Today, a very rough version of a trailer for the movie adaptation of Dark Tower leaked. It’s clearly a long way away from being ready to be seen by actual audiences, but it still tells us a bit more about the way this movie is updating Stephen King’s series.
The trailer focuses much more on Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) than on either of the bigger stars in the movie: Idris Elba as Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as Walter Padick (the man in black).
In the original book published in 1982, Jake’s original home time period was 1977. Unsurprisingly, that’s been updated to New York City in the 2010s. In the trailer, we see that Jake is having a number of dreams/visions that cause him to draw a) a dark tower, b) a gunslinger and c) a man in black. James walks down a street, and sees a threatening figure. If there were more cars around, this would be very clearly a reference to one of his book fates.
Jake tells his therapist he sees “fire, darkness, a man in black” every night and “millions of people, they die”. He continues, “I feel like I’m supposed to do something, I don’t know what that is.”
He also has a drawing that leads him to a house that contains technology that opens a portal to what I’m assuming is the movie version of Mid-world. He jumps through the portal, so I’m also guessing the original way that Jake ends up encountering Roland in the books (by dying) has been altered a bit for the movie. More than that, the weird “visions” that James is having could be this film’s way of showing him remembering the timeline where he died by being pushed into traffic and living in the timeline where he continues to live.
All of which would mean that this movie has a lot more of The Waste Lands in it than the first book, The Gunslinger. We’ve always known that the plot of the first book wasn’t forming the spine of this one and that the fourth book didn’t fit the “modern day” bill. So maybe the third book is the one that holds the most clues to how the movie will look.
After he activates the device, James meets Roland in a desert where he has fallen. Roland asks who he is, and James says that his dreams told him that Roland was the only one who could defeat the Man in Black. We see Roland shoot with a gun in each hand in what looks like a forest and in a burning village of some kind. He and James travel together a lot — on a beach, down a street in New York City. But we don’t see the father-son bond the two developed in the books.
“Did you tell the kid that everyone who walks with you dies by my hand?” asks Walter. He’s in some kind of library when he says it. And the there’s a shot of him grabbing a woman’s face and covering her mouth. Like killers do so that they can’t scream. We also see Walter walking around modern New York — there is a lot more New York City than Mid-land in this trailer.
The beginning of the trailer, which focuses on James and his dreams, has psychological thriller feel to it. It’s helped along by the use of a whispery, piano-backed version of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes”. The end of the trailer is much more action-based. With fire and gun play and a big old monster roaring. “The war ended, and we lost,” says Roland to James on a roof in New York City.
James: “Your world might be gone, but mine isn’t.”
But the best part of the trailer, from a fan perspective, is the very end where Idris Elba’s voice saying part of the Gunslinger Litany: “I do not aim with my hand, I aim with my eye. I do not kill with my gun. I kill with my heart.” Even unfinished, the trailer is pretty exciting. Mostly Elba, who knows how to fill a screen with his presence. However, there needs to be more McConaughey as the man in black to make it really satisfying.