There are two types of Stephen King fans: those who have read The Dark Tower series and those who have not. It’s certainly possible to enjoy the works of The Master of Horror without ever cracking open a single volume of his seven book series of dimensional hopping high fantasy, but the “Constant Reader” who has read those novels understands that the series is the lynchpin of King’s entire body of work. As a writer, King is known for dropping references and callbacks to his earlier works throughout his novels, creating a vast and rich shared universe of horror that readers have delighted in for four decades now. Those who’ve read the series, however, understand that all roads lead eventually to the Dark Tower, and that the universe shared by much of King’s work is bound together by its power.
After a long and tumultuous gestation period, the cinematic adaptation of The Dark Tower has begun moving forward in earnest. Currently set for release early next year, it looks as though Idris Elba (Luther) will play gunslinger Roland Deschain – a last of his kind warrior that mixes a western-style “lone rider” with a knight’s code of honor – while Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar) will play the villain, known as The Man in Black. With production set to get underway sooner than later, more information continues to emerge concerning the Stephen King film adaptation.
Variety is reporting that Mad Max: Fury Road‘s Abbey Lee has been offered the role of Tirana in the upcoming The Dark Tower film adaptation, to be directed by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair). The news itself is somewhat eyebrow raising, given the fact that there’s no character named Tirana in the first Dark Tower novel, “The Gunslinger” – and in fact, she doesn’t even show up until the seventh book in the series.
There, Tirana is portrayed as an obese and grotesque servant of The Crimson King, the final and most powerful villain of the series. Moreover, as portrayed in the novel, Tirana is relatively minor and, in the grand scheme of the story overall, easy to forget. It’s certainly possible that this version of Tirana is a renamed version of other characters who appeared in “The Gunslinger” and later in the Dark Tower series, or perhaps an amalgamation of multiple characters.
King’s books follow Roland Deschain on his journey to find the Dark Tower, a center of unfathomable power that binds not just his universe but all universes together. He’s joined in his quest by several characters from our world – Eddie, a junkie and low level criminal; Susannah, a young, legless African-American woman with multiple personalities; and Jake, an imaginative elementary school student – as they attempt to discover why the tower’s power is fading.
So far, there has been no reports on who will play Eddie, Susannah, or Jake in the Dark Tower movie adaptation, which makes the report about Tirana being cast all the more curious. It certainly seems to indicate that the character will be getting greater prominence than her appearance in King’s book series, perhaps suggesting that the Crimson King’s “low men” will also feature prominently in the film version. Written over a period of two decades, The Dark Tower series at times suffers from a lack of cohesion that became all too apparent by the seventh installment – so changes to the narrative for a film adaptation (multiple ones, potentially) isn’t, per se, a bad thing and could even strength the overall storyline.
The Dark Tower is currently slated for release on January 13, 2017. We’ll let you know if (when?) that changes.