For months, fans of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower novels have anxiously awaited the arrival of an official trailer for Sony’s adaptation of the dark fantasy saga. While an early version of the trailer leaked in October, since then, everyone involved in the project has been disconcertingly quiet.
Good news, King obsessives: The wait is over.
The Dark Tower trailer is here—and it’s packed with tantalizing scenes that are sure to spark debate among fans of King’s magnum opus. Check out the official trailer below, as well as nine revealing details we spotted!
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 movie adaptation of the book.
2. Pennywise almost makes an appearance
It, like most of Stephen King’s works, is alluded to a few times in the Dark Tower series. 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.
In fact, there are a lot of similarities in the books 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.
3. 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 series was based in large part on Leone’s movies, that’s a nice touch.
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 Book II: 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. 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. Currently, IMDB doesn’t list either character, so the answer remains a mystery!
6. 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 abandons 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.
In the books, taheen are human creatures with animal heads that serve the ultimate big baddie, the Crimson King. Although taheen appear briefly throughout the series, they only play a significant role in the final book. Yet the trailer suggests these ghoulish are set to cause some serious trouble.
8. Is Gasher Present?
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 downright 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 time will tell!
9. 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. I have to remind myself that it’s a sequel, not a direct adaptation. It makes sense that both minor details and character arcs will be different. In either case, 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 sprawling, haunting universe.
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All stills from "The Dark Tower" via Sony