It took 35 years to happen, but Stephen King‘s magnum opus, The Dark Tower, is finally heading theaters this year. As you might imagine, a lot of effort went into making The Dark Tower a reality. For nearly a decade, there was talk of an ambitious TV series adaptation, on top of at least three feature films. For now, there’s only one movie lined up, but we suspect the rest of the books in the series will get their shot if audiences respond to the first installment.
Unlike most adaptations, The Dark Tower isn’t simply going to rehash the events of the novels. In fact, readers of the books may actually get something that they’ve wanted to see for a long time. Want to know more? This is our continually updated breakdown of everything Dark Tower as we get closer to its release on July 28, 2017.
— Jordan Maison (@JordanMaison) December 8, 2016
Fan-favorite actor Idris Elba has been cast as the Gunslinger, Roland Deschain; with Matthew McConaughey as the enigmatic Man in Black, Walter Padick. King has enthusiastically embraced both of the film’s leads, and the vision of director Nikolaj Arcel.
You may recall that Roland had a Clint Eastwood-inspired appearance on the covers of King’s novels. That led to some grumblings from fans over Elba’s selection. Of course, anyone familiar with Elba’s body of work should realize that he’s a fantastic actor, and very deserving of his own franchise. To his credit, King has very publicly endorsed the idea of casting Elba as Roland. And while King initially stopped short of mentioning Elba by name when he was still in talks for the role, he made his thoughts known in no uncertain terms.
To me, the color of the gunslinger doesn’t matter. What I care about is how fast he can draw…and that he takes care of the ka-tet.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 12, 2015
Tom Taylor will play Roland’s sidekick/surrogate son Jake Chambers. Taylor also tweeted out the first official picture of himself in costume as Jake. It’s a nice touch that the picture includes one of Jake’s signature quotes.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylor1607) August 19, 2016
Katheryn Winnick will appear as Jake’s mother Laurie Chambers. Former Dollhouse star Fran Kranz has also signed on to play Pimli, the sidekick of the Man in Black. Watchmen star Jackie Earle Haley will play the part of the villainous Sayre, and he’s been spotted on the set playing opposite against Elba’s Gunslinger. Abbey Lee Kershaw has been cast as Tirana, a character who didn’t appear until the seventh novel in the series.
Saved For the Sequel
Since 2014, former Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul made it clear that he really wants to play Eddie Dean, one of the supporting characters in the novel series. Paul even met with executive producer Ron Howard way back in 2014. But it looks like both Eddie Dean and Susannah are sitting out of the first movie in The Dark Tower franchise. If the sequels happen, we’re pretty sure that they’ll be around.
Sound the Horn
King and Arcel have hinted at significant changes that they made to turn The Dark Tower into a movie. We examined their potential impact on Nerdist News. We revisited the issue in a later episode as well.
King went on to drop a potentially major spoiler for a movie and a major hint about how the films will present something important from the books. Only the novel readers will instantly get it, but we’re really excited about the implications!
The Dark Tower is close, now. The Crimson King awaits. Soon Roland will raise the Horn of Eld. And blow. pic.twitter.com/rqGSKM3dWL
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 19, 2016
The TV Series?
Before Arcel joined the project, a Dark Tower TV series was a part of the ambitious pitch for a multi-movies and television to fully adapt the novels and some of the comics as well. It seemed to be dead in the water after that. However, there was a report last fall from Entertainment Weekly that MRC and Sony Pictures are planning a television show that will be based on Wizard and Glass, the fourth novel in The Dark Tower series. While Idris Elba won’t star in the spinoff series, he may appear in it. The series will be 10-13 episodes and it was expected to shoot in 2017. However, it’s been quite some time since we have heard anything new about this part of the project.