This just in: Universal hates fans.

At the Mountains of Madness went from amazing and dense project that rewarded the fans and delivered a unique new IP into the marketplace to just another tale of Development Hell, one that kept Guillermo del Toro away from screens for even longer [luckily Pacific Rim looks like a GO picture and a delightful time for all involved].

Now The Dark Tower is dying. The Ron Howard/Javier Bardem massive multi-platform telling of Stephen King’s tales of the Gunslinger apparently just lost its home and sugar daddy.

So says Deadline’s excellent scribe Mike Fleming. Dig this:

This stunning development comes after Universal in May pushed plans to start production this summer on the first film. The studio claimed to be on track for a February, postponing to reduce the budget. This temporarily dispelled rumors that Universal was putting the project in turnaround, rumors that cropped up when the studio put workers on hiatus. But it was only a temporary respite. I’m told that this time, the studio reviewed Goldsman’s script for the first film and the first leg of the TV series, and would only commit to the single film. That wasn’t good enough for the filmmakers, who had already hired comic book and Heroes and Battlestar Galactica writer/producer Mark Verheiden to co-write the TV component with Goldsman, which was to be made for NBC Universal Television (studio insiders deny that the studio was only willing to make the movie and not the series). I know the filmmakers planned to make it all part of the first shoot while they had the cast in place and the sets erected. I’d heard back in May that Warner Bros–where Goldsman’s Weed Road is based and which is fully financing two installments of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit–was a possible landing place for the adaptation of King’s 7-novel epic that is that author’s answer to Tolkien’s LOTR novels.

Warner Bros. is a better home for the film(s) anyway. They have a history of carrying these big unwieldy projects to the finish line and though I don’t feel King’s series is even close to being as palatable and marketable as Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings it’s one of the few legit epic unfilmed projects. It sort of needs to happen, especially since there’s a large group of readers whose bucket lists heavily depend on this coming to fruition.

Plus, having Javier Bardem in such an iconic role can’t NOT happen. So I hope Mike Fleming’s right. Warner Bros. better snatch this up.