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Report: Idris Elba could be the world's last, grizzled cowboy in The Gunslinger

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed

Idris Elba is the current favorite to portray Roland Deschain in the movie adaptation of Stephen King's novella, The GunslingerDeadline reports.

According to the report, Sony Pictures and Media Rights Capital haven't signed the actor, and Deadline notes that those behind the movie chose not to comment.

It's also worth noting that filmed versions of The Dark Tower have been in and out of production for years at various studios, sometimes as movies, sometimes as miniseries, sometimes involving Ron Howard as director, sometimes J.J. Abrams. The latest plans put Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel in the director's chair and cast Matthew McConaughey as the protean man in black.

Elba's credits include Marvel's Thor series, Pacific RimPrometheus, the upcoming Star Trek Beyond as well as the BBC's Luther and HBO's The Wire. Previous actors associated with Roland's role include Javier Bardem, Russell Crowe and Viggo Mortensen.

All of the actors previously rumored to assume the mantle of gunslinger — as well as all of the illustrations that appear throughout the series' seven novels, like the one pictured below — portray Roland as white. Elba, a black British actor, would offer a different visual interpretation on screen. And it might not be the last time he does that. The actor was also rumored earlier this year to succeed Daniel Craig as James Bond.

King wrote The Gunslinger when he was 19 (a number that Dark Tower fans will recognize as important) but didn't publish it until years later — though as fans of the series and King know, he was, in a very real sense, always writing it. He completed The Dark Tower series proper, which blends elements of science fiction, fantasy, comics and trippy metafiction, in 2004 with The Dark Tower. It continued beyond the final novel in comics and a 2012 King novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole.

Roland from the Dark Tower stands with a rose in his hand and a cowboy hat on the cover of The Dark Tower book 7 Art: Michael Whelan/Grant Publisher Inc.

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