By now, I’ve made it clear that I am a Stephen King superfan and a Constant Reader. That’s why I’m hoping no one is coming into this story thinking it is a continuation of the nightmare that was Sony Pictures attempt at adapting King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower. There is no Idris Elba as Roland, Matthew McConaughey as the laughably bad Man in Black, nor the inexplicable decision to make Jake the main character. At least not yet.
When the movie adaptation bombed worse than Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers, I was certain that they had poisoned the well enough that no one would touch the Dark Tower property for at least another decade. However, with Amazon going all in on finding the next great fantasy series after Game of Thrones ends, they’ve began pre-production for Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, and now The Dark Tower.
The news came down this afternoon that the new adaptation had found the two series leads of Roland Deschain, the gunslinger, and the elusive Man in Black. I’ll just keep referring to him as The Man in Black because he goes by so many aliases within the King Multiverse that I don’t want to confuse any non-readers here. Donning the dark threads will be Jasper Pääkkönen (Blackkklansman, Vikings) and picking up the six shooter will be Sam Strike (EastEnders, Nightflyers). The first thing that really gets a Constant Reader curious about these castings is that Strike is only 25 years old. This means that they are likely adapting the series out of publication order; which is probably the best route to go for a series.
In the 8 book Dark Tower story, readers are hit with a 400 plus page flashback in Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in the series, about Roland’s adventures at the age of fourteen. While the series never states his actual age, the first three books made it quite clear that he is not exactly a young man and has a weathered face and graying hair. Instead of dedicating an entire season, or more, to a flashback in the middle of the show, beginning with this tale makes the most sense in a narrative fashion.
If the show is successful, it is anyone’s guess how long they would keep things going before presumably having a time jump forward to the events in The Gunslinger, which is the first Dark Tower book. Or, they could be doing like the movie and not following the books at all; which I would have a difficult time believing. Amazon seems ready to do what it takes to have a hit with one of the fantasy shows and having one that is also tied into multiple other genres (no spoilers here!) could give them a leg up on the competition.
As a King fan who absolutely adored the first five Dark Tower books, I would love to see this series done right. As far as those last couple books go…we’ll worry about that when and if this series gets there. Until then, keep it locked in here for more as Roland’s Ka-tet grows with more castings.