It’s recently been learned that Sony’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series is not a standard adaptation, confirming an important fan theory about the movie. (Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t finished the books!)
Director Nikolaj Arcel has officially revealed that his take on The Dark Tower isn’t an just adaptation of the novels, it’s also a sequel. In an interview with IGN, Arcel dropped this bombshell:
“It is, in fact, a continuation. It is actually a canon continuation. That’s exactly what we intended and what Stephen King signed off on. What really got me excited was when he tweeted ‘last time around’. It was just so cool.”
The tweet that Arcel was referring to can be seen below:
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
How does this story serve as being both an adaptation of the books and a sequel in its own right? That boils down to the twist ending of the final book in the series. After killing the central antagonist – the Crimson King – protagonist Roland Deschain finally arrives at the Dark Tower, only to discover that he’s been there before. Deschain realizes that he’s been on this quest multiple times, and that the only way for him to protect existence is to continue to loop through another cycle of his quest after losing his memory. However, the series ends with a major change to this loop – Deschain possesses the Horn of Eld, something he didn’t have in the previous iteration of his quest, which serves as a sign that he is closer to atoning for his troubled past.
On paper, this is a pretty clever way of telling a new story while bringing some of the more memorable story elements of the book to live-action, but it remains to be seen if The Dark Tower can live up to the promise presented by Stephen King’s beloved series of novels.
The Dark Tower will loom over theaters on August 4, 2017. Its cast includes Idris Elba as Roland “The Gunslinger” Deschain, Matthew McConaughey as Walter “The Man In Black” Padick, Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers, Katheryn Winnick as Laurie Chambers, Jackie Earle Haley as Sayre, Fran Kranz as Pimli, Abbey Lee Kershaw as Tirana, Michael Barbieri as Timmy, Claudia Kim as Arra Champignon, José Zúñiga as Dr. Hotchkiss, Alex McGregor as Susan Delgado, Nicholas Hamilton as Lucas Hanson, and De-Wet Nagel as Taheen Tech.
Stephen King Adaptations Hollywood Needs To Get Right
With The Dark Tower and It, two of King’s most famous and beloved works, reaching the big screen, it feels like the gates are opening on a new age of Stephen King adaptations
Already we’ve seen 1) a new Carrie movie, 2) Under the Dome and 11/22/63 get TV adaptations 3) Netflix’s upcoming Gerald’s Game, 4) a TV series based on the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, 5) Josh Boone looks to make Revival his follow-up to X-Men: The New Mutants, 5) a new version of Hearts in Atlantis is in the works (just called Hearts) and 6) a Cujo remake, with the amazing title of C.U.J.O. Even Cell got made, plus a personal favorite of mine The Mist is back in the form of a new Syfy series airing later this year (based on both the original novella and Frank Darabont’s superb 2007 film).
Our age of cinematic universes feels tailor-made for the world-renowned author. King is known not only for his productivity but for how his stories interlock together in the same universe (multiverse, if you want to get specific). His entire oeuvre is connected by characters, locations, and events, all centered around the literal and figurative Dark Tower, the structure and book series sit at the center of King’s worlds. Of course, no one entity owns the rights to all of King’s works, so we won’t be seeing, say, Pennywise the Dancing Clown say hi to Idris Elba’s gunslinger in a movie anytime soon, but it speaks to King’s continued relevance.
There are, of course, the adaptations that are sacrosanct and need to no update, plus others where we are simply waiting to see if they happen. Speaking of Darabont, he delivered a trilogy of amazing King adaptations in my opinion between The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. Rob Reiner also mastered the artform, giving us Stand by Me and Misery. There’s already a perfectly-good The Dead Zone movie and TV show. The Tommyknockers and Desperation got the miniseries treatment in 1991 and 2006, respectively. The latter came with a teleplay by King himself, while the former was announced for a new miniseries back in 2013 along with Rosemary’s Baby, the failure of which may have something to do with the radio silence since the announcement. The Shining is actually not one, with King famously disliking the Stanley Kubrick film enough to make a miniseries of his own to “correct” the record (and a Shining prequel is first on our list).
While some works defy or seek re-adaptation, the breadth of the man’s work means there’s plenty of new stuff to mine in the coming years as well. Click Next to learn which to watch out for!
Honorable mentions: The Dark Half, Dolores Claiborne, Apt Pupil, Dreamcatcher