You can’t have failed to notice that Idris Elba was kept busy over the summer filming the first of the film adaptations of Stephen King’s ‘Magnum Opus’ novel series, The Dark Tower. This is King’s 4,000 page, 8 novel cross-genre work of science fiction, fantasy, horror and western, published between 1982 and 2012.
The newswires went nuts when Elba was first cast as Mid-World’s last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, another character originally written and illustrated as white. However, currently reigning as the World’s Coolest Dude means that, unlike the Heimdall casting when he was just a contender, this one was met more positively and even with some excitement.
Having announced that principal photography wrapped at the end of August, Elba recently confirmed that the edit was ‘coming along nicely.’ The Dark Tower series is the post-apocalyptic story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last member of a knightly order of the gunslingers, who is travelling south-east towards the fey region of End-World. He is searching for the sea of singing red roses, home to the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as the Dark Tower – a nexus point of the time-space continuum. It is the heart of all worlds, but it is also under threat from use of the evil technology of the Great Old Ones. Jake Chambers, a psychic teen from present-day New York begins to have visions of the Tower and all who are trying to reach it.
Distributors Sony Pictures revealed earlier this year that they would premiere their first-look at the first instalment in October at Entertainment Weekly’s EW Pop Fest. But, even still, fans are growing impatient to see footage of the film. Coinciding with Stephen King’s 69th birthday, Media Rights Capital (MRC) – the production company who won the rights – announced confirmation of plans to adapt the fourth book, ‘Wizard and Glass’ as a 10 – 13-episode companion TV series. A 2017 production date with a broadcast/streaming release in 2018 has been proposed. This is the origins story of a younger Deschain’s exile to his home world, his romance and tests of the bond with his friends.
The big news is that Elba will appear in the series as the older Roland in visions of the teen Roland’s future. Teenage Deschain has not been cast yet, which presents a major opportunity for a young black actor. No network is attached yet either. MRC also produces ‘House of Cards’ for Netflix, so there’s a chance that this series will end up there too, since they say that the story’s Game of Thrones-type dark mature/adult content would suit a cable network or streaming service.
The movie’s director, Nikolaj Arcel, and co-writer, Anders Thomas Jensen, are helping to develop the TV series which, if well received, would continue the story of young Roland as a second season, most likely as an adaptation of the Dark Tower comics by Robin Furth. The Dark Tower is slated for a UK release date of February 17, 2017.