Ilze Kitshoff
Anthony Breznican
July 27, 2016 AT 05:40 PM EDT

The journey to The Dark Tower is a long and treacherous one, and over the past two weeks EW has tried to help navigate the way to the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s otherworldly saga.

There’ll certainly be more news on the film before its Feb. 17 debut, including a trailer expected in the fall, but for now here is the complete rundown of stories from our first look at the film, which chronicles the quest of Roland the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) to capture Matthew McConaughey’s The Man in Black before he can bring down the Tower and collapse the multiverse on itself, unleashing a hellscape ruled over by the Crimson King.

High stakes, right?

Roland the Gunslinger is not from our time or place. In his realm of Mid-World, there’s also low and high speech. So what does a wandering frontiersman from another dimension actually sound like?

MARCO GROB for EW

Standing on the horizon of this trans-dimensional landscape is Idris Elba’s Roland Deschain — The Gunslinger — a frontier version of a medieval knight who is thirsting for revenge and haunted by visions of a tower that is surrounded by a field of dusky pink roses. “When we meet Roland he’s a bit lost,” says Elba. “He’s been walking around for a long time, so he definitely feels like a man who’s… coiled.”

Ilze Kitshoff

 

The Gunslinger loathes Walter, blaming him for the loss of everything he has ever known or cared about, but McConaughey says The Man in Black doesn’t return the hard feelings. “I revere him,” the actor says. “He’s really the only true adversary I have. It’s his persistent, resilience to be good and altruistic. He’s very precious to me. I almost don’t want to see him go.”

Two major characters from the novels won’t be in this film, but here’s how the filmmakers created a sci-fi/fantasy/western mash-up version of the rest of King’s books — with a surprise for readers: the film is a covert sequel.

Ilze Kitshoff

A collection of 10 new shots from The Dark Tower film.

Here are King’s own thoughts on the unspoken ways The Dark Tower movie links to his other tales, such as The Stand, The Shining, and It. We rank the connections from “definite” to “ooookay, sure.”

Mettie Ostrowski for EW, Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images

 

The bricks of The Dark Tower are being rearranged, but King fans are naturally wondering: What parts of this series will they actually see on screen? Without spoiling plot twists from any of the stories, here are some of the elements and themes that find their way from page to screen.

An app from the Sombra Corporation, a front for the forces of the Crimson King, allows you to scan EW’s cover and reveal a surprise — the red rose that stands as a symbol for The Dark Tower.

Ilze Kitshoff

 

Hi-res images from the new film, suitable for computer desktop backgrounds and social media headers.

@StephenKing via Twitter

 

In one of the strangest Comic-Con events ever staged, hundreds of fans lined up Friday to collect a children’s storybook that isn’t real and meet an author who never was. The elusive author of the Charlie the Choo-Choo book, Beryl Evans, showed up to autograph them… despite having written it in 1942… and despite having been killed a long time ago in another dimension.

 

Within hours, they were turning up on eBay for between $1,600 and $5,000. So, with the blessing of distributor Sony Pictures, EW is offering those not at Comic-Con a chance to see it for themselves.

For more coverage of The Dark Tower, follow @Breznican.

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