The first trailer for The Dark Tower has arrived. The long-awaited cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s book series may well become the first in a long line of Dark Tower TV shows and movies, depending on its success. Starring Idris Elba as Roland Deschain/The Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, The Dark Tower may yet provide a much-needed boost to Sony Pictures too, though that largely hinges on the studio’s promotion of the movie, going forward. The Dark Tower‘s release date has been postponed twice order to spend more time on post-production, meaning we haven’t had so much as a teaser before this week. The first full trailer for The Dark Tower has dropped online and can be viewed above.
As one might expect, the trailer is dark and brooding in its tone; Roland is a troubled character and the burden he places on himself is only increased with the arrival of Jake, but equally, he feels as though he cannot turn Jake away. The whole thing is reminiscent of a Western in many ways, particularly the scenes taking place in Mid-World, where a gun-toting Roland Deschain seeks to evade the Man in Black as he makes his way toward the Dark Tower.
Starring alongside Elba and McConaughey will be newcomer Tom Taylor as young Jake Chambers. Following the death of his father, Jake finds himself in another world, where he meets the Gunslinger in the desert. For Roland, the only purpose to his life anymore is his endless quest to find the titular tower, and all the time he is both chasing and being perused by The Man in Black. King’s original work spans seven novels and multiple comic books; it really is the tale that never ends. That said, for the most part, the story is all valid and worthy of being told in such detail. However, such an epic body of work presents problems when being adapted for the big screen.
Director Nikolaj Arcel has taken a unique route with The Dark Tower, by presenting it as an adaptation and also a continuation of Roland’s story. The movie is based on the first book of the series, while simultaneously drawing influence from all the books in the series. However, such is the nature of The Dark Tower worlds, that this movie could be taking place in another universe, at another time; a repetition of Roland’s journey but with changes dotted throughout.
One such change that viewers will notice in The Dark Tower, is the exclusion of Eddie Dean and Susannah Walker; Roland and Jake’s companions from New York City. Together, the four form a ka-tet in the novels – basically a telepathic family – but this time half of the ka-tet won’t be appearing. In the novels, Eddie and Susannah don’t appear until the second book, so technically they shouldn’t be there for the first installment anyway, but other characters that appear in much later books, are featured in this first movie. However, Arcel notes the character’s important contribution to the storyline and says that he certainly envisions including them in the future.
Undoubtedly, for fans of King’s work, this trailer and the forthcoming movie are a real treat. Just seeing The Gunslinger and The Man in Black on our screens is a huge moment, and the potential this movie has to spawn sequels and TV spinoffs is extremely exciting. However, whether The Dark Tower will appeal to the casual moviegoer, or those who don’t read books, remains to be seen. One would hope that those not familiar with the series will give the movie a chance, and Elba and McConaughey’s name attached could well help with this, but the lack of promotion has definitely resulted in a lack of buzz so far outside of King fans.
The vast majority of King’s work deserves to be made into movies, and he’s seen something of a resurgence in popularity within the film world. Along with The Dark Tower, there is a remake of IT lined up, along with adaptations of Revival and The Stand in the works (the latter is still a long way off, sadly). Added to that, Netflix has adaptations of Gerald’s Game and 1922 in the pipeline now. Chances are, if you’re not already familiar with King’s work, you soon will be.
Source: Sony/Columbia Pictures