For months on end now (particularly on the 19th of every month), fans of Stephen King's epic Dark Tower novels have anxiously awaited the arrival of a trailer for Sony's adaptation of the fantasy saga. Although an early version of the trailer was leaked in October, since then, aside from releasing a poster and a few more promotional images, Sony, King, and everyone else involved in the long-awaited adaptation has been disconcertingly quiet about the project.
Although the movie is currently slated for release August 4th, this is the first trailer fans can see through legitimate means. By comparison, the first trailer for Stephen King's It, which comes out in September, was released in March. But now, for good or for ill, The Dark Tower trailer is finally here — and it's full of scenes that are likely to divide fans of King's magnum opus. Check out the footage, as well as ten things we noticed from it (because nine plus one is a kind of 19, right?) below — and share your thoughts in the comments!
Want to learn the basics about Stephen King's The Dark Tower? Read our spoiler-free guide!
1. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining shows up
In an early scene in the trailer, Jake Chambers (played by Tom Taylor) is speaking to a therapist (Jose Zuniga) about his obsession with imagery of a dark tower, a man in black, and a cowboy-like gunslinger. The therapist's swanky Manhattan office is decorated with a picture of the Overlook Hotel, as it appeared in Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining. Nothing sets patients at ease like covering your office with pictures of notoriously haunted hotels! What's particularly funny about this easter egg is that Stephen King himself is known to hate Kubrick's adaptation of the book.
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2. You can hear themes from a classic western
The trailer incorporates the music box theme from Sergio Leone's spaghetti western For a Few Dollars More, composed by Ennio Morricone. Considering King has stated that The Dark Tower was based in large part on Leone's movies, that's a nice touch.
3. Pennywise almost makes an appearance
It, like most of Stephen King's works, is alluded to a few times in The Dark Tower. It's nice to see the trailer hint at connectivity within the King universe with this brief shot of Jake wandering through what looks like an abandoned amusement park filled with floating balloons. We all float in Mid-World, after all.
It's worth also pointing out that the dilapidated house Jake enters in the trailer only to find a portal to the gunslinger's world also has a parallell in Stephen King's It. In the books, there are a lot of similarities between The Dark Tower's House on Dutch Hill and It's House on Neibolt Street — the two creepy homes even have the same, elf-covered wallpaper.
4. The iconic doors from The Drawing of the Three might play a role
Jake's drawings include a picture of three floating doors leading to nowhere — an iconic image from The Drawing of the Three. Although this movie is , for spoiler-filled reasons, a sequel to the books rather than a direct adaptation, many readers are still hopeful that this adaptation will incorporate characters who enter Mid-World through the doors in Drawing of the Three. But, as Roland might say, there will be water if God wills it.
5. Roland doesn't seem quite as driven to reach the Tower as readers of the book might expect
At one point in the trailer, Jake can be heard convincing Roland to continue on to The Dark Tower, warning him that "billions of people will die" if he relenquishes his quest. Roland from the books would never need a pep talk to continue his journey. But, considering this movie is a sequel and not a direct adaptation, readers should probably expect Roland's character, and his feelings about his destiny, to have developed somewhat since the last book.
6. Who's this guy?
At one point, Roland has a very emotional moment with an older man while a voiceover intones an iconic line from the book about 'forgetting the face' of one's father. Who is that man supposed to be? It's likely Steven Deschain, Roland's biological father, but it could also be Cort, the harsh teacher who trained Roland in the ways of the gunslingers. IMDB doesn't currently list either of those characters, though, so all bets are off!
7. All things serve the beam(s)
At one point, the beams that extend from the Tower and 'hold up' all the worlds in existence can be seen. What's particularly interesting about this shot is that it shows all six beams that hold up the world, which seems to imply that at this moment in the story, the tower is reasonably strong —throughout the books, some of those beams collapse, plunging corresponding parts of the world into chaos.
In the books, taheen are human creatures with animal heads that serve the ultimate big baddie, the Crimson King (essentially, The Dark Tower's equivalent of Sauron from Lord of the Rings). Although taheen appear briefly throughout the series, they only play a significant role in the final book, but the screenshot above from the trailer might depict some taheen doing their best Orc impression and getting ready to raise heck.
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9. Is that Gasher?
At one point, we see Jake grabbed by a mysterious figure and dragged towards a city that appears to be burning — possibly Tull or Lud or maybe even the Callas. It's worth speculating that whoever steals Jake could be Gasher, an objectively disgusting character from the book who serves as a lackey to the villainous Tick-Tock man. I doubt Tick-Tock himself will make an appearance, since the trailer clearly sets Randal Flagg (played by Matthew McConaughey) up as the main villain, but Ka will tell!
10. This truly is a different time around
Throughout the trailer, I found myself noticing, and cursing, the moments that reveal how different this movie might be from the books. But I have to keep reminding myself that it's a sequel, not a direct adaptation. It makes sense that both minor details (such as how Jake gets to Roland's world through the Dutch Hill Mansion) and larger character arcs will be a little different. Regardless, it's nice to see a Dark Tower adaptation finally come to fruition after years of false starts. Hopefully this first film performs well enough to warrant a further exploration of King's universe — and an introduction of the entire ka-tet.
All images from Collider via Sony