I received a press release this morning with the following:
“Marvel and Stephen King are proud to announce the next chapter in the bold epic Dark Tower series. Coming this September, THE DARK TOWER: THE DRAWING OF THE THREE –THE LADY OF SHADOWS #1 continues the epic story through the eyes of one of the series fan-favorite characters [Odetta Holmes]. Perfect for new and old fans alike, the rich and vibrant world of the Dark Tower series comes alive like never before! New York Times Bestselling writers Peter David & Robin Furth alongside rising star artist Jonathan Marks bring the action from Mid-World to our world in this exciting new installment! The Gunslinger Roland and his companion Eddie Dean, the troubled young man with the ability to open doors to other worlds are now united. Together, they will find the Dark Tower. But first they must locate the 3rd member of their ka-tet, residing in our world. Enter Odetta Holmes, a wealthy Civil Rights activist living in the South. But Odetta has a dark secret, and a darker side. To uncover that secret, we’ll have to go back to the beginning…A bold new chapter begins as Odetta Holmes makes her entrance into this landmark series. Don’t miss Stephen King’s THE DARK TOWER: THE DRAWING OF THE THREE –THE LADY OF SHADOWS #1, when it comes to comic shops and digital devices this September!”
This is obviously a comic book/graphic novel adaptation of the literary series – the second book in the novel series is titled “The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three” – so don’t get too excited. But I mention it because there is a film adaptation of the massive “Dark Tower” series that’s been in some form of development for at least 4 years (I recall writing about it on the old S&A site, prior to 2011). Most recently, earlier this year, Sony Pictures has announced that it had teamed with MRC (the a diversified global media company) to co-finance the film adaptation of the first book in the series, with plans for more, which Sony will distribute, along with a TV series based on the novels.
Also, as fans of the book series will already know, the Odetta Holmes mentioned in the above breakdown of the upcoming new installment, happens to be one of the alternate personalities of Susannah Dean – the paraplegic with multiple personalities, who, by the way, also happens to be a black woman. Odetta was the original name that she was born with – a civil rights activist though more of a pacifist, in contrast to Detta Walker, the other personality. During her time as Odetta, Susannah was the daughter of Daniel and Alice Holmes, a wealthy black couple, living in New York City. At the age of five, the serial killer Jack Mort dropped a brick from a high balcony on Odetta’s head, placing her in a coma. Out of this traumatizing incident, Odetta’s damaged mind created a completely separate, second personality named Detta Walker.
The disparity between Odetta’s two personalities approaches the level of polar opposites. Odetta is a morally righteous intellectual with a significant level of education and class who participates in civil-rights protests. Detta is a violent, base individual ruled by sexual desire and fueled by hatred towards the white people Odetta passively resists. The two personalities are completely unaware of each other’s existence – at least initially. Eventually, Odetta and Detta are forced to recognize each other’s existence, and they then combine to create the singular personality of Susannah Dean.
Initially, years ago, Universal Pictures initially planned to turn Stephen King’s mammoth novel series “The Dark Tower” into a feature film trilogy, as well as a network TV series, with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman, to direct (Howard), produce (Grazer) and write (Goldsman) respectively.
However, Universal later dropped the project over budget concerns, and word on the street was that Warner Bros picked up where Universal left off, with the 3-headed monster (Howard, Graze, Goldsman) still very much spearheading the thing.
Skip to 2012, when it was revealed that Goldsman would soon be delivering an amended draft of the script to Warners, which addressed the budget issues, and if the studio OK’d what he delivered, the project would be good to go.
And adding to excitement that the project seemed to be getting closer to becoming a reality was word that Russell Crowe would be replacing Javier Bardem, who had long been attached to play the lead role of gunslinger Roland Deschain – which wasn’t a big surprise, since Crowe, Howard and Grazer have worked together at least twice in the past.
But the one character we are most interested in, in all this, who also happens to be one of the key characters in the sprawling epic work, is obviously Susannah Dean/Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker, who will apparently be at the center of the next chapter in the book series.
The “Dark Tower” series, which King himself considers his magnum opus, is a cross-genre work, including elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror and western, with 8 novels in the series, published between 1982 and 2012.
Here’s a plot summary: In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of “Arthur Eld”, his world’s analogue of King Arthur. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. Many of the magical aspects have vanished from Mid-World, but traces remain as do relics from a technologically advanced society. Roland’s quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland’s world is said to have “moved on”, and it appears to be coming apart at the seams. Mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Even the sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland’s motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries. Along his journey to the Dark Tower, Roland meets a great number of both friends and enemies. For most of the way he is accompanied by a group of people who together with him form the Ka-tet of the Nineteen and Ninety-nine, consisting of Jake Chambers, Eddie and Susannah Dean, and Oy.
And so the question I’ve always had is, who should play Susannah Dean?