Hile, Gunslinger: We Finally Glimpse the Tower

Hello all you lovely, lovely people!

Nikkie and Super Hubs here, back to life and ready to start writing again. We’ll have some more substantial posts this week but today we wanted to talk about something near and dear to our hearts: The Dark Tower!

We’ve been waiting months for a trailer for this damn thing (over a year technically since we first started waiting in earnest when it was announced that the movie would be releasing in FEBRUARY) and finally Maturin granted our request!

Reactions on the internet have been…mixed in that special way that only the internet is capable of. (Which, sidebar: We need to have a conversation, Internet, about how you are failing so hard at the very basics of conversation… But we’ll save that for another day.) The two of us really enjoyed the trailer and are at least AS excited for the movie as we were, maybe even a bit moreso. And we want to talk about why. So buckle up sais—we must palaver.

Nikkie’s Thoughts

I was really nervous but mostly excited to watch the trailer. I watched it about four times when I got to work (as it was released when I was commuting in to the city), and while I do have some slight reservations *cough Jake cough* my excitement mounted with each viewing. Mainly because the gunslinger creed at the end is SO. FREAKIN. AMAZING. Good God.

Now. I have no doubts about Idris Elba being able to play Roland. I never did. It’s Idris freakin’ Elba. Since there are no other actors who look like Clint Eastwood other than Clint Eastwood, and he’s way too old (and crazy)—though we can debate how old Roland really is what with the way the series ends and the fact that times goes all wobbly in his world—why not shake things up and cast a bad-ass like Elba? Sure, it raises questions about how the issue of racial tension would be handled when/if Susannah was brought into the series, but since she and her common-law hubby aren’t in this movie, we don’t have to worry about it yet.

It’s also clear that we’re going for a bit of a gruffer Roland. At least it seems clear to me. Book Roland wouldn’t have pulled a gun on a clearly disoriented child like that, and he’s actually killed children before. So it’s interesting that that’s his reaction when Jake enters Mid-World. This makes me think that this version of Roland is somehow more jaded about his quest for the Tower, even though he’s got the Horn of Eld, which would imply to book readers that he’s one step closer to doing the 100% run of the Tower (oh . . . uh . . . spoilers?). But considering how trailer dialogue implies that Jake has to convince Roland to save the Tower, I feel like he’s perhaps been toying with the idea of giving it all up. So I’ll be interested to see how that all plays out.

Then, of course, there are my complicated feelings about the kid playing Jake. He just looks too old to me! Book Jake is about 11 or 12 years old throughout the series. While they’re probably going to try and pass Movie Jake off as about 13, he looks older than that to me. Maybe I just don’t know how old 12-year-olds look these days, but I feel like it’s not like this. And either way, I feel like 13 is also too old. The fact that Book Jake is barely older than 10 is a major part of his character and his relationship with Roland. Our sometimes anti-heroic gunslinger capitulates between pride and guilt when he watches his young apprentice shed his innocence and boyhood, and I think this is something that would be lost if Jake is arguably old enough to have experienced his first kiss, his first wet dream, his first real heart ache. It’s unlikely he would’ve had any of that at 11 (and he hadn’t in the book); at 13 going on 14, he’s probably hit these milestones. So I don’t necessarily have reservations about Tom Taylor’s ability to portray Jake. He’s just not matching my vision for the character. But I also understand that, much like the reasoning for ageing up the characters on Game of Thrones, audiences probably don’t want to watch a barely pre-teen do and see some of the stuff that Book Jake does and sees.

Finally, I’m just really curious to see how everything is going to play out. They’re obviously taking some liberties, which is fine with me since this is a fresh attempt at a 100% run, and I just want to know what’s going on! So many questions! They’re blending aspects from several books, which has me so curious!!! Gah. I just want the movie. Give me the movie. I demand this movie. And it better be good, or else I will curse the filmmakers for cowards who have forgotten the faces of their fathers!

Super Hubs’s Thoughts

So I started reading The Dark Tower series long long ago. I must have been 11 years old when I first cracked open The Gunslinger and read the greatest opening words in the history of American literature (if you disagree with this sentiment I will say only: Come at me scrublord—I’m RIPPED). I devoured those books; I suffered the long wait between books 4 and 5; I felt the abject horror as the universe shuddered on the head of a nail when King was struck by a car and Roland’s quest almost ended before he came to the scarlet field of Can’-Ka No Rey. I love these books. And dammit, I really like this trailer.

After the trailer was released, I re-read The Gunslinger (both the revised edition and the original, which analyzing the differences between the two is fascinating and worthy of a post) and ya’ll…that book is unfilmable. At one point, Jake gets molested by an invisible succubus, then Roland takes mescaline and fucks it. And much as we all want to see Idris Elba thrusting his manhood into the air, that shit wouldn’t fly. Not to mention how much of the book is inner dialogue, and a good chunk of it is Roland and Jake pushing a handcart through a pitch-black mountain. It’s fascinating reading, but it would not be much good to watch.

I’m very much into the idea of them taking elements from the whole series to build the world. And like Nikkie said, that Gunslinger Creed at the end; chills. I never expected an entirely faithful adaptation and the direction their going just seems very interesting. In the end, I think that’s the best we could hope for. So I’m excited! Keeping my expectations low, of course, but excited nonetheless.

A few musings:

That weird monster they’re fighting in the woods may be an adaptation of the Oracle plot from the book (the aforementioned Jake molestation and Roland dick thrusting).

I love the references to Stephen King’s other books in the trailer.

I’m not entirely sold on Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, just cus I’m used to the character being a grinning, japing type of villain but in the trailer he seems very serious and low key.

A lot of people are complaining about Eddie and Susannah not being in this movie and I’m not really sure why. They’re not in the first book; they don’t have to be in the first movie. I only hope this one is successful enough for us to get them to show up eventually.

So that’s where we at! We’re excited! We hope to eventually see Susannah and Eddie (and Oy?! Although that one may be difficult to pull off) if they can do their whole “movie then show then movie” thing. We’re gloating because Dennis Haysbert was cast as Roland’s dad, which is who we had in our Dream Cast pt. 1 post, so that’s awesome. We’re going to be pissed if they fuck it up.

May we meet on the Path of the Beam,
Nikkie and Super Hubs

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