The Dark Tower movie, based on the hit series by Stephen King, premiered last weekend, and fans have been looking forward to this adaptation for decades. Combining elements of science fiction and classic westerns, The Dark Tower follows Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), also known as the Gunslinger, on his quest to protect the Dark Tower, which supports and protects multiple realities, including modern-day Earth. However, the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) wants the Tower destroyed. Intrigued to watch this King classic play out on the big screen? Below are some key facts to know before seeing The Dark Tower movie.
1. The Dark Tower isn’t a direct adaptation of The Gunslinger.
The Dark Tower is a continuation or sequel to The Gunslinger, the first book in King’s series. However, it also takes elements from many of the books in King’s series. According to the film’s director Nikolaj Arcel:
“It is actually a canon continuation… That’s exactly what we intended and what Stephen King signed off on.”
2. Both movie and TV follow-ups are already planned.
If The Dark Tower performs well at the box office, there will be film sequels. What’s more — fans can expect to see a 10- to 13-episode TV series premiering in 2018. The TV series will feature more of Roland’s backstory and draw directly from the novels, particularly, Wizard and Glass.
3. The movie will be short by Hollywood standards.
The Dark Tower runs at only 95 minutes, which is shorter than the typical length of a summer blockbuster — most clock in around two hours. Given that the source material for The Dark Tower is over 4,000 pages, the movie length has some fans worried that it may not live up to King’s novel.
4. While writing the series, King never had an idea of what the Man in Black looked like.
King tells Entertainment Weekly that while writing, “I never really thought of him.” However, the movie brings the menacing character to light a bit more than the books. “He becomes a character who isn’t just a mirage that Roland is chasing. The way things are set up, he’s right there,” adds King.
5. Although King once pictured Clint Eastwood as Roland, he loves Elba in the role.
Time changed his view of Roland away from Eastwood, and King tells Entertainment Weekly that he hopes fans are open to a man of color playing the iconic part:
“For me the character is still the character… He can be white or black; it makes no difference to me. I think it opens all kinds of exciting possibilities for the backstory.”
6. The actor playing Jake Chambers was found by an international talent search.
Tom Taylor nabbed the role of Jake Chambers, the Gunslinger’s protégé, after a worldwide search. Taylor previously had a recurring role on the UK TV series Doctor Foster.
7. Ron Howard is been behind the production.
Film legend Ron Howard has been associated with The Dark Tower since 2010, when Universal Pictures was interested in having him direct. Although the adaptation went to a different studio, Howard is still attached to the series as an executive producer and may direct future films in the series.
8. Yes, fans should expect changes from the novels.
According to ScreenRant, one of the biggest changes from the series is the absence of two major characters: Eddie Dean and Susannah Walker. While these characters don’t actually appear until the second book in the series, their film absence may be significant since The Dark Tower film takes elements from multiple books.