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March 12, 2019 at 03:19 PM EDT

For three-and-a-half decades, fans have heard rumblings and rumors about a movie version of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s fantasy epic The Talisman.

There have been many dead ends and false hopes, but today Amblin Partners tells EW it is finally happening. For real.

Outlander and The Handmaid’s Tale director Mike Barker has been hired to tell the story of a young boy named Jack Sawyer and his sprawling quest through a monstrous alternate dimension to find the mystical title object that can cure his dying mother. He might just save two worlds in the process.

Viking

Amblin and the Kennedy/Marshall Company are producing the film, and they have been involved in the project for decades. Chris Sparling (who wrote the claustrophobic Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried), will adapt the script. Jeff Sneider of Collider first broke the filmmaker news.

The journey from page to screen all started when Steven Spielberg became mesmerized by an early copy of the work-in-progress by King, who was then most famous for The Shining and The Stand, and Straub, best known for his novel Ghost Story.

He was so determined to adapt it that he got Universal Pictures to buy him the rights forever — not just an option to adapt, which would have expired after a few years.

“It’s something that I’ve wanted to see come to theaters for the last 35 years,” he told EW last year, while discussing his longtime desire to work on something with King. “I feel that in the very near future, that’s going to be our richest collaboration.”

Pocket Books

For a long time, Spielberg considered directing a film version of the 944-page novel, then he planned to only produce.

About a decade ago, Amblin developed it as a six-hour TNT miniseries, adapted by The Skeleton Key and new live-action Dumbo screenwriter Ehren Kruger. “At that time it was just too rich for TNT’s blood,” Spielberg said. “Then I pulled it back and decided to try to reconfigure it once again as a feature film.”

King and Straub got used to the stop-and-start nature of it. “Several times he came very close to making it, and there were a lot of discussions about that,” King told EW.

Now, at long last, Jack Sawyer’s journey seems to be destined for the screen.

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