Idris Elba has admitted he’s not sure what’s next for the fledging Dark Tower franchise. The Dark Tower is author Stephen King’s epic fantasy series, where the legendary last gunslinger Roland Deschain is on a quest to reach the titular tower, whilst locked in battle with his enemy The Man In Black.
That’s the short version of the story, which covers eight books and a novella. For years many directors and screenwriters tried to mount a film version, but the size and scale of the project always defeated them. At one stage Ron Howard even planned to make a film and television series side by side, but the risk involved sent most studios fleeing. Sony finally brought The Dark Tower to the big screen in 2017 starring Elba and Matthew McConaughey, but the film was a critical and commercial disappointment, leaving a planned TV series and further films in doubt.
In a new interview with Mashable to talk about his work with Project Literacy, Idris Elba has admitted he’s not really sure about the status of the franchise following the mixed reception to the first movie:
“Yeah, I don’t actually know, if I’m really honest. I do know about the TV series and I’m not sure where we are with that, but I couldn’t tell you what’s going to happen next. As you know the film was sort of mixed reviews, and some loved it and I think some hated it, so who knows.”
The actor also addressed the difficulty of adapting King’s magnum opus, and why he’s not taking the bad reviews to heart:
"Ultimately, everyone has an opinion and that's okay. But I'd imagine with a film like The Dark Tower—if you know anything about the literature—it's a very hard book to digest, and it's definitely a hard book to adapt. Until one of the reviewers that had something to say adapts it and does a great job, well I don't want to hear what they have to say."
While the movie did receive the occasional positive review - with many praising Elba himself - on the whole, it received a weak reception from fans and critics alike. It currently sits at 16% on Rotten Tomatoes - and despite being produced on a modest budget, it still failed to make much of a dent at the box office. This has thrown the future of the series into doubt - and Elba’s admission that he doesn’t know what’s happening next isn’t a good sign.
With IT currently smashing box office records and more exciting Stephen King projects on the horizon (such as Gerald’s Game and Castle Rock), there’s still a chance that The Dark Tower series will be continued on the small and/or big screen down the line. The dense mythology of the source material would be better suited to a mature, big budget TV show anyway and that’s probably the direction that many fans of The Dark Tower would rather see the franchise go.