The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.

Those words begin what is easily one of my favorite sagas in fiction, which has inspired its own line of comics at Marvel and a long gestating film adaptation that’s finally coming to fruition next February. In a nice surprise this week, Entertainment Weekly has centered their Comic-Con issue on The Dark Tower which you can see on the cover below.

The Dark Tower EW Cover

The issue, which looks like a must-buy for the hardcores like me, will contain the following:

  • Exclusive photos, showing the vast plains of Mid-World, the shadowy Dixie Pig hideaway of the demons who infest our world, and the visions of a boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Holloway) who is either the key to saving the mythic Tower or the instrument of its destruction.

  • Revelations from director Nikolaj Arcel (the Oscar-nominated A Royal Affair, and one of King’s lifelong Constant Readers) about where the story picks up, which elements from the novels are being explored – and which are being left out.

  • Elba on the redemption story of Roland, who has “forgotten the face of his father” (or lost his way) in his relentless pursuit of the Man in Black. The actor also comments for the first time about race-swapping the Gunslinger, who until now has always been depicted as white.

  • McConaughey on the loneliness of evil, the reasons his villain “reveres” the hero chasing him, and why The Man in Black has taken a real shine to present-day New York City.

  • Finally, as an extra treat, King himself weighs in on the film, explains what he asked to change in the script, and provides new insight into how the Tower saga connects to some of his other books, like The Shining, The Stand, and one long-ago short story.

Matter of fact, here’s the first part of that issue, focusing on Elba’s Roland, already.

Funny enough, I don’t believe The Dark Tower has a panel or really any presence at all at SDCC. I hope to be caught by surprise though.

Despite its February release date, this film remains at the top of my most anticipated films of the year. And given what I’ve heard about this film’s place in the saga’s canon, which I won’t spoil here, this approach to the material (in contrast to the dual movie and tv project that Ron Howard was developing) seems more appropriate.

I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I aim with my eye.