Amazon's The Dark Tower TV show casts Sam Strike and Jasper Pääkkönen in the Stephen King adaptation as the Gunslinger and Man in Black, respectively. The Dark Tower is based on the Stephen King book series of the same name and it's been a long road to production. Serious news of a Dark Tower adaptation first began to circulate all the way back in 2010 with Javier Bardem or Viggo Mortensen rumored for the main role. This ultimately came to nothing and The Dark Tower was banished to the dark land of development hell for several years.
Excitement was renewed however when plans were finally firmed up to adapt King's massive novels into both a movie and TV franchise, with the movie to precede the television series. Idris Elba was cast in the role of the gunslinger Roland and Matthew McConaughey landed the role of his antagonist the Man in Black on the big screen. Unfortunately, the cinematic Dark Tower, which was released in 2017, was a critical and commercial failure and the possibility of a TV series seemed very unlikely. However, The Dark Tower is still coming to TV even though it'll no longer have any connection to the film.
According to Variety, Jasper Pääkkönen and Sam Strike have been cast in Amazon's pilot for The Dark Tower series. The 25-year-old Strike will play a young Roland Deschain aka. The Gunslinger. Meanwhile 38-year-old Pääkkönen will be playing the Man in the Black, who goes by many names including Randall Flagg and Marten Broadcloak. Strike is known for his work in EastEnders, Mindhunter and Timeless. Meanwhile Pääkkönen's most recent significant role was in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansmen.
While Amazon declined to comment on the casting, Strike and Pääkkönen's involvement makes it strikingly obvious the TV series is no longer set in the same continuity as the movies. However, The Dark Tower TV series will still be set in the time period that it was originally planned. The show was always meant to be a prequel to the movie showing Roland's first encounter with the Man in Black. It was never necessary for McConaughey to reprise his role in the series as the Man in Black is a notorious shapeshifter. It's obvious, though, that Strike's Roland will never grow up to look anything like Elba.
The casting and vague description for the TV series suggests The Dark Tower will directly adapt the fourth novel in the series, Wizard and Glass. Wizard and Glass primarily takes place decades before the bulk of the series and explores how Roland turned into a grizzled gunslinger. Whether the series will flashforward to Roland's older days eventually or just follow Strike's version throughout the series remains to be seen. However, Amazon's adaption is reportedly aiming to be a more "faithful" adaptation than the movie.
If The Dark Tower does get a series order, it will be another big step in Amazon's ambitious original programming. The streaming service has already found success in adapting the book series of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and Bosch. It will also launch a Lord of the Rings TV series likely before or during 2021. It's likely, though, that The Dark Tower will be the first major fantasy series to hit the platform since details about Lord of the Rings are still being worked out. Regardless of its release date hopefully Amazon's The Dark Tower will have a larger impact than the film franchise.