'The Dark Tower' Movie: Stephen King Suggests It's Not An Adaptation, But A Sequel

Gunslinger Roland Deschain on the cover of the final entry in Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series.
Gunslinger Roland Deschain on the cover of the final entry in Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series. Michael Whelan

Filming on The Dark Tower is underway, with Idris Elba playing Gunslinger Roland Deschain for director Nikolaj Arcel. But while a fair amount of information has already popped up from the production, including leaked, early drafts of Akiva Goldsman’s script (apparently, it sucks) and photos from the set, Stephen King dropped an unexpected bombshell on Twitter Thursday. The Dark Tower won’t be an adaptation of his series, but a sequel to it.

Here’s the Stephen King tweet that forever alters the most appropriate label for The Dark Tower movie:

To explain exactly what’s going on here will require some major spoilers for The Dark Tower series since it involves the ending to the final book, 2004’s The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower.

At the end of The Dark Tower series Roland Deschain reaches the titular tower. It is the nexus of all creation, uniting time and space across multiple dimensions. It also happens to unite all of the works of Stephen King, with characters from his other novels and the author himself interjecting into the grand narrative. This is the conclusion of The Gunslinger’s quest over seven novels.

But when Roland gets to the Dark Tower, he learns a devastating truth: he’s been there before. In fact, he’s made the journey to the Dark Tower over and over, only to be thrown back to the beginning with no memory of his previous journeys. The book ends where the series began, with the Gunslinger once again chasing his enemy, the man in Black (“The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed”).

The only thing that has changed at the end of the book series is that Roland now bears the Horn of Eld, a relic passed down to Roland and originally owned by Arthur Eld, The Dark Tower series’ answer to King Arthur. Though Roland lost the horn at the Battle of Jericho Hill, it has returned to his side.

According to Stephen King’s tweet, the Horn of Eld is once again in Roland’s possession. The movie will show his last journey to The Dark Tower, finally completing his quest in fulfilment of Stephen King’s original inspiration for the series, Robert Browning’s poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” which ends, “Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, And blew 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.’”

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