‘The Dark Tower’: Here Are the Book References You’ll Find in the Movie

     July 19, 2016

The eight-novel magnum opus of Stephen King known collectively as The Dark Tower has long been thought impossible to adapt for the big screen. Writer-director Nikolaj Arcel and the screenwriting team of Akiva GoldsmanAnders Thomas Jensen, and Jeff Pinkner aim to prove that notion incorrect. And yet, with so many moving pieces, characters, and head-tripping concepts packed into the series, just introducing the world(s) to novice moviegoers is going to be a trial in and of itself.

Luckily, EW has a breakdown of just which elements from King’s book series are being pulled into the first movie adaptation. No, it’s not going to be a straight adaptation of the first book, “The Gunslinger.” In fact, the movie version is going to be somewhat of a sequel, continuing the events of the characters in the books but telling their story in a new fashion that will be a fresh approach for both first-timers and veteran fans alike. Today also saw the launch of a new viral campaign for the movie which should have longtime book-readers pretty pleased.


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Image via Sony Pictures

The Dark Tower - which stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and will open on February 17, 2017 – will (sort of) start off where the books ended, owing to the cyclical nature of this story’s mythology. This discussion could get a bit spoilery, so book-readers and non-book-readers alike should avoid if you don’t want to see where the movie and books will cross paths:

  • “The Gunslinger” – Since the book introduces Roland’s pursuit of the Man in Black and his quest for vengeance against him, while establishing his bond with Jake (Tom Taylor), you can expect this core structure to stay intact for the film.
  • “The Drawing of the Three” – Here’s where things start to get a little trickier, what with the introduction of parallel worlds/realities and the notion of a group of individuals acting together with one purpose in mind. However, this book’s main characters Eddie and Susannah (and the events surrounding them) won’t be introduced in the first film but are being saved for a future installment.
  • “The Waste Lands” - Dutch Hill, a rundown mansion in Brooklyn, will serve as a set piece in the first movie. You can also expect a fair amount of screentime featuring Jake’s life in New York, especially since Vikings actress Katheryn Winnick will be playing his mother. Apparently Jake has been experiencing some concerning visions about “a gunslinger, a Man in Black, and an ethereal Tower,” which she sees as signs of psychological problems.
  • “Wizard and Glass” – Other than introducing mystical glass orbs, which McConaughey’s Man in Black uses to track Roland and Jake, most of this novel’s plot will be left out. In fact, the flashbacks to Roland’s life have been set aside for the TV series.
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    Image via Sony Pictures

    “The Wind Through The Keyhole” – King’s most recent tale for the series takes place smack in the middle of the saga, but the only element pulled for the first movie is the concept of fantasy being able to impact reality.

  • “Wolves of the Calla” – The movie will introduce “Manni village, a group of shaman-like spiritualists who know how to navigate the paths between worlds.” A member of the tribe, who assists Roland, will be played by Claudia Kim. Expect the movie to reflect this book’s shift toward sci-fi elements, as opposed to simply magical explanations.
  • “Song of Susannah” - You can also expect the film to venture into New York’s Dixie Pig, a familiar haunt of sorts for violent, supernatural beings. There’s a bit of an aesthetic change here from the book’s dingy, dive restaurant; instead, it’ll resemble a Hellish sort of “Mall of America” complete with The Crimson King’s sigul: a red eye.
  • “The Dark Tower” – Since the ending of this book essentially serves as the beginning of the movie, it’s safe to assume that most of the material preceding the book’s conclusion will be saved for a later film. However, the introduction of The Sombra Group (a business front for a group of rather evil Crimson King supporters) occurs in this book. Not only are patrons of the Dixie Pig seen wearing Sombra employee badges in the movie, but the corporation also serves as the basis of the film’s new viral marketing campaign.

You can find more information on it here, and download their app to your phone in order to find some hidden realities beneath otherwise mundane images. Here’s an example:

For more on The Dark Tower, be sure to get caught up on all of our recent coverage:

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