The Dark Tower is a series of eight books which span an entire connected universe which links several other books and stories by Stephen King, including Bag of Bones, The Talisman, Black House, The Stand, Everything's Eventual, From a Buick 8, Hearts in Atlantis, Insomnia, The Eyes of the Dragon, and 'Salem's Lot, with minor references to IT, The Mist, and The Shining.
During the first act of the film, several Stephen King Easter eggs are visible. The twins from The Shining (1980), the hotel from The Shining (but in a photograph), the family (including the dog) from Cujo (1983), and the car from Christine (1983) (as the toy pushed by Jake in his room) are each shown briefly. Toward the end, there is the Rita Hayworth picture from The Shawshank Redemption (1994).
According to an introduction by Stephen King in one of his books, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) along with the "Lord of the Rings" book series, is the primary influence for his book series: "The Dark Tower."
Dr. Hotchkiss, Jake's psychiatrist, has a picture in his office of the Overlook Hotel, from The Shining (1980), another film based on a Stephen King novel.
During one of Jake's visions at the beginning of the film, he hears the phrase "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." This is, word for word, the opening line of the first book in the Dark Tower series.
Daniel Craig, Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen, Javier Bardem, and Mads Mikkelsen were all considered for the lead role before Idris Elba was cast.
More references to other Stephen King books were planned, but were scaled back as it became clear that the copyright issues would have taken years to figure out
Roland sees a TV commercial with talking raccoons and asks Jake if 'animals still talk here'. This is a nod to the character Oy in the books; a talking raccoon-like creature called a Billy Bumbler who Jake befriends.
Nicholas Hamilton plays minor character Lucas Hanson. Hamilton also stars in Stephen King's It (2017) as Henry Bowers. An abandoned theme park appears in the Dark Tower, with a sign that says 'Pennywise', along with a balloon sculpture. Pennywise is the clown villain from IT, and appears with balloons in the novel and movie.
Early publicity stills reveal Easter eggs for Stephen King fans, including a shop sign for "Barlow and Straker's". Barlow was the vampiric villain in "Salem's Lot", with Straker being his assistant.
Based on Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series of novels, which was inspired in part by Robert Browning's poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came."
The chime that plays in the first official trailer is the same one that plays in the two pocket watches in 'For a Few Dollars More", the 1965 Spaghetti Western that teams up Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as two bounty hunters chasing a vicious gang. They then starred as antagonists in 'The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" (1966). Stephen King claims that movie was half the inspiration for 'The Dark Tower'.
The Dark Tower is 182 meters/600 feet tall, stands in the eastern land known as End World, is surrounded by a field called Can'Ka No Rey, and is held together by six beams that stretch to the corners of the land and are guarded by twelve massive beasts on each end.
After poor test screenings, Sony spent $6m on re-shoots to help flesh out Idris Elba's Gunslinger character.
In an interview with Collider, King expressed hope for a sequel film in addition to the television series, suggesting that it should be R-rated, have Roland wearing a hat, and include the "lobstrosities" from The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three. In an interview with Coming Soon, Arcel confirmed that The Drawing of the Three would form the basis for the sequel, and that Eddie and Susannah would appear alongside Elba, McConaughey, Taylor and Haley reprising their roles as Roland, Walter, Jake and Sayre respectively.
Was originally to be adapted to film by J.J. Abrams following his success with the Lost (2004) television series. After Abrams backed out, Ron Howard became attached to the project until the rights went to Nikolaj Arcel.
When Jake is wandering the forest he stumbles across a carnival ride bearing the name "Pennywise", who is the primary antagonist in Stephen King's novel "It".
When Abbey Lee entered talks to appear as the "female lead" of Tirana, it caused some confusion among fans of the book series, as the character was originally written as a minor villain with little influence on the plot and does not appear until the final book in the series.
At the end of the movie, the Globe theater marquis reads spaghetti week at the majestic, this is a reference to the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns that Stephen King drew inspiration from while writing the book series.
Several of Stephen King's other novels are connected to the Dark Tower series, and some of them have been adapted into films. They have all featured actors from the various Star Trek series. The earliest novel with such a connection was Salem's Lot. The first film adaptation featured Julie Cobb, who appeared in the original Star Trek series. The 2003 remake featured Cobb's former husband, James Cromwell, who played the crossover character Father Callahan, and had appeared in Star Trek: First Contact (1996). The Stand (1994) featured Ray Walston, who appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987); and Miguel Ferrer, who appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). Hearts in Atlantis (2001) featured Anton Yelchin, whose final film role was in Star Trek: Beyond (2016), opposite Idris Elba.
Idris Elba appeared the previous year in Star Trek: Beyond (2016) opposite the late Anton Yelchin. Yelchin had appeared in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), which was also based on a Stephen King novel with connections to the Dark Tower series: Anthony Hopkins's character appears in the final novel of the series, and notes that Jake Chambers could easily have been a "twinner" for Bobby Garfield. Elba also appeared opposite Hopkins in Thor (2011).
Writer Trademark: Children. Many of Stephen King's books and TV or FIlm adaptations have children protagonists.
There are Rorschach test pictures on the walls of Jake's room around the doorway. This wouldn't be interesting if not for the fact that Jackie Earle Haley, who portrayed a vigilante with a Rorschach pattern for a face in Watchmen (2009), is in this movie.
When Jake shows Roland the map on his phone, you can see "Barlow and Straker's Anitques" on the map. Barlow and Straker are both characters from Stephen Kings novel Salem's Lot.
There's a few references to popular music (intentional or not), the Crimson King was introduced by Stephen King in 1994, the British progressive rock band King Crimson was formed in 1968. A poster in Jake's room has "The Black Keys"(a US band) in writing. When leaving the diner, Walter mumbles "You ain't seen nothing yet" - the title of a 1974 Bachman-Turner Overdrive song.