Stephen King's The Dark Tower novel series spent years lost in a development hell wasteland as it made the journey from page to screen. Now, after many studio pitches, casting rumors, and a slew of attached, then unattached directors and producers, The Dark Tower is finally rising in the distance. This will be a multi-film saga beginning in 2017, with a companion TV series set to release in 2018. Fans around the world will soon have a movie adaptation that mixes horror, fantasy and western elements into a sprawling epic.
Details are slowly rolling in, and what we know so far is that the movie will incorporate parts from all the books, but won't directly begin with The Gunslinger, the first book in the series. It will likely follow closely with the fifth book in the series, Wolves of the Calla, and work in parts of the remaining novels through flashbacks and dialogue. We do know, however, that the movie will begin as the first novel does, like this:
"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
These twelve words have been etched in many fan minds since they first encountered the books. As Stephen King has been a part of the production from the very beginning, he was adamant that the film needed to start in that way. Consider it like the Star Wars' opener "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." The Dark Tower has an anticipated release date of February 17th, 2017, and before it hits theaters let's talk about all the things we know so far.
The Dark Tower follows a lone gunslinger, Roland Deschain, across an immense world filled with mysticism, the occult, and post-apocalyptic relics. Roland pursues the Man in Black toward the fabled Dark Tower, a nexus of all worlds. This is an epic tale of good versus evil and ultimately an exploration of how mankind deals with both. We know the movie is set to be a sequel of sorts to the original series fans know and love but will seek to remain true to the characters -- even though it's a different journey. So, even though you may know the novel inside and out, you may be surprised as to how all the characters interact and what happens as their stories intertwine.
Idris Elba as the Gunslinger
The gunslinger, Roland Deschain, is the protagonist. He comes from a long line of gunslingers - a knight-like order tasked with protecting mid-world and all the people within it. Roland is on a mission to find the dark tower, as it holds the key to either saving or destroying the world he knows. Roland is determined to reach the dark tower, because ultimately he knows that it is his duty to protect his world from the man in black and the Crimson King as they both are trying to reach the top of the tower as well.
Roland will be played by Idris Elba, whose acting credits include: Thor, Star Trek Beyond, and The Losers. Even though there was a great deal of apprehension with his casting for the role of the gunslinger, Stephen King has thrown in his thoughts on the subject and stands behind Idris as the gunslinger, even taking part in crafting his dialogue.
“I took a pen and cut Roland’s dialogue to the bone, the less he says the better off, and why not? Idris Elba can act with his face. He’s terrific at it. He projects that sense of combined menace and security. [Roland] is the Western hero, the strong, silent type: ‘Yep,’ ‘Nope,’ and ‘Draw.'”
Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black
The man in black is evil, plain and simple. There's really not a whole lot more that needs explaining, yet the man in black has links to several other Stephen King novels, in particular as the primary antagonist in other King novels like The Stand and The Eyes of the Dragon. The man in black is an emissary of the Crimson King and a skilled demonic sorcerer. Through Roland's history, the man in black has attempted to stop him from reaching the dark tower and even becoming a gunslinger.
Matthew McConaughey is set to bring the man in black to life, McConaughey has been in several major films over the years including: The Wolf of Wall Street, Interstellar, We Are Marshall and U-571.
Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers
Jake Chambers is one of the primary characters throughout the novel series. Jake is a young boy with a special gift, Roland finds the Jake at a way station halfway across the desert during his pursuit of the man in black. Jake becomes as close to a son to Roland as he can, and the two travel together until fate would separate them and Jake tells Roland, "go then, there are other worlds than these." These words would turn out to impact Roland's journey as he gains a better understanding of what The Dark Tower actually represents thanks to Jake.
Tom Taylor is set to portray Jake, and even though Tom is fairly new to Hollywood he has a couple solid television appearances under his belt with Doctor Foster and appearances in Legends and The Last Kingdom.
Katheryn Winnink, as Unnamed Character
This is an interesting casting choice, as fans have scoured the pages of the novels looking for what character she could be playing. The current ideas are that she could be playing of the Crimson King (Queen) which would suit her acting ability, but could drastically change the story. Katheryn could also be playing a minor character specific to the movie or quite possibly Jake's mother or even the succubus spirit Mia. Hopefully some light will be shed on how pivotal her character is, if at all, over the next few months.
Katheryn Winnick has been building quite a reputation for herself recently as she was many fans hope (mine included) for the role of Captain Marvel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but even without that role she has several key tv shows and films in her resume including: Vikings, The Art of the Steal, Bones and the upcoming Geostorm.
Abbey Lee, as Tirana
Tirana is set to be the primary female character in The Dark Tower film, and rightly so considering her role in the novels. Tirana looks to be an important part of the film, even though her role in the novels is rather minor. In the novels Tirana is a member of the regulators and works for the Crimson King, and her first appearance is an an obese woman. Considering that her film character is being described as equal parts deadly and sexy, we're set to see her character deviate from the novelized version.
Abbey Lee has just recently jumped into the Hollywood scene from her modeling days, and has a couple films to build from including: Gods of Egypt, The Neon Demon, Mad Max: Fury Road and the upcoming Office Christmas Party.
The Dark Tower will be the first film, in what Sony Pictures hopes to be an epic film saga and there will be more details to come which will be updated here before it officially releases February 17th, 2017.
Are you ready to travel to the Dark Tower?