The actor was reportedly locked into the role of Roland Deschain in both the first film and the planned television series last month.
Howard revealed to Entertainment Weekly that shooting has been delayed until at least next year because of budget and scripting issues.
He said: "I can't really say who'll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest.
"We'll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid."
Established actors including Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Viggo Mortensen had previously been linked with the role of Deschain.
Universal reported earlier in the month that it was having problems financing the production plans. The project had been due to begin production in September for a 2013 launch.
Bardem is currently shooting Terence Malick's next film, which is untitled at present.