After years of speculation, a TV series forever languishing in development hell, along with fan outcry over the inherent troubles with creating The Dark Tower adaptation in the first place, the Stephen King fantasy epic seems to be finally be making a beeline for the silver screen. For anyone that’s still new to the fantasy genre, The Dark Tower is a western fantasy series written by horror mega-author Stephen King, spanning across seven books. It tells the story of Roland Deschain, son of Steven and last gunslinger of Gilead, as he crosses the Wastelands of Midworld in search of the titular Dark Tower, the absolute center of every world in the universe.
The story features a very large and impressive cast of characters and is presented in a very non-linear fashion by the author, which makes an exact adaptation a doozy for the uninitiated, to say the least. However, movie director Nikolaj Arcel believes that it can be done. But until we get some solid info on what the final product is going to look like, the development team have decided to weigh in on some of their more important creative choices…
[WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CONSIDERABLE BOOK SERIES SPOILERS TOWARD THE END. DON’T SAY WE DIDN’T WARN YOU]
The development team has recently announced that Idris Elba (of The Wire and Age of Ultron fame) is being considered for the role of the Last Gunslinger. Movie producer, Akiva Goldsman and series’ author Stephen King have stated that they are both equally excited on the prospect, with the producer saying:
I think Idris Elba is the greatest possible idea for casting for Roland, and I’m unbelievably proud of it as a collaborator on this enterprise and because I think that he’s a great actor and I couldn’t be more thrilled that he is likely to play a part.
The producer even claimed that the casting choice does not “necessarily defile the source material” and that it will not serve in deviating too much from the source material. Stephen King supported the producer’s opinion by saying on Twitter, in December 12 2015:
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.
The development team announced that the movie will be released on January 13, 2017 and it will be co-written by Nikolaj Arcel and adapted on the silver screen according to the screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinker and Anders Thomas Jensen. The movie is being co-produced by Arcel, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Stephen King.
[YOU ARE NOW ENTERING BOOK SPOILERS TERRITORY. TURN BACK WHILE YOU CAN]
Most fantasy nerds that have read the series might: ‘if Idris Elba plays the Gunslinger, how is this going to affect his relationship with Detta Walker‘? After all, she was the split personality of Odetta Holmes and she was a gung-ho racist character, who actively tried to sabotage Eddie Dean and Roland Deschain while they tried to navigate the Midworld Lobstrocity Beach on the second book of the series.
So how is the development team going to work around that? Will this affect their casting choice? If not, then how are they going to account for her hateful character, which mostly makes up for the conflict in the second book? Then again, maybe we are overthinking this and the development team will not bother taking those issues into account.
After all, making an organized, linear adaptation of the Dark Tower for a larger audience is going to be a doozy for the developers.