Perhaps the biggest shame with The Dark Tower movie adaptation is that while it might (hopefully) prompt some to pick up the books, it's more likely to put others off; it's a messy telling of an epic and truly brilliant story. Too much is left unexplained, and with a running time of only 95 minutes, it could never have been any other way. If director Nikolaj Arcel had taken just the first novel, and brought that to life, three hours would probably only just about be time to do that one story justice. But let's not forget that "The Dark Tower" is a masterpiece, and the tie-in TV series could be the start of something really great; a good ten episode arc or more to tell Roland's origins could then pave the way for more of the "Dark Tower" novels to be brought to life in subsequent seasons. Moreover, one of the best elements of "The Dark Tower" is how it ties into so many other King's works, and that could also be fun to explore on screen.
As well as reading "The Dark Tower" series, if you want to get the full experience, it's worth reading The Stand and Salem's Lot first. Randall Flagg, another one of the Man in Black's alter egos, is the main antagonist in The Stand. If you want to read all the novels he appears in, you'd also need to take in The Eyes of the Dragon, Hearts in Atlantis, and Gwendy's Button Box, too. In Salem's Lot - said to be King's favorite of all his books - Father Callahan leads a desperate fight against the evil vampire, Kurt Barlow. Father Callahan's story is then continued in "The Dark Tower" novels five and six, Wolves of the Calla and Song of Susannah. It's helpful to be able to make that connection when he appears, since he plays an important role and so does his background.
After you've finished all of those, you might want to dig into some other connecting King novels, too. There are many; the author has cleverly woven almost all of his works into each other somehow, with varying degrees of separation. For example, in "The Dark Tower," a psychic vampire named Dandelo appears. He is not the same person as Pennywise, the clown from IT, but many King fans assume him to be the same species, and The Dark Tower movie picked up on this. Danny Torrance from The Shining is mentioned in "The Dark Tower," as is Cujo. Again, these connections were both featured in the movie and the trailers. Low Men appear in UR, are assumed to appear in From a Buick 8, and The Regulators (though the term is not used).
Many other characters, places, phrases and meanings that King first used in 'The Dark Tower' series are carried over into stories such as 'Insomnia,' 'The Shawshank Redemption,' 'Pet Semetary,' and 'Cell.' Finally, The Crimson King is known as Satan in our world, and King has worked him into many tales, including 'Insomnia' and 'Hearts in Atlantis.' Once you've gotten to grips with the wealth of characters and places that King delivers in 'The Dark Tower,' all of the above books are also worth reading, just so you can give a wry smile when you know exactly who or what the author is referring to. So, if The Dark Tower movie didn't entertain you as much as it should have, there's always the library.
- The Dark Tower (2017) release date: Aug 04, 2017