Shelved ‘Doctor Sleep’ Spinoff Included a Scene from ‘IT’

by | Mar 20, 2023

Director Mike Flanagan is preparing up for more Stephen King, with his dream project, an the adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower series. As things start to move ahead, we have leant a little more about the abandoned plans for a Doctor Sleep prequel, which would have included one of the most shocking moments from King’s novel IT, as well as his plans for the new Amazon Prime based show. 

In both The Shining and Doctor Sleep, Dick Hallorann appears as mentor and savior of Danny. Outside of those books, Hallorann also appear briefly in IT, where he is witness and survivor of the tragic fire at the The Black Spot. It’s during the fire, started by Legion of White Decency (the Maine equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan), that many people witness (and even carried away by) Pennywise The Clown who had taken the form of giant eagle. In a recent scriptapart podcast episode, Flanagan spoke about how the prequel show would have worked. 

“I had a great thing for the Dick Hallorann movie, which I was so excited about, which is him as a young man starting in Derry and had a little overlap with IT. Because in the canon, little Richie Halloran has an encounter with Pennywise as a young man. Then it was gonna be this whole other thing where he joins the army and ends up trying to work in law enforcement in New Orleans in a heavily segregated police department and is up against a kind of a cousin to the True Knot. A killer who is specifically targeting people who shine, and this big battle there.”

“He would win the battle but lose the war and lose the people that he cared about and ended up opting for a quieter life away from all of it and taking this job making meals at this hotel in Colorado. It was gonna be awesome. They’re gonna open with Carl Lumbly as Dick Halloran cleaning up the kitchen and getting ready for the winter because the winter caretaker and his family are due to arrive. They’re saying ‘You got to be ready to meet them and give them a tour”

“Then he goes up to Room 237 and has a weird thing with the bathtub and it flashes back to all the stuff in his life. Then at the end of the story we come back to him in the Overlook and they say the caretakers here. He’d come downstairs to meet them in the lobby and you think it’s the Torrance family, but it isn’t. It’s Delbert Grady and his twin daughters and his wife. And you realize you’re seeing the beginning of that story. On Monday they evaluated the box office performance and by Tuesday those spinoffs were dead. I understood why they they couldn’t proceed on those with with the box office that we did. It made sense. It was heartbreaking. It made sense. But yeah, that’s all kind of gone.”

Readers of the Dark Tower will know that this is not the only IT crossover in Kings metaverse, as a kissing cousin to Pennywise appears, a emotion sucking form that tries to drain Roland and his Ka-Tet. Flanagan certainly seems keen to include IT and potentially other characters from Kings works.

“There’s a character in The Dark Tower named Dandelo, who I think is a cousin of the True Knot, who’s this emotional vampire but who feeds on laughter instead of fear… But there’s room in that world for the True Knot themselves, there’s room for Rose The Hat. There might be room for Danny Torrance… there’s all kinds of stuff that could be amazing, if we’re able to get that property on its feet.”

This may be wishful thinking on Flanagan’s part, but he certainly has big plans for this second attempt at bring one of King’s biggest stories to our screens. Lets hope he follows the path and doesn’t try to shoot his guns off too soon, like the awful 2017 film, that tried to jam everything into one film. 

Flanagan seems hell bent on doing this adaption right and approaching the series in a much more favorable, and book accurate, way. If The Dark Tower is done right, this could blow open the world of Stephen King and possible set up a massive SK Multiverse that actually works (we are looking at you Castle Rock)!

It’s a super shame we never got the The Shining Sequel, but at least we’ll be getting Flanagan doing what he does best, making (and ripping off ) Stephen King. 

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