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Ever since it was announced that Stephen King‘s Dark Tower series was being adapted for the big screen, fans have wondered how on earth the vast, sprawling narrative told across numerous books and comics could be condensed into one feature length movie.

Well, turns out it won’t, not exactly anyway. Entertainment Weekly is reporting that while the film will focus on the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) and the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) as they race each other to the mysterious tower, a whole TV spin-off series will deal with the lengthy backstory that got them there in the first place.

It will adapt Wizards and Glass, the fourth book in the series, which tells the story of Roland Deschain, who goes on to be known as half-cowboy, half-knight the Gunslinger.

And the best part? Idris will feature.

He’s signed on to appear as the older Roland alongside 15-year-old Tom Taylor, who plays Jake Chambers in the film, a boy from present-day New York who harbors a secret, psychic power and is grappling with visions of the tower and the men (and other creatures) trying to reach it.

Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman explains the relationship between the TV show and the movie: “In the movie, Roland is suffering tremendous loss. The most concrete, personal, existential heartbreak a character can have,” he says. “If the movie chronicles his final reach toward hope again, the TV show is the loss of that hope.”

Idris’s Roland will act as a framing device over the course of 10 to 13 episodes, with a younger, as-yet-unidentified actor playing the young Roland.

So far there’s no decision on which channel will air it, though the darkness of the source material, which has led some to compare it with Game of Thrones, suggests it’ll have to be a cable or online streaming partner. Nor do we know if McConaughey will also reprise his role, though his character does feature in the book in question.

So many questions! Make no mistake, though: this IS happening. And with a fifth season of Luther still unconfirmed, we’ll take whatever small screen outing of ol’ Idris we can get.

The Dark Tower hits theaters February 17, 2017, with the TV series expected the following year.

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Filed Under: Idris Elba, The Dark Tower
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.