First, a bit of background. As you might have guessed, I'm a semi-fan of Stephen King's The Dark Tower book series. Truth-be-told, I had yet to discover Stephen King before early 2014... thanks to Twilight fangirl Nutty Madam's video Fuck You, Stephen King, and consequent commentaries on YouTube. Anyway, I started with The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, and I could already feel King's imagination taking hold. "The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed" did for me what a novel's opening line should do: hook me on the instant I start reading; a few words in one statement, and already I knew quite a bit of the story. During the Gunslinger's pursuit of the Man in Black, he is accompanied by a young boy. But not before a rural town the former stays in immediately turns against him, forcing him to discharge his twin firearms. Should the Gunslinger manage to make it out alive, his continuing journey leads up to a climactic battle with our main antagonist. [And that's as far as I can go without spoiling.] Bottom line, Dark Tower: the Gunslinger is the reason I still even care about Stephen King's writing. 3 years before the film was announced, the themes and ideas the series presented were already cool. And so there was no doubt in my mind I'd get psyched the instant I heard a film adaptation was in the works.
Now for the upcoming film. I recently saw the trailer, and learned that the Gunslinger was going to be African-American. Honestly, I couldn't help feeling a little jarred by this. Now, before I get accused of being racist or something, let me clarify: my concern is not inherently with the ethnic background; my concern is with what I know about the Dark Tower series. On various front cover designs of the novels AND in the Marvel prequel comics—from The Gunslinger Born to Battle of Jericho Hill (BTW if the latter catches your eye, hopefully you've read Books 1-4 beforehand; flashbacks used as plot points in them were unified with the comics' main plots)—the Gunslinger himself is a somewhat slender Caucasian brunette in cowboy attire, not an African American in a black coat going hat-less. But if this comes off as a major complaint to you, let me assure you it's not. I know changing a character's racial backgrounds is not the end of the world (hell, it didn't hurt when the Green Lantern underwent that change), but whenever handling adaptations or tie-ins, source material is pretty important to consider. Just needed to get that out there.
Now seeing as the movie has only been previewed, the actual quality is indeed still in question. So after seeing the trailer I looked to Wikipedia; it tells me that the film will combine elements of The Gunslinger and The Wastelands (Book 3), with a side of Wind Through the Keyhole (Book 4.5). Honestly, I find it an okay idea, ON PAPER. Apparently the movie is unifying elements from 2 novels in order to be its own take on the series, and honestly, there's nothing inherently wrong with that. All the movie needs now is quality pacing, characterization, and knowing which messages to send to make the idea(s) work. Get those right, and I can definitely overlook the big recalibrations.
If there was anything I really liked about the first official trailer, it was what the dialogue established. So, the Tower connects two worlds. Apparently the Man in Black plans to destroy the tower; if he succeeds, it will not only sever the connection, but cause both worlds to fall apart. The books might not clarify this until The Wastelands. But bottom line, it details the threat just enough make me root against the main villain, and kind of get invested in the Gunslinger's plight. So at least the trailer did something right.
Dark Tower: the Gunslinger is a movie I sure as hell want to like. And if anyone else out there who has read The Dark Tower before the film was previewed was also jarred by this adaptation's changes, all I ask of you is to stay calm and keep an open mind. Again, movies don't bomb already when a racial background is tweaked or one unifies plots from two novels. The fact of the matter stands, you never know how bad or good a movie is until you actually watch it. (Or at least heard from those who actually saw it.) Thank you.