Stephen King just gave away a secret about the upcoming adaptation of The Dark Tower that I would have though was totally off-limits.
But since he did, let”s talk about it.
First, this entire piece is very, very spoilery. But unless you”re already at least vaguely aware of King”s Dark Tower series, you may not be able to fully decipher what I”m about to lay out. There are lots of times when I read something or learn something about a film that I decide instantly to never reveal, because I have erred in the other direction often enough to have lost friendships over it. There are filmmakers who I like and admire who simply will never speak to me again because I spilled the wrong beans at the wrong time, and I can”t blame them. That”s their work, and they have every right to be upset about whatever they want to. I never do it to hurt a film, but I have certainly done it enough times to know that doesn”t matter what my intentions were.
This time, it”s Stephen King dropping giant spoilers, and as such, I feel like now we can finally talk about the thing I find most interesting and exciting about Nikolaj Arcel”s upcoming film The Dark Tower, with a screenplay credited to Arcel, Akiva Goldsman, Anders Thomas Jensen, and Jeff Pinkner. There have been a lot of drafts of this thing, and a lot of different ideas about how to handle the adaptation. It”s an incredibly dense piece of work, over 4000 pages of books that are augmented by prequel comic books and short stories and all sorts of connections out to the rest of Stephen King”s work, tying together one of the largest shared universes of modern fiction. I still remember when the first time I heard of The Gunslinger was when it showed up in the list of “Other Work” in the front of one of King”s novels. It was a limited-run book that I had to track down, and it cost me an arm and a leg, and I loved it. I loved that it was part of a larger story, that it picked up in media res, and that it was a promise of something more.
As King would occasionally revisit the story and add new chapters to it, I started to worry that he would never be able to finish it. When he actually did finish it, part of the fun was the reveal that the story was, in some ways, never-ending. Roland Deschain, the gunslinger who will be played in the upcoming film by Idris Elba, has been on his quest for his entire life, and that life is much longer than we originally realize as we”re reading the story. There is a circular element built into the narrative, and one of the things that sold me on the story as a whole was the way it ended without truly ending. The material makes it clear that Roland has repeated the entire journey to the Dark Tower more than once and he”ll most likely continue to do it, over and over.
Or at least until he picks up the Horn of Eld and brings it with him.
Oh…wait a minute… let”s look at King”s Tweet from earlier:
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