Movies

The Internet Points Out The Major Issue With Idris Elba’s Gunslinger In Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’

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Getty Image / Scribner

As reported earlier, Idris Elba is the frontrunner to play Roland Deschain in the upcoming adaptation of The Dark Tower. The possible casting would put him at odds with Matthew McConaughey’s rumored Man in Black and would put him in the long haul for an epic series of films. Now with this news came the expected comments about race, similar to the rumors about James Bond. But, as many fans of the series have pointed out — especially in the comments of the previous post — Elba’s casting might have story consequences that would transcend those complaints.

Now, if you’ve never read the books, spoilers for parts of The Dark Tower will happen ahead. We’re well past the buffer period on spoilers, but I like the courtesy.

In the saga, Roland is joined by his Ka-Tet beginning the second book, The Drawing of the Three. In it, we meet Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker, an African-American woman from 1964 New York who is left with split personalities after a run-in with a serial killer — the same killer who would eventually cause the loss of her legs. It’s a long-winded backstory, but the result is Roland pulling her into his world and dealing with her personalities: The kinder, gentler Odetta and the racist, violent, sexual Detta. Both merge into one character by the end of the second book, but Detta does return from time to time.

The point for all of that revolves around the idea that Detta and Roland share a very tense relationship that stems from her racist attitudes towards white people. It’s something that many fans have pointed out online, according to The Daily Dot. They point to several comments from online that echo this issue:

And, honestly, these are fine points to make. While it’s not the end of the world to switch race or switch up a storyline for smaller points, problems arise if it mucks up major points in the plot. It’s possible to get creative and work around it, but you’re also changing a tight dynamic that currently exists in the books. The Daily Dot also points towards this Reddit thread, noting that the entire arc for Roland’s character is connected to him being white and Odetta/Detta being black.

At the same time, a few also got upset because a black actor was rumored to be playing a white character. There’s always a double standard of sorts when it comes to outrage involving race and casting, but there’s also a lot of history to back up one side against the other. That said, Idris Elba seems to have constant trouble with this. He’s faced it with his role in Thor, notably hit it with a role he didn’t even have in James Bond, and now has it again with this rumor:

Luckily, it didn’t get too dicey, and plenty of people also felt that the casting was a good idea (and how couldn’t you, really; the man is charm in human form).

Please note, Bendydick Cucumberpatch could not play a proper gunslinger with his frame. The desert winds would cut him like a knife. But I’m open to it, just like I’m open to Idris Elba taking on the role. It’s certainly possible to creatively change the characters in a way that would reflect the casting and still keep the heart of the story intact. Also, nothing is set in stone with anything involving the film, meaning it could all be moot by January 2017 — if the movie even gets made. The track record isn’t good. What do you think?

(Via The Daily Dot and Reddit)

Now Watch: Why Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ Movie Has Remained Unadapted

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