For fans of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, it almost doesn’t seem real. For years, plans for the production of a cinematic adaptation of his magnum opus were announced only to fall through. Development hell seemed to be the natural state of the project’s existence and fans grew accustomed to having their hopes ride the roller coaster of yes, no, and maybe so that the movies seemed to perpetually be on. But the wheel of Ka is ever turning, and the faithful will have their reward.
Production for the first film in the series has been underway for months now, with Idris Elba (Thor: Ragnarok) as the heroic Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar) as the villainous Man in Black. The first movie, adapted largely from The Gunslinger, the first book in King’s opus, is set for release early next year. While many fans have hemmed and hawed the reports of changes made from the page to the screen, leaked set photos have shown, at the very least, that the looks of the characters are being kept faithful, giving hope for the series overall, even with the changes. Now, a new set image has been released by series producer Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea) giving us a closer look at Elba in his costume.
Howard tweeted the image of his set visit, which shows the producer standing with Elba and director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair). While still technically an unofficial image—meaning that we have yet to see what the look of the film will be overall—the picture does give us a better idea about how Roland will look as he makes his way to the big screen. The tweet comes hot on the heels of set photos showing both Elba and McConaughey in costume on set.
For readers, it’s hard not to feel the tinge of excitement at seeing Roland begin to take form. Seeing the so-called “cowboy knight” in costume is a delightful treat that holds with it the reality that, yes, this is actually happening.
The story follows Roland, the last of the fabled Gunslingers, on a journey that spans dimensions to find partners with whom he can save The Dark Tower, which serves as a nexus point for all realities. Should the Tower fall, all realities will crumble in its wake, making its existence imperative for the survival for the entire universe.
It’s been a long and circuitous road from page to screen, so seeing Elba as Roland is, in itself, somewhat of a milestone. It’s just a tease, however, and fans are waiting with baited breath to see some official images from the movie. King adaptations are notoriously hit or miss with his ardent fans, and as important his The Dark Tower series is to his fan base, the movie has a lot riding on its success – especially if there are to be more films in a potential franchise.
With Howard pulling the strings, it seems likely that the film will be able to at least meet the expectations of its target audience. Howard has long been a proponent of the project, and is arguably the man most responsible for making it happen at all. Given his success as a producer over the years, and his penchant for making sweeping cinematic experiences, the series seems to be in good hands. We’ll know more as the release draws near, but for now things seem to look good, if nothing else.
The Dark Tower is slated for release on February 17, 2017.