The Dark Tower: Matthew McConaughey Unveils Crimson King Teaser Image

The Crimson King in Stephen King's Dark Tower

It’s a tale as old as time; some might so the only tale there is. A force of good standing up against a force of evil. That’s the tale at the heart of Stephen King’s epic series, The Dark Tower, which combines western archetypes with fantasy tropes to weave a unique spin on the good vs. evil formula that propels narrative and storytelling.

In the Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) directed adaptation, the forces of good and the forces of evil are best represented by Idris Elba’s (Thor: Ragnarok) Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey’s (Interstellar) The Man in Black, a.k.a. Walter, respectively. The two are locked in endless battle as Roland works to save the titular tower—the nexus of power for his and all universes—while Walter works to destroy it. That’s the basic gist, but far from the whole story. There’s a greater evil than the Man in Black in Midworld, the master who pulls his strings.

McConaughey offered a tease of this ultimate evil on his Twitter account today, revealing clearly for the first time the sigil of The Crimson King. As revealed in the books, The Crimson King is the mastermind behind the destruction of the Dark Tower which Roland works so tirelessly to save. The image doesn’t reveal much, but it’s an exciting moment for readers, some of whom have waited decades to see this story on the big screen.

Shake the hand that shook the world

— Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) July 19, 2016

Though through much of the story The Crimson King exists more as an idea than an actual character, his desire to rule over the ashes of all realities is what spurs the conflicts of The Dark Tower. In many ways, his relationship to The Man in Black is analogous to the relationship between Sauron and Saruman in Lord of the Rings. Like Saruman was to Sauron, The Man in Black serves as The Crimson King’s emissary and right hand man, giving form to the evil he represents.

In the books, the sigil of The Crimson King becomes more and more visible in both Midworld and in our reality the closer the tower gets to destruction. As the symbol spreads, so too does the evil it represents as the walls between realities—walls held in place by the Dark Tower—begin to collapse. It’s appearance so soon in the films is an indication that his power is already spreading, giving Roland plenty to deal with as his cinematic journey begins.

The Dark Tower EW Image Banner

This makes sense when you consider that the movies will serve as pseudo-sequels to the books. In the novels, it’s revealed that Roland and Walter have been locked in an infinite loop of saving/destroying The Dark Tower; the movies will showcase Roland’s final journey, making them a unique amalgam of both adaptation and sequel. As such, book readers can expect some differences in the way the story plays out, and the fact that The Crimson King is already in play is indicative of this.

It’ll be interesting to see how much different the story is from page to screen and whether or not The Crimson King plays a more tangible role in the movie narrative. Regardless, seeing the symbol is an exciting moment for the series’ devoted fan base. It’s just one more sign that the wheel of Ka is ever turning, and soon we will see the series come to life. There’s sure to be plenty more news to come from the world of The Dark Tower, and we’ll keep you posted on any and all develops.

The Dark Tower is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on February 17, 2017.

Source: Matthew McConaughey

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