And Pleasant Nights fellow DT Junkies!

theCaptain January 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm

In my opinion, I think this series would be best adapted as a tv series. Something aon the same lines as game of thrones. A premium channel like HBO could afford the budget and actors the show would deserve. However, I would love to see Netflix pick up the rights and run with this.
Think about a 7-10 episode season for every book with each episode having a 50 minute runtime! And Netflix seems to have access the directors and casting directors to make something like this work. I mean look at the quality and caliber of the actors in house of cards and orange is the new black.

Clair Perera January 14, 2015 at 7:13 am

Film studios are idiots. Reboots remakes, superheros and Pixar-type stuff. Boring. I haven’t been to the cinema since the last Harry Potter movie. It’s about time they took a risk and invested in all the fab literature out there, first of all these amazing Dark Tower books. Television is much superior in terms if storytelling these days, ansd as Stephen King would say, it’s all about a good story. And yes, Viggo for Roland, Jackson to direct would be the perfect scenario.

Bryce G. March 13, 2015 at 11:56 am

I have read the Dark Tower novels, and personally think it would make an excellent TV Series. I know all of you probably disagree with me on this, and want there to be 7 movies, but that is flat out IMPOSSIBLE. And there is one reason: Jake. Jake is in books 1, 3-7, and stays at the age of 12 the entire journey. If King wanted Jake to not age in this, then he would be most certain that a 10 year movie franchise wouldn’t work. That’s why I say a 2-3 season series would be perfect. A total of 30 episodes, and guess what. That means 30 hours of the Dark Tower, rather than a total 15-20 hour movie saga. And Jake would only age maybe a year, and that’s no big deal. I have a few casting ideas as well. And I loved Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad, but he wouldn’t make a good Eddie, other than playing a druggie, there’s not much he can fit for a good role, because Eddie is only a heroin addict for book 2.

Here’s some casting recommendations:

Roland- Viggo Mortensen (plays a good ranger in LOTR)
Eddie- Joseph Gordan Levitt?(you need someone who’s in his 30s)
Susannah- idk (someone who can act a good personality disorder)
Jake- some devoted kid, who’s a good actor (age 11/12)
Oy- Andy Serkis (CGI)

Everyone else doesn’t have a major role, and could be easily acted by a committed actor. I say this adaption show be on HBO or AMC, each episode could be an hour. I absolutely loved the novels (these books have their own shelf in my house), and I hope for these “up there with LOTR and GoT” novels to reach popularity.

Also wouldn’t it be nice for this show to air on September 9th, 2019 (9/9/19).

Thankee sais for reading me blog, goodbye yee humbugs, may Ka be with yee!

blaine the mono December 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm

I have read the series going on my fourth time. and most of the books that tie into the dark tower, which are many by the way. for a long time I have waited for someone to see the genius and make feature films from it. (DONT MESS IT UP PLEASE) for roland I think timothy olyphant would be convincing. for the man in black johnny depp. as long as the books are portrayed correct the actors are an after thought for me… cant wait!

mach February 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Too bad they cant CGI Clint Eastwood from his 30’s or High plains drifter days, hands down perfect Roland. I think roland to be tall, lanky and thin faced dark hair so what about Thomas Gibson (criminal minds)? I know hes not a blockbuster pick but neither was Mark Hamill and can you imagine anyone else being Luke ? nope.