The Dark Tower: What Stephen King Wants to See in an R-Rated Sequel

Den of Geek spoke to Stephen King about The Dark Tower movie and what he'd like to see in a potential sequel.

Idris Elba in The Dark Tower
Photo: Sony Pictures

This Dark Tower article contains spoilers.

Although Stephen King published the first Dark Tower story, “The Gunslinger,” in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in October 1978, it was decades before anyone even considered turning the writer’s 8-book series into a blockbuster movie franchise. A lot of that had to do with technology, of course. There was a time when The Dark Tower series, which takes place in a universe full of grandiose settings, high fantasy, and strange machines was thought impossible to adapt. Certainly, if The Dark Tower movie had come out in the 80s or 90s, some parts of King’s vision would have been unable to become a reality. 

Thanks to heavy doses of CGI, this is no longer the case. The Dark Tower has finally come to the big screen. While reviews were less than favorable, neither Sony nor MRC show signs of slowing down. In fact, the prequel TV series is still in the works under the watchful eye of showrunner Glen Mazzara. There’s a chance that The Dark Tower franchise could return to the big screen, too. After all, the movie, which was made on a $60 million, made back its money and then some with a global take of $107 million as of this writing. Will that be enough of a profit to greenlight a sequel? It could go either way at this point.

If we were to get a sequel, what might see we in The Dark Tower 2?

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Naturally, we decided to go straight to the source for the answers. At a press event back in August, we caught up with King and talked to him about what elements of the books he wishes had made it into the movie and what he hopes might show up in a potential sequel.

“Well, there are things that I think the hardcore fans are going to wish were in the movie,” King told Den of Geek. “All I can say is, if the movie’s a success, there will be a sequel.”

With a runtime of only 95 minutes, The Dark Tower is quite economical in its storytelling. Many of the narrative decisions proved to be a bit controversial in terms of what’s missing from the movie and how events have been remixed in this “sequel” to the book series. (If you remember, the final book ends with Roland’s quest starting all over again.)

King paints a pretty intriguing picture for the sequel, though. While he stressed that he doesn’t decide what’s in the movies, King did mention a few things he’d love to see in the next one.

“I’d love to see those doors into our world — and there’s some of that in this movie,” King said, referring to the portals in The Drawing of the Three, the second book in the series, that lead Roland to Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes (later Susannah Dean). Eddie and Susannah join Roland’s ka-tet (the group that travels with the gunslinger to the Dark Tower), along with Jake Chambers and Oy the Billy-Bumbler.

That’s not all King would like to see from The Drawing of the Three, either: “I would love to see Roland on the beach with those lobstrosities.”

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The lobstrosities appear early on in the book. They’re monstrous creatures that look like a cross between scorpions and giant lobsters. When Roland encounters these monsters, they attack him and claim two of his fingers, one toe, and a chunk of his calf. Their bites are also poisonous. Yes, Roland is a little worse for wear after this particular fight. 

How willing Sony would be to get rid of two of Idris Elba’s fingers in the sequel remains to be seen. Perhaps don’t bet on it. Elba looks damn good dual-wielding his sandalwood guns. 

When asked if he thinks elements from The Drawing of the Three will definitely make it into the sequel, King answered simply, “I think that would probably happen. I think that would be the logical place to go.” 

This echoes what director Nikolaj Arcel told Cinemablend about what parts of the series the potential sequel would adapt: “The best way to continue the series, if we are lucky enough to continue, would be with what is actually book two, because now the other characters start coming into the story. They start gathering the band of heroes. This is really only trying to encompass novel one, with elements from some of the other novels.”

Arcel also confirmed that Eddie and Susannah would show up in the next movie. “Yes. Of course. There’s no way you can continue the story without bringing them in.”

One thing that King did emphasize during our talk was that he hopes the next movie will be rated R, which would ultimately allow the filmmakers to adapt some of the series’ darker material. King said that the rationale behind making the first movie PG-13 was to make it more accessible to general audiences and not just diehard adult fans. 

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“I was totally signed off on that,” King said concering the PG-13 rating. “I think it’s the right thing to do. I want as many people in the tent as possible for all kinds of reasons, part of it having to do with the dynamic between the gunslinger and the boy because I think that’s a father and son relationship. But I’d love to see the next picture be R.”

Of course, neither a sequel or an R rating for The Dark Tower 2 have been confirmed. It remains to be seen if Sony will want to invest in a second movie despite the very cold critical reception. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more. 

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