Judging from Deadline's report, the only real differences between the new Sony, old Warner Bros. and even older Universal plans to bring Stephen King's The Dark Tower series to cinemas are that we're all now a few years older and fatter than when this all started, and that Ron Howard is no longer attached to direct. Those two facts may not be entirely unrelated. A primer for those who don't remember the last attempt to get these books on screen: Akiva Goldsman is producing and co-writing, there will be multiple films and a tie-in TV series that comes between them, Stephen King is keen to see it happen. There's no replacement for Howard as yet, and casting won't start until Sony book a director. Last time around, however, Javier Bardem and Russell Crowe were contenders for the lead role of The Gunslinger. I'm pretty sure the studios are overestimating the crossover appeal of The Dark Tower; these books won't give the films anything like the lift Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings got from Tolkien's original novels. And unless the first film turns out fantastically - and an Akiva Goldsman script makes me sceptical about this - then I wouldn't be surprised to see this grand project terminated part-way.