The Dark Tower Is Officially Happening, With A Major Twist

An adaptation of Stephen King’s eponymous The Dark Tower series has been in the works for as long as we can remember, and the biggest question about the project has always been, "How?" How can Hollywood condense all the material in the seven books of King’s mighty Dark Tower series into one film – or even a series of films. The Harry Potter franchise is an exception that only proves how difficult of a task it actually can be Well, now we’re finding out that the adaptation won’t start with The Gunslinger, because it isn’t starting at the beginning of King’s narrative.

Wait, what? Let’s back up, just a tad. Stephen King and The Dark Tower director Nikolaj Arcel sat down for a lengthy conversation with EW about the impending start of production on the long-awaited adaptation. And while King confirmed that the opening line of The Gunslinger would be the opening line of the movie ("The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed."), we’re not starting with a straight adaptation of the 1982 novel The Gunslinger, that kicked off this saga. Don’t get worked up, Tower fans. As King explains:

[The movie] starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they’ll get behind it, because it is the story.

I don’t love hearing that, to be honest, but in King, we must trust. The Gunslinger does a proper job of introducing the character of Roland, a veteran cowboy (gunslinger, in King’s terms) who is locked on a journey to reach the Dark Tower of the title. The Man in Black stands in his way, and along the way, Roland picks up three key allies (and a billy bumbler named Oy) who make great sacrifices to push Roland along his "beam," or path to the Tower. Oh, and the article confirms that Idris Elba is playing Roland:

Stephen King and director Nikolaj Arcel reveal several important details in that EW article, and Dark Tower enthusiasts will want to carve out time today to read it through. Meanwhile, over on social media, the stars of the movie are starting to trade incentives. Seriously, this casting couldn’t be more perfect. Our new Roland, the brilliant Elba, teased Matthew McConaughey, who has been cast as The Man In Black, with this Tweet:

See more

To which McConaughey replied:

See more


The Dark Tower plans to begin shooting in the next few weeks, aiming for a January 13, 2017 release date. What do you think about the movies starting in the middle of the story? Are you excited to see Roland and his ka-tet finally making it to the big screen?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.