Major SPOILERS ahead for the Dark Tower book series.
With production now fully underway on the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s sprawling epic The Dark Tower, many fans are existing in a state of cautious optimism: optimistic due to the prospect of finally seeing Roland Deschain, played by Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), come to life on the big screen; cautious because all of the early information regarding the project has been somewhat baffling.
The recent announcement that fans shouldn’t expect an exact adaptation of the books was merely confirmation of what readers had already gleaned. Casting announcements alone had given us the insight that they were changing things up a bit for the movies, with much emphasis being placed on the casting of characters in the movie who don’t appear in the books until much later in the series.
Earlier today on Twitter, the horror master took to social media to offer a tantalizing hint about what might be going on. King posted an image macro of an ancient looking horn, the words “last time around” emblazoned over it, and telling fans that, "The Dark Tower is close, now. The Crimson King awaits. Soon Roland will raise the Horn of Eld. And blow."
The Dark Tower is close, now. The Crimson King awaits. Soon Roland will raise the Horn of Eld. And blow. pic.twitter.com/rqGSKM3dWL
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 19, 2016
For readers of the book series, this was an eyebrow-raising statement that might just explain all of the changes we’ve been hearing about as the series makes its way to the big screen. The end of the book series revealed that Roland had been trapped in an endless cycle of attempts to reach The Dark Tower, with each failed attempt bringing him back to the beginning of the story with no memory of his previous attempts. It’s also implied that the cycle is close being broken, with Roland having finally obtained the Horn of Eld, a mystical artifact that he believes is integral to stopping the destruction of the tower and all the universes contained within it. The book series ends as it begins, with the Man in Black fleeing across the desert and Roland following. This time, however, he has the horn.
Is it possible, then, that the movies aren’t so much an adaptation of the books but, rather, a sequel to them? Honestly, that makes a lot of sense. The cyclical nature of the story implies that no matter which “turn around the tower” Roland is on, it plays out more or less the same way. He’ll still meet the same characters and still have the same adventures, each time getting closer and closer to his ultimate goal of saving the Dark Tower from the evil of the Crimson King. If the movies are taking place after Roland has obtained the Horn of Eld, they can still tell more or less the same story presented in the books while also offering more of a sense of finality than the book series offered.
It also offers a concise, in-universe explanation for all the changes being made from the page to the screen. The difference between the books and movies can be chalked up to the fact that the story of the movies is actually the story of Roland’s final turn around the tower. As much as the story of each “turn” is presumably more or less the same, differences can be expected from one turn to the next. If, indeed, the movie is taking place after Roland has obtained the Horn of Eld, then Roland’s journey can be expected to be even more dangerous than it was before.
While this is all fairly speculative, it would be an interesting approach for the filmmakers to take in telling the story of Roland and the Dark Tower. The new angle provides some leeway to change the direction of the story and offer new twists for fans who’ve been following the book series for the last few decades. It also allows for some of the sillier moments from the books—most notably, the character of Stephen King from Song of Susannah—to be ignored completely. It certainly helps the overall narrative arc and makes the story for palatable for the big screen.
Without official confirmation, it’s hard to say for sure. It’s possible King is misdirecting his audience and it’s also possible that Roland will merely obtain the Horn of Eld at some, earlier point in the story in the movies. It does seem certain, however, that the horn will play a more integral role in the movie than it does the books and that Roland will finally succeed in his quest to save the Tower. We’ll keep an eye out for more developments on The Dark Tower, and update you as they come up.
The Dark Tower is expected to hit theaters on February 17, 2017.
Source: Stephen King