ByAlisha Grauso, writer at
Editor-at-large here at Movie Pilot. Nerd out with me on Twitter, comrades: @alishagrauso
Alisha Grauso

At long last, the live-action adaptation of will see the light of day. Based on Stephen King's magnum opus of seven novels and other tie-in novels and short stories, the genre-mashing story of gunslinger Roland of Gilead was one that many thought could never be adapted.

But after bouncing from studio to studio, it finally found a home with Sony, thanks to the dogged perseverance of producers and and we can't wait. Whether you're a long-time fan of Stephen King or just want to know more about the Dark Tower universe in general, we've put together this comprehensive guide to the latest news, updates, and crazy theories ahead of its release.

'The Dark Tower' News & Rumors

Updated 1/13/2017:

  • Matthew McConaughey turned down Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for The Dark Tower

In an interview with Playboy, explained what enticed him to take the Dark Tower job as the Man in Black instead of being a part of the MCU:

"It’s a fantastic thriller that takes place in another realm, an alternate universe, but it’s very much grounded... I enjoyed approaching my character as if I were the Devil having a good time, getting turned on by exposing human hypocrisies wherever he finds them."

The Man in Black at the Dixie Pig [Credit: EW]
The Man in Black at the Dixie Pig [Credit: EW]

While seeing the ultra-talented McConaughey in the Marvel universe would have been great, it would have been a shame for him to take on a tiny or one-and-done sort of role. Playing the chameleon Man in Black is a much better use of his skills.

  • First images of Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in The Dark Tower are released

After a long wait, we finally got our first official glimpse of Roland Deschain (Elba) and the Man in Black (McConaughey) in both a cover photo and individual character portraits courtesy of EW.

Roland Deschain and his trusty sandalwood revolvers [Credit: EW]
Roland Deschain and his trusty sandalwood revolvers [Credit: EW]

The costumes are a bit different than fans of the book might have expected — Roland doesn't have his hat, for example — but fitting for the grittiness of Roland and the sleek malevolence of the Man in Black.

  • Director Nikolaj Arcel confirms that the Dark Tower movie won't be a direct adaptation of the novels

After fans wondered for months how on earth they would adapt the sprawling, complicated novels for live-action, finally answered the question in an interview with EW: They wouldn't:

"The hardcore fans of 'The Dark Tower' series will know that this is actually a sequel to the books in a way. It has a lot of the same elements, a lot of the same characters, but is a different journey."

also weighed in on the decision of a non-direct adaptation, saying that it may not necessarily work, but he's behind it 100% and even helped with the script. Another thing he's totally behind? The casting of Elba as Roland:

"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 combine menace and security. [Roland] is the Western hero, the strong, silent type: 'Yep,' 'Nope,' and 'Draw.'"

There was less backlash than usual on the character of Roland being race-swapped (in the novels, he is white and looks an awful lot like Clint Eastwood), possibly because King has been a vocal supporter of 's since the start:

The Dark Tower Trailer

There has been no official trailer released yet, though a very much unfinished rough cut of the trailer was leaked online a few months ago and promptly pulled from the internet. However, Sony chairman Tom Rothman said we'd get out first glimpse of The Dark Tower trailer around Christmas - which didn't happen. All of which led us to believe that Sony was holding it until the Super Bowl, which would have made sense - but still didn't happen. But with the movie being less than half a year away, we can expect a trailer any time now.

The Dark Tower Release Date

Credit: Sony
Credit: Sony

The Dark Tower has had its release date bumped around a bit. It was originally supposed to be released in February 2017, but was bumped back in order to have it align with the summer blockbuster season and to allow more time for the visual effects in post-production.

The new release date for The Dark Tower is now July 28, 2017, so Sony clearly has some big hopes for the movie.

The Dark Tower Plot Synopsis

Here's the extraordinarily brief synopsis from the IMDb page:

The Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, roams an Old West-like landscape where "the world has moved on" in pursuit of the man in black. Also searching for the fabled Dark Tower, in the hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world.

But the genre-mashing series is a sprawling epic, and that's just a very brief summary of the first movie. As more plot details and info come closer to release, we'll update this article.

The Dark Tower Cast

The Dark Tower movie has put together an impressive cast, with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey anchoring the film. But there is a solid supporting cast that has been built around them, as well.

  • Idris Elba - Roland Deschain/The Gunslinger
  • Matthew McConaughey - The Man in Black
  • Tom Taylor - Jake Chambers
  • Katheryn Winnick - Laurie Chambers
  • Abbey Lee - Tirana
  • Jackie Earle Haley - Sayre
  • Nicholas Hamilton - Lucas Hanson
  • Claudia Kim - Arra Champignon
  • Fran Kranz - Pimli
  • Alex McGregor - Susan Delgado
  • Jose Zuniga - Dr. Hotchkiss
  • Michael Barbieri - Timmy
  • Karl Thaning - Elmer Chambers
  • Eva Kaminsky - Jill

The Dark Tower Characters

Okay, here's where it gets confusing. Because the movie version will not be a direct adaptation of 's novels, that means some of the characters listed above are from the first novel, some are from later novels, and some of them are completely new characters created for the purposes of the film. But let's at least introduce you to the characters we already know from the books, shall we?

Roland Deschain [Credit: Jae Lee/Marvel]
Roland Deschain [Credit: Jae Lee/Marvel]
  • Roland Deschain/The Gunslinger: Roland is the last of the Gunslingers of In-World and his life's quest and destiny in one is to reach the fabled Dark Tower —the very center of existence— in order to save his world. He is a loner, ruthless when he has to be, and his lack of imagination has served him well because he can't conceive of anything other than his mission. His weapons of choice are his trusty revolvers with sandalwood grips.
The Man in Black [Credit: Grant]
The Man in Black [Credit: Grant]
  • The Man in Black: Roland's main adversary who seeks to thwart him from reaching the Tower, The Man in Black has gone by many names in Stephen King's stories, most frequently Randall Flagg and, in the Dark Tower books, Walter O'Dim. He is a nearly-demonic sorcerer, seemingly ageless, and the very embodiment of chaotic evil.
Jake Chambers [Credit: Scribner]
Jake Chambers [Credit: Scribner]
  • Jake Chambers: Jake is an 11-year-old boy from New York City who is killed in a subway accident and ends up in Roland's world. Throughout the first book, he is Roland's companion, acting as his surrogate adopted son. Jake is precocious for his age, but his calm and reserved personality belies that he has a bit of psychic and precognitive abilities which Roland refers to as "the touch."
  • Laurie Chambers: Laurie is Jake's mother and while she tries to be a good one, she largely fails. She's generally oblivious to who Jake actually is as a person and what he wants, which isn't helped by the fact she's having an affair.
  • Elmer Chambers: Elmer is Jake's father and an even worse parent than Laurie. He's a ruthless executive for a network and rarely home, the very definition of a workaholic, absentee parent. When he is around, he puts a lot of pressure on Jake to do better and be a man. Basically, he's an utter asshole.
Sayre and other Can-Toi [Credit: Marvel]
Sayre and other Can-Toi [Credit: Marvel]
  • Sayre: Richard Patrick Sayre is a high-ranking "Can-Toi" who works for the Man in Black. Throughout the series, he plays the role of minor antagonist, carrying out his orders according to the whims of his master. He also has vampire minions, so there's that.
  • Tirana: This one's a bit of a head-scratcher, as Tirana is a very minor character who only appears in the final book. She is a Low Woman, a "Can-Toi" servant of the Crimson King, the omnipresent entity that seeks to destroy the Dark Tower and remake the world in his image. Tirana frequents The Dixie Pig, which we've seen from released images will be a setting in the film.
The Crimson King [Credit: Michael Whelan/Scribner]
The Crimson King [Credit: Michael Whelan/Scribner]
  • Pimli: Pimli Prentiss is the warden at Algul Siento, the compound where the Crimson King keeps his "Breakers" - a group of telepaths forced to break the invisible Beams holding up the Tower. In the series, Pimli is one of the more sympathetic antagonists as he isn't as zealous a follower of the Crimson King as others.
Susan Delgado [Credit: Marvel]
Susan Delgado [Credit: Marvel]
  • Susan Delgado: Roland's first and only love. She's a clever and unconventional tomboy. Their story was told in the fourth book, Wizard and Glass, set almost entirely in the past, so we can expect Susan will only show up in flashbacks.

The Dark Tower Spinoff Series

Roland and Susan [Credit: Marvel]
Roland and Susan [Credit: Marvel]

Along with the three planned movies, Sony is also developing a tie-in series. The story of the Dark Tower is vast and sprawling, one that spans seven full-length novels and has been continued in multiple comic books and short stories. While the story can be set up in the films, to truly explore the world and do it justice requires the formatting of an episodic series. To that end, a 10-13 episode arc is the plan, rather than a single pilot in development.

The series will follow a much younger Roland and tell the story of how he became the last Gunslinger. So it appears that the series will probably revolve around the events of Wizard and Glass and the tie-in comics that explored more of Roland as a younger man.

There's no confirmation yet about where the series will be distributed, but considering the content, Netflix or Hulu are probably the safest bets. HBO would have been a contender, but with their recent success with Westworld, there may be too much genre overlap.

The Dark Tower - The Gunslinger's Creed

Roland as a young gunslinger and his original ka-tet [Credit: Marvel]
Roland as a young gunslinger and his original ka-tet [Credit: Marvel]

In the novels, all Gunslingers have a creed, one they learn by heart before they can officially earn the mantle and title of Gunslinger. It's both an oath reminding them of their purpose and a mantra, used to steady themselves and find the killer's calm focus they need in the heat of battle or when making an important shot. It's repeated in various ways all throughout the book, and we can expect to hear it at least once in the movie, if not multiple times.

The Gunslinger's Creed

I do not aim with my hand; He who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand; He who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; He who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart.

And if that doesn't catch you up to speed on the Dark Tower movie, nothing will.


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