Fans of Stephen King can tell you - The Dark Tower kind of sucked. Actually, you don't even need to be a fan of the series to realize that!
Sony's The Dark Tower was an utter travesty that completely tarnished the legacy of the series and absolutely disrespected its magnificent source material. Yes, we understand it was a sequel/continuation, but that doesn't necessarily excuse its complete and total unfaithfulness. Yes, a lot went wrong with the 2017 movie, but there is still hope for the Amazon reboot!
These are five things that movie got totally wrong, and five things we hope the series will get right.
10 Wrong: The Opening Line
The opening line of The Gunslinger is now iconic - "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." It's such a great line, and we are immediately intrigued and hit with the series' core themes. We've got obvious hints of good and evil. We've got the wonderful desert/Western setting. We've got gunslingers/cowboys. It sets up the persistent chase and the relationship between Roland and The Man in Black.
It raises questions like "Who are these people?" and "Why is the gunslinger chasing the man in black?" And in the movie we have some kids using their minds to generate a beam of energy that hits the Dark Tower. Still raises some interesting questions. Just...ones that aren't as good.
9 Hope: Susannah And Eddie
One of the most glaring omissions from The Dark Tower were those of Susannah and Eddie. Despite being prominent characters in the series, they did not appear until the second novel, The Drawing of the Three. So we suppose we can let it slide. That said, it was still weird to see Roland and Jake without the rest of the ka-tet.
Unfortunately, the Amazon series is looking to be an adaptation of Wizard and Glass. This means that Susannah and Eddie will probably not be in it, as they are not a part of the prequel story. They're one of the most important aspects of the entire story, and we would absolutely love to see them.
8 Wrong: Jake's Death
Readers of The Gunslinger were undoubtedly shocked by the death of Jake Chambers. Faced with the option of leaving Jake to die and continuing on his path or going back to save him, Roland reluctantly chooses the former. It's a major turning point of the series.
It also negatively effects Roland and Jake's relationship later in the series, serving as a major barrier between the two (as you would expect). Of course, there is nothing of the sort in the film. We just get your typical "characters move on to other journeys and adventures" ending. It's lame, it's predictable, and it's boring.
7 Hope: More Mature Content
Look, we're not sadists here or anything, but The Dark Tower series is quite violent. We mean, we just told you that Roland literally lets Jake die in the novel! Aside from numerous character deaths, the series also contains its fair share of graphic violence.
There's nothing worse than seeing a violent and mature story written for adults sanitized into a bloodless, PG-13 movie. It's like when Die Hard dropped all the blood and swearing for greater box office returns! And look what happened to that series! Please, Amazon. Make the series for adults.
6 Wrong: Roland's Time In NYC
Some of the most entertaining sections of The Dark Tower is when Roland is transported to our world. In his world, Roland is the ultimate gunslinger, a nearly flawless man who is comfortable in his skin and his quest. In our world, he is like a little child, completely lost, confused, curious, and scared. It helps rip away Roland's ferocity and fearlessness and presents him as a flawed and relatable figure.
In The Drawing of the Three, he is literally in someone else's skin, a somewhat obvious metaphor for his total lack of security and comfort. And while he does show some trepidation in the movie, he has Jake, who helps acclimate him to our world. It's not nearly as funny or as entertaining.
5 Hope: A Scarier Man In Black
We have nothing against Matthew McConaughey. But he's not The Man in Black. Many people expressed disappointment at his role, as he completely failed to imbue The Man in Black with the necessary mysticism and malice. He was just...a slightly creepy Matthew McConaughey.
The Man in Black is a figure larger than life, and he needs an actor who can do him right. It's tricky, we know, but then again, no one said casting movies was easy! It was recently announced that Finnish actor Jasper Pääkkönen was cast as Marten Broadcloak (AKA The Man in Black) for the Amazon reboot. You might know him from Vikings or BlacKkKlansman. Let's hope he's up to the task!
4 Wrong: The Man In Black's Demise
The Dark Tower took the story in a REALLY "Hollywood" direction, and unfortunately, this meant that The Man in Black received your typical demise. After being wounded, Roland "finds the energy" and does some goofy Hollywood trick shot to defeat The Man in Black. The end. Come on, seriously? That's just insulting.
At the end of The Gunslinger, Roland and Walter sit down for a little chat, and Walter gives Roland a trippy vision of the universe in the hopes of proving his insignificance. When he wakes up from his trip, ten years have passed, and he is sitting next to a skeleton. He believes it to be Walter's, but we later find out that it isn't. It could have made for a gorgeous visual spectacle and a tantalizing cliffhanger, but no. We got a lame trick shot instead.
3 Hope: The Complexity
As it stands, it looks like the Amazon series will be an adaptation of Wizard and Glass. Fortunately, Wizard and Glass wonderfully serves as a standalone story. Unfortunately, it is also a very long and very complex book, and we hope that Amazon has the guts and intelligence to do right by the story. It seems like Amazon is all for complex stories, as they are also making a Lord of the Rings show, and that certainly can't be easy.
And while we have confidence in Amazon, we also can't help but be a little scared, seeing as how the movie was so butchered and watered down. Come on, Amazon! Justify our faith!
2 Wrong: Jake's Entry To Mid World
The thing about The Dark Tower is that it adapted various elements from later stories. One of these elements is the portal that transports Jake to Mid World. In the movie, Jake finds a run-down house and finds a portal, which he enters without too much of a hassle.
It's boring. It's certainly more exciting in The Waste Lands, the third book in The Dark Tower series. In the novel, the portal is a whole process, as the characters enter a speaking circle, Eddie is forced to quickly carve a wooden key, Susannah sleeps with a demon (no, we're not making that up), and Jake must battle the house itself as it attempts to prevent him from traversing the portal. It's exciting, it's original, and it's a heck of a lot better than what the movie gave us.
1 Hope: More Than Wizard And Glass
Like we've said, it seems as if the Amazon series will be an adaptation of Wizard and Glass. But we hope it turns into something much, much more. Unfortunately, The Dark Tower series seems to be in a weird place. While Amazon is producing the prequel series, The Drawing of the Three will be made as a sequel to the first movie (and starring Susannah and Eddie!). So, does that mean the Amazon series is a companion piece?
Is it its own thing? We don't really know. And even if the series is strictly sticking to the prequel, we really wish it wasn't. This sort of expansive story is much better suited for television than film. Especially if the films are going to be as milquetoast and boring as the first.