5 Things You Need to Know Before Seeing ‘The Dark Tower’

Drew Dietsch

The Dark Tower is finally headed to the big screen. Stephen King‘s giant work of fantasy will introduce a whole new audience to this bizarre world. It’s fair to feel a bit intimidated and confused if you’re not in the know. No worries! Here are five facts that will get you up to speed with what’s going on.

What Is the Dark Tower?

the dark tower

The Dark Tower is a structure that sits at the nexus of all realities. It is a magical place that supports the totality of existence. If the Dark Tower falls, then all of reality will be destroyed.

The Tower is supported by Beams. Beams are ancient physical entities that hold up the Tower. There are six beams and two guardians each that protect a Beam. When a Beam is destroyed, a Beam-Quake occurs. This destructive force causes ripples throughout all of reality. If all six beams are destroyed, then the Tower can fall.

Where Does the Story Take Place?

the dark tower mid-world

The story of the novel takes place in Mid-World. This is a mystical realm that has some similarities to places and figures from our own world. Mid-World is also the only world where one can gain access to the Dark Tower. The legendary hero Arthur Eld – the equivalent of King Arthur in our reality – once united all of Mid-World and reigned for seventy years. After his death, Mid-World splintered into multiple baronies.

In the film, young Jake Chambers is able to transport himself from our world to Mid-World. It’s there that he finds the gunslinger…

Who Is Roland Deschain?

the dark tower roland deschain

Roland Deschain is the last of the gunslingers, an ancient order of peacekeepers in Mid-World. Roland’s guns are made from the melted steel of Arthur Eld’s sword Excalibur. Roland is compelled to seek out the Dark Tower for reasons that are mysterious at first but become clearer as the story progresses.

When the story begins, Roland is chasing a figure across the desert…

Who Is the Man in Black?

the dark tower man in black

This figure is the Man in Black. He has many names – Walter O’Dim, Marten Broadcloak, Randall Flagg and others – and is a powerful sorcerer who seeks to destroy the Dark Tower.

He is a servant of the Crimson King, the main antagonist of the series. The Crimson King wants to destroy the Dark Tower and remake all of existence in his image.

Why Is the Film a Sequel to the Book Series?

the dark tower books

Note: This section contains SPOILERS for The Dark Tower books.

The new film is not actually an adaptation of the novels but rather a sequel to the final book in King’s series. At the end of that story, Roland reaches the Dark Tower and steps through a door that erases his memory and sends him back to the beginning of his quest. It turns out that Roland has been questing for and reaching the Dark Tower many times before. Every time, his memories are wiped away and he begins his journey again.

However, the film looks to be Roland’s last journey to the Dark Tower. Whether he will finally be victorious or not will be revealed when The Dark Tower hits theaters on August 4.

Drew Dietsch
Drew Dietsch is an Entertainment Editor at FANDOM. He hosts a weekly film review podcast at his site GenreVision.com, as well as the shark movies podcast Fin Flicks. If you need someone to talk about Jaws, RoboCop, horror movies, or why Batman Forever is highly underrated, Drew is your guy.
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