The Dark Tower is a 2017 American dark science fantasy western movie directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel. It’s a continuation of Stephen King’s novel series of the same name. The movie stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger on a quest to protect the Dark Tower, a mythical structure which supports all realities, while Matthew McConaughey plays his nemesis, Walter Padick, the Man in Black. Take a look below for 26 more fun and interesting facts about The Dark Tower.
1. Tom Taylor stars as Jake Chambers, a New York boy who become Roland Deschain’s apprentice.
2. Intended to launch a film and television franchise, the first installment of The Dark Tower combines elements from several novels in the eight-volume series, and takes place in both modern-day New York City and in Mid-World, Roland’s Old West-style parallel universe.
3. The movie serves as a canonical sequel to the novel series, which concludes with the revelation that Roland’s quest is a cyclical time loop; the presence of the Horn of Eld, which Roland carries in the movie, indicates that this is the next cycle.
4. The movie grossed $113 million worldwide against its production budget of $60 million.
5. According to an introduction by Stephen King in one of his books, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly along with the Lord of the Rings book series, is the primary influence for his The Dark Tower series.
6. Dr. Hotchkiss, Jake’s psychiatrist, has a picture in his office of the Overlook Hotel, from The Shining, which is another movie that’s based on a Stephen King novel.
7. During one of Jake’s visions at the beginning of the movie, he hears the phrase, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” This is, word for word, the opening line of the first book in the Dark Tower series.
8. Daniel Craig, Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen, Javier Bardem and Mads Mikkelsen were all considered for the lead role before Idris Elba was cast.
9. More references to other Stephen King books were planned, but were scaled back as it became clear that the copyright issues would have taken years to figure out.
10. Roland sees a television commercial with talking raccoons and asks Jake if, “animals still talk here.” This is a nod to the character Oy in the book, which is a talking raccoon-like creature called a Billy Bumbler who Jake befriends.
11. Nicholas Hamilton plays minor character Lucas Hanson. Hamilton also stars in Stephen King’s It as Henry Bowers. An abandoned theme park appears in the Dark Tower, with a sign that says “Pennywise,” along with a balloon sculpture. Pennywise is the clown villain from It, and appears with balloons in the novel and movie.
12. Early publicity stills reveal Easter eggs for Stephen King fans, including a shop sign for “Barlow and Straker’s.” Barlow was the vampiric villain in “Salem’s Lot,” with Straker being his assistant.
13. The Dark Tower is 182 meters, or 600 feet, tall, stands in the eastern land known as End World, is surrounded by a field called Can’Ka No Rey, and is held together by six beams that stretch to the corners of the land and are guarded by 12 massive beasts on each end.
14. After poor test screenings, Sony spent $6 million on re-shoots to help flesh out Idris Elba’s Gunslinger character.
15. The Dark Tower was originally to be adapted to film by J.J. Abrams following his success with the Lost television series. After Abrams backed out, Ron Howard became attached to the project until the rights went to Nikolaj Arcel.
16. When Abbey Lee entered talks to appear as the female lead of Tirana, it caused some confusing among fans of the book series, as the character was originally written as a minor villain with little influence on the plot and doesn’t appear until the final book in the series.
17. Tom Hardy was considered for the role of the Man in Black.
18. At the end of the movie, the Globe Theater marquis reads, “spaghetti week at the majestic.” This is a reference to the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns that Stephen King drew inspiration from while writing the Dark Tower book series.
19. There are Rorschach test pictures on the walls of Jake’s room around the doorway. This wouldn’t be interesting if not for the fact that Jackie Earle Haley, who portrayed a vigilante with a Rorschach pattern for a face in Watchmen, is in this movie.
20. The Main in Black’s ominous whistle can be heard after the credits roll, suggesting that he may still be alive.
21. During their final confrontation, the Main in Black taunts Roland by saying the quest for the Tower always leads back to him. This is a subtle reference to the seventh Dark Tower book, where it’s revealed that Roland has in fact reached the Tower on multiple occasions, and is sent back to the beginning of his quest, hunting the Man in Black, each time.
22. The code for the portal to return to the village was 14-08, as an Easter egg to Stephen King’s other story, “1408.”
23. The main antagonist of the series, the Crimson King, only makes a brief appearance at the conclusion of the last novel. If you pause the trailer for this movie at the 1:50 mark, you can see that the wall the Man in Black walks by has, “All Hail the Crimson King,” painted in red on it.
24. The Main in Black uses both a pink and black orb. In the novels, these spheres are referred to as “Maeryln’s Grapefruit” and “Black 13” respectively. They’re part of “Maeryln’s Rainbow,” a group of 13 magical spheres each representing the beams holding up the Dark Tower, Black 13 representing the Tower itself.
25. Throughout the movie, Jake is said to have the “Shine.” Near the end of the movie, Jake uses the “Shine” and telepathically talks to Roland to encourage him to keep fighting. In both the book and the movie “The Shining,” which is also by Stephen King, characters Danny and Hallorann are able to communicate telepathically through an ability called the “Shine.”
26. Shortly after Jake meets Roland in Mid-World, they start walking and Jake slips on the edge of a cliff. In the first novel, the Gunslinger, Roland lets Jake fall off a cliff in pursuit of the Man in Black. In the movie, he threatens Jake with falling off a cliff, but he doesn’t let him fall.