It’s no secret that Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” is a continuation of his eight book series of the same name. The series of novels are a linchpin to his literary universe, with subtle nods and winks to multiple other books.
Many of his “constant readers” have taken the journey to the Tower and include the many book tie-in’s whether they are considered essential reading or not. Having undergone the journey many times myself, I’ve felt first hand the excitement at finding a nod to Roland and his Ka-Tet or the world of the Tower.
With the new movie being a continuation, the rules have changed. Things that were pivotal to the overall story might not bear any importance to the new movie. Below are movie adaptations of works that relate to “The Dark Tower” book series although there have likely been cuts (such as in Hearts in Atlantis). If you do want to take the long route we highly suggest reading the series. Although if you’re looking to understand the extended universe of Stephen King, follow our handy movie map.
The Stand (1994)
“After a deadly plague kills most of the world’s population, the remaining survivors split into two groups – one led by a benevolent elder and the other by a maleficent being – to face each other in a final battle between good and evil.”
Probably the most relevant of all the titles on this list. If you’re curious who “The Man In Black” is, then look no further than the 1994 mini-series. Coming in at six hours long, this is also his longest adaptation. Starring Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, and Jamey Sheridan. “The Stand” is a tale of apocalyptic measure. Sheridan stars as “Randall Flagg,” who in the world of King is also known as Walter O’Din, Raymond Fiegler, Legion, Marten Broadcloak or “The Man In Black”. A constant source of discord in King’s works. If you want to see what he is capable of, “The Stand” is a fantastic place to start.
Although they are very unlikely to ever touch upon it; later in the book series the main characters travel to a world where the virus from “The Stand” has taken hold and wiped out the population. It’s doubtful the movies will cover this. However, it’s a nice touch in the novels to further weave the tapestry and belief that, “there are worlds other than these”.
Salem’s Lot (1979)
“A novelist and a young horror fan attempt to save a small New England town which has been invaded by vampires.”
Due to the movie changing to a story of Roland, it’s hard to say whether other characters from the novels will appear in the series. However in the fifth book “The Wolves Of The Calla” fans of the vampire novel Salem’s Lot saw the reappearance of Father Callahan. Played by James Gallery, Callahan is only a minor role in both the novel and the movie. Callahan would go on to play a much more important role in “The Dark Tower” series. His reappearance in the books further adds’s to the series mythology by bringing information about vampires and other creatures that are chasing Roland.
“In Derry, Maine, seven friends come face-to-face with a shapeshifter, who takes the form of an evil clown who targets children.”
The more eagle eyed viewers of the Dark Tower trailer spotted a heavy connection with IT. Whilst only brief it showed Jake walking past an old sign with the villain Pennywise’s name on it.
The connection between IT and The Dark Tower has always been somewhat confusing. There is “The Turtle” who is an agent of the Beams and an agent for good who tries to guide the children in IT. He is commonly thought to have created the universe and attempts to help the children destroy the evil clown Pennywise later in the novel.
There is also a strong connection between the house on Neibolt Street which will feature in the upcoming movie and novel “IT” and the Dutch Hill Mansion. It’s the later Jake Chambers must use a portal to travel to Mid-World a second time in “The Drawing Of The Three” novel. Both share the same wallpaper and twisting designs that the child characters must traverse.
Whilst this is a tenuous link, there is a character in the seventh novel in the series “The Dark Tower” Dandelo who is a similar creature to Pennywise. However, in Mid-World he has portrayed an emotional vampire who makes people laugh to death.
It might be a weak link, but any excuse to watch the new movie or catch the original “IT” starring Tim Curry is never a bad thing.(This is simply because the new IT movie won’t be released until 8th September). It is worth noting, however, that the 1990 mini-series had no ties to the Dark Tower series.
“When a sheriff arrests a writer, a family, a couple, and a hitchhiker and throws them in a jail cell in the deserted town of Desperation, they must fight for their lives.”
Aside from being a brilliant King novel Desperation also has further villainous ties to “The Dark Tower.” The villain in the movie/novel is a sheriff possessed by a god-like entity known as Tak. Whilst the movie bears little in the way of Dark Tower connections. The novel itself has reference to the Can-Toi (links to number 5 on the list) who are animal/human hybrids and referred to as Low Men.
There’s also the use of a Can-Ta in the movie which is an enchanted animal statue. A turtle shaped Can-Ta is used heavily in the sixth book of the series “The Song Of Susannah”. Once again showing that the turtle is an important creature in the world of Stephen King.
Hearts In Atlantis (2001)
“A widowed mother and her son change when a mysterious stranger enters their lives.”
Hearts In Atlantis the novel is a four part novel. It’s only part one, “Low Men In Yellow Coats” that received the cinematic treatment. Anthony Hopkins stars as the mysterious stranger Ted Brautigan. It is this character who has major implications to the Dark Tower universe. As an exceptionally strong psychic, Brautigan is being chased by agents of The Crimson King. He’s known as a “breaker” who’s sole purpose is to destroy the beams that hold the universe together.
The Low Men are agents of The Crimson King. They also happen to be Can-Toi. Brautigan plays a massive role in the book series going so far as to help save the tower and lead a rebellion against The Crimson King. However, in the movie, the low men are replaced by FBI agents. This removes direct links to the series. With the “The Dark Tower” not shying away from other links to Kings movies it would be a stroke of genius to have Hopkins turn up in a later movie and continue his character’s journey.
The Mist (2007)
“A freak storm unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.”
There are two major connections here, The first occurs quite early in the movie. Protagonist David Drayton is working on a painting before a storm hits his home. Look familiar?
The second connection, whilst never outright mentioned are the creatures themselves. These monster are hinted at in the eighth book in the series “Wind Through The Keyhole”. They live in a space referred only as Todash. This space itself is referenced a number of times in the book series, but it’s in the eighth book where hero Tim Ross must cross a bridge over a thinny (thin space between the worlds) and encounters a pink tentacle. Much like the one in the garage scene of the movie. Furthermore Mrs Carmody’s line “My life for you” is a repeat of one of Randall Flaggs henchmen, “TrashCan Man”’ favorite lines through the book and miniseries.
Yes, you read that correctly! In the fifth novel of the book, “The Wolves Of The Callah” there’s reference to Harry Potter and more importantly Quidditch. The weapon of choice for the Wolves is a small, golden-winged device that uses it’s razor sharp wings to strip the flesh from its target. They also happen to be Golden Snitches. Whilst this means nothing to Roland and the people of Mid-World, it’s another amazing touch to show how close to our world the books are set.
This list is only a small snippet of the overall connections between Stephen King’s works. His novels share multiple locations with Derry and Castlerock. This isn’t even touching upon the idea of “twinners” and other worlds. What do you think of the list? Did we miss anything – sound off in the comments below!