Sony Pictures has finally released the first trailer for The Dark Tower, the highly anticipated cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s epic work. Starring Idris Elba as Roland Deschain a.k.a. the Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, The Dark Tower movie pulls influence from across all of King’s novels, while at the same time serving as a sequel of sorts. Theoretically, given that King’s world comprises multiple parallel universes, this version of The Dark Tower could take place in another universe – essentially being the same story retold but with differences.
As expected, this first trailer was a full-length one rather than a teaser, and it gave us a good look at the overall tone of the movie, as well as introducing the three main characters. The trailer was also packed full of scenes from the books, as well as some nods to more of King’s works. Read on for the full trailer breakdown.
An Abandoned Mid-World
One of the very first shots of the trailer is of Mid-World in decay. This is the world in which Roland (Elba) was born, raised, and trained to be a gunslinger. Mid-World has since fallen into ruin, and Roland is now the last of his kind. The opening shot gives a good look at what seems to be a far more futuristic place than King imagines in his novels. In fact, Mid-World looks more like the city of Lud, where Blaine the Monotrain resides in later novels.
In addition to this first, opening shot, there are other, stunning glimpses of time and nature taking its toll across Roland’s land. The world has moved on, but he has not, and will not until his quest is fulfilled. Roland must stop the fall of the Dark Tower, and to do that, he must defeat the Man in Black.
Elba looks right at home as a gunslinger saddled with the most monumental of tasks. As we are told at the start of the trailer, the Gunslingers were like Knights; sworn to protect their world. However, one by one the others have all died out, and only Roland remains.
Roland can fire and reload his guns at lightning speed, and he shoots with deadly accuracy. Gunslinging is an art – one to be taken incredibly seriously. As a result, Roland lacks humor or fun in his life, though he had a love, named Susan, when he was young. She may be referenced in The Dark Tower, or her story may be saved for the tie-in TV series that is in the works, based on the prequel novel Wizard and Glass.
Roland does not want to take on the responsibility of looking after Jake Chambers, but he has no choice. Together, (and with others in the books), they form a Ka-tet; a telepathic family destined to be together. In the books there are some sweet moments of humor between the pair, and hopefully that will make its way into the movie, too.
The Man in Black
The Man in Black appears in countless King novels, and goes by various names – including Randall Flagg, Walter O’Dim, and The Walkin’ Dude. He is the embodiment of pure evil, an accomplished sorcerer, and said to be of indeterminate age. Perhaps the most chilling aspect of The Man in Black is that he appears to be a regular (and very charming) person.
In The Dark Tower, The Man in Black wants to stop Roland from reaching the Tower, in order that he might claim it for his own and become a God. Therefore, he is both chasing Roland and being pursued by him. All footage of The Man in Black from the trailer points to him being similar to his literary incarnation: cool, calm, collected, and inherently evil (Roland describes him as being worse than the Devil). McConaughey both looks and sounds the part, and will be a menacing nemesis for Roland to deal with.
In a departure from the books, it seems that Jake does not die in our world first before making it to Mid-World. Instead, he goes to see a therapist about the visions he keeps having. In the novels, that doesn’t happen until much later, when there is a time jump back to an alternate universe where Jake is still alive.
One thing that is the same, though, is that Jake can draw everything he envisions, and he knows exactly who Roland and the Man in Black are before he meets them. The trailer gives a good look at these, including pictures of the doorways into the other worlds (more on those in a moment). Roland might not want Jake along for the mission, but he needs him; Jake knows what will happen to the other worlds if The Man in Black manages to get to the Tower first, and it is he who keeps Roland on his quest. He also takes Roland into New York, which will be interesting to see. Newcomer Tom Taylor plays Jake, and he certainly seems to be one to watch.
Jake is scared, away from his family, and his own world. He is also strong, determined, and on a path created by destiny, from which he cannot waver. The line “there are other worlds than these,” is said by Jake right before a pivotal moment in the first book, that may or may not be recreated in the movie.