The following contains minor spoilers for The Dark Tower book series.

Stephen King's epic fantasy series The Dark Tower finally arrives on the big screen this weekend. The first book in Stephen King's series is light on characters, with only a handful even appearing, while the later books have so many different odd names floating around that you'd be forgiven for forgetting who was who. The new film falls someplace in between.

The Dark Tower on film is a fresh take on the material, and it introduces many characters and elements that don't appear until much later in the books. In case you haven't reread every book in the series in anticipation, here are the people who are important to know in Sony's new The Dark Tower.

Roland Deschain

The original title of the first book in The Dark Tower series is The Gunslinger. That man is Roland Deschain. Roland lives in a world that has "moved on." It bears a resemblance to our own, but only in a post-apocalyptic sense. Gunslingers are a little like knights, only instead of carrying lances or swords, they're armed with revolvers. Roland is the last of his kind as the story opens, the rest are dead and gone. He's chasing after somebody simply known as The Man in Black, though for what reason is not entirely clear. In the film, Roland is played by Idris Elba.

The Man in Black

Every great hero needs a nemesis and for The Gunslinger, it's somebody called The Man in Black. When the first book opens, Roland has already been chasing the Man in Black for some unknown period of time. Exactly how long, or even exactly why, are not clear. The Man in Black is a step on the road to The Dark Tower, Roland's ultimate goal. As the first book is a chase, we don't even actually meet The Man in Black until near the end of the book, Roland only discovers what the Man in Black has left behind. It's clear from the trailers that Matthew McConaughey's version of the character will be much more prevalent.

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