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With seven full books, and one tale that takes place in-between books four and five, The Dark Tower has enough material for a nice and lengthy series of evenly paced films that can tell the story in its own sweet time. And yet, the decision has been made to drop the viewer in the middle of the action for the first film outing, while at the same time pulling events and characters from multiple books into this initial film. Well, apparently, that's not the full extent of the borrowing that Nikolaj Arcel's first feature film in the Dark Tower saga will engage in, as elements from all eight stories are going to be present in _The Dark Tower. _
Entertainment Weekly has the scoop, which lists all eight components of The Dark Tower series, from The Gunslinger straight through to the titular final installment, with the recent addition of The Wind Through The Keyhole also factoring in, for good measure. While there's a lot of knowledge to lay down, the basic framework of the film relies on The Gunslinger, The Waste Lands, and Wolves of Calla to give it form, with the remaining five stories lending settings and elements to the initial entry in the franchise's film canon.
Normally, taking such an approach to adapting a book series would be ill advised, as linear story progression is the key to the telling of most franchises. Yet with a series that bends the rules of space, time, and the multiverse as The Dark Tower does, anything can go so long as you have the right explanation. If you're a fan of The Dark Tower series and have read all seven books, plus The Wind Through The Keyhole, you already know how the final book sets up the possibility of various re-tellings of the entire Dark Tower canon. But if you aren't versed in the Stephen King series and want to know what we're talking about, then proceed with caution, as we're entering spoiler territory.
So with the end of the series coming in 2004's The Dark Tower, it was revealed that Roland has embarked on his quest against the Man in Black more than once. This sets up The Dark Tower films as another version of this quest, which means that such an approach that picks and chooses elements of all eight stories would be more than OK, it technically serves as a sequel to the original books. And as we pointed out earlier, this sequel just might depict the final iteration of Roland's quest.
For once, following the canon of the source material leaves the door open for an interpretation that doesn't need to feel beholden to the original story. So if you're planning on reading the entire series before the release of the first film, rest assured that if you truly wanted, you could skip reading the novel before heading out to the movies. The Dark Tower begins its journey anew on February 17, 2017.