By Anthony Breznican
July 14, 2016 at 05:37 PM EDT

Stephen King fans know — there are other worlds than these.

In Entertainment Weekly’s new Comic-Con cover, we’re venturing into the heart of the mythic structure that binds this multiverse together — delivering an exclusive look at the long-awaited film adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower.

We spent a week on the set in Cape Town, South Africa, watching as this genre mash-up of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, Westerns, and old-fashioned mythology came together. Now, we’re opening the door to this other realm for fans to step through.

The saga spans eight novels (so far), assorted short stories and comic books, and has played out over three and a half decades. The new movie picks elements from throughout these writings to assemble a new take on the story of Roland the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) and his pursuit of the sorcerer known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), who intends to collapse the tower and rule the ruins and chaos alongside a sinister force known as the Crimson King.

For those new to the epic tale, this issue will serve as a trusty primer to guide you through the devastated territory of Mid-World, a place that has “moved on,” where the apocalypse has already struck in its march toward our own.

King’s readers have invested years of their lives following the quest of Roland and his “ka-tet” (or fate-forged family), so while anticipation is high for the Feb. 17 film, anxiety among fans is also intense. There’s pressure to get this story right, even as the filmmakers say they had to change key elements to make the premise work as a film. This issue will provide the first details about how they deconstructed the Tower in the hope of building a whole other cinematic universe from its pieces.

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • 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 Taylor) 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.
  • For King fans, we also have another sneak peak at a separate new film adaptation: a shadowy look at the new version of Pennywise the Clown from next year’s It.

    Over the next week, we’ll also be releasing exclusive bonus stories about The Dark Tower on So keep a beady, glaring eye out for those.

    In addition to The Dark Tower, the Comic-Con issue features a deep dive into the films and TV shows headlining next week’s San Diego’s Comic-Con, including Wonder Woman, the upcoming sequel to Blade Runner, Kong: Skull Island, and much, much more. Pick up the issue here or on newsstands Friday.

    Coming up later Thurdsay on, with new images from the film:

    – Roland the Gunslinger’s aim is true: An exclusive Q&A with Idris Elba.

    – The Man in Black speaks: Matthew McConaughey carries the flag for chaos and destruction.

    – What’s changing from Stephen King’s books, and what’s staying the same.

    Check out the cover below.


    • Movie
    • PG-13
    release date
    • 08/04/17
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