Now that Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is in theaters, you might be wondering if there will be a sequel. Considering the trouble Sony and Media Rights Capital went through to make just one movie, making a second might prove difficult especially if this one flops. The film is based on Stephen King’s massive, eight-book series that also includes short stories and comic books, so there is plenty of material to adapt. At the moment, there’s no immediate plans for a sequel, but there’s been plenty of talk.
First, it’s important to note that the film itself is actually a sequel to King’s work. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Nikolaj Arcel said that longtime fans of the series will understand that it’s a follow-up to the end of the books. The series ended with Roland (Idris Elba in the film) finding the Horn of Eld, which is like a cosmic reset button. At the beginning of the movie, he already has the object, hinting that the film shows his latest journey after another reset.
“The hardcore fans of The Dark Tower series will know that this is actually a sequel to the books in a way,” Arcel told EW. “It has a lot of the same elements, a lot of the same characters, but it is a different journey.”
King’s May tweet with an image of the Horn of Eld also hinted that the movie is a follow-up to the books, rather than a direct adaptation of the first one, The Gunslinger.
Arcel told EW that the whole Dark Tower story is a circle, with Roland always chasing Walter, The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) always being chased by Walter. “Everything fits together. It has a great little power to it. It fits very well into the nature of the entire saga itself,” he said.
The Dark Tower also has a super short running time. The movie is only 95 minutes, which has concerned fans of the books. In a Slash Film interview, Arcel said his film is meant as an introduction to the world for the general public. It sets up future movies.
“It’s not meant to be all the novels and we’re just trying to cram everything in there. So that’s one thing,” Arcel explained. “And the script was really lean and tight. When I got on board, the script was very short, very lean. That’s one of the things that attracted me to it. I said “This is smart.” You start with a lean, mean story and you don’t try to cram everything in there. You just build the basic ideas. And if people enjoy it and if they like this world and these characters, we can start expanding.”
In addition to future films, there’s hope to expand The Dark Tower to television, as King promised in 2010 when Universal was working on it. Back then, it was an easier idea. Universal could make the movies, while sister studio NBC Universal Television Entertainment could make the TV shows. Things changed a lot since then, with the project now at Sony and Media Rights Capital (the company best known for making House of Cards).
In September 2016, Entertainment Weekly reported that MRC and Sony were committed to making a TV series based on The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass, which would be a prequel to the movie. There remains no network attached to the project.
Then, there’s the fact that the film SPOILER ALERT has a pretty definitive ending. As Vulture notes, the film ends with Roland completing his quest to kill the Man in Black and it looks like there’s little chance for the character to come back to life. There’s no end credits scene showing him rising from the grave and we even see his dead body lying on the ground.