The greatest challenge to adapting Stephen King's epic tome The Dark Tower has been taking a thousand pages of expansive mythology and making it accessible for newcomers as well as diehard fans of the book. For a while Ron Howard tried to make it all work as a series of movies and potential TV series, but even then it proved to be too much. There's still hope all of that could still happen, but only if director Nikolaj Arcel's $60M film proves to be a hit, and to that end they've totally reworked the story in a way that could prove divisive, because this version of The Dark Tower is taking a totally new approach.
According to EW, who have been dropping images and details all week, The Dark Tower isn't a straight adaptation but a "sequel" to King's series. Sort of. Basically, it will follow the structure of the novels, particularly "The Gunslinger", and include some of the key characters while leaving out some popular ones like Eddie Dean and Susannah. At least for now. Here's how Arcel explains it...
“The hardcore fans of The Dark Tower series will know that this is actually a sequel to the books in a way. It has a lot of the same elements, a lot of the same characters, but it is a different journey...It’s completely circular, cogs and wheels. Everything fits together. It has a great little power to it. It fits very well into the nature of the entire saga itself.”
Okay, so where exactly are we in Roland Deschain's journey? To go into that requires at least one major SPOILER so if you care it's better to stop now. What it boils down to is this: at the end of King's novels the Gunslinger has in possession a certain mystical item. He didn't have it throughout the entirety of the series. Well, when the movie begins he is in possession of it, so automatically this is a brand new adventure unlike any seen before.
So what does King think about these changes? He's down with them, although even he admits it may not work...
“I’m 100 percent behind it — which doesn’t mean it necessarily will work, just that it’s a good way to try and to get into these stories.”
There's a lot more going on with The Dark Tower that you may want to dig into, so check out the rest of EW's coverage for that. Check out some new photos below featuring Idris Elba as Deschain and Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers, and keep an eye out for the movie which hits on February 17th 2017.