Stephen King Sci-Fi Thriller Finally Starting Production After Decades Of Failed Starts

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

Stephen King Netflix the long walk

The development should thrill horror fans and Stephen King devotees: after what feels like an endless litany of delays and false starts, production is slated to move forward on the much-hyped dystopian thriller by the maestro, The Long Walk. The production has been in development limbo for way too long, but we can count on acclaimed director Francis Lawrence to finally take it over the finish line. 

The Long Walk

Stephen King the long walk

Any Stephen King-head will tell you the novel providing the source material for the film was actually written by the author under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. It’s a harrowing tale set in an oddly believable dystopian future steeped in a militaristic society.

This culture, a quasi-Fascist version of the US, observes a yearly ritual: forcing 100 teenage boys to participate in an annual walking contest up an emptied highway traversing the East Coast. 

The contest’s rules in Stephen King’s The Long Walk are brutal, murderous, and simple—maintain a minimum walking speed of four miles per hour without stopping. If you fall below the speed limit three times, you are shot to death.

The last boy standing might win the coveted prize, but the price paid to achieve victory is unfathomable. 

Francis Lawrence

I Am Legend 2

Like many of King’s works, the novel fearlessly explores the darker side of human nature. Its themes and subject matter, the human cost of survival, the value of camaraderie, and the odd relatability of dystopian horror, foreshadow the success of future franchises like The Hunger Games.  

Which is why it’s so fantastic that Lawrence will be directing Stephen King’s The Long Walk, as the director is celebrated for his masterful of just that franchise, alongside I Am Legend—which, obviously, ranks highly in the pantheon of modern dystopian films.

He is the ideal fit for adapting King’s source material, translating the uber-intense and character-driven narrative of the novel to the big screen. Expect a convincingly dystopian world involving powerful performances. 

Lawrence’s Playground

Stephen King the long walk

Lawrence’s most recent title, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes cemented that he is a seasoned pro at depicting the dystopian, whether outright horror sci-fi like the zombie sequences in I Am Legend, or more middle brow, family friendly stuff at work in The Hunger Games. 

Simply put, genre of Stephen King’s The Long Walk is Lawrence’s playground, one in which his observable ability to handle complex yet bleak narratives is on full display.

And there’s nothing quite like the trial of human endurance and psychological tension stemming from the dystopian survival sub-genre, evidenced recently in Squid Game.


stephen king son of anarchy

While cast is undisclosed, production on the film is slated to begin in July.

First published in 1979, Stephen King’s The Long Walk may have needed to wait wait so long to be adapted–unlike much of the author’s work–because it received less credit than it deserved.

Archetype Storytelling

lord of the flies

It’s near-archetype of storytelling, likely inspired by classic novels like Lord of the Flies and The Most Dangerous Game

We can’t wait to see what this cinematic realization of King’s—sorry, Bachman’s novel—looks like. 

Source: Collider