The Dark Tower film is shrouded in secrecy, as fans have been picking apart every casting announcement and paparazzi set picture to try to figure out just what is going on. The seven book Stephen King series (with an eighth side-story book, a few short stories, and of course, connections in the vast majority of King's other novels) centers on Roland Deschain's journey to the Dark Tower, the nexus of all realities. He gains (and loses) allies along the way in the series, crossing through dimensions and eventually reaching it in triumph.
SPOILER ALERT for The Dark Tower book 7!
However, when Roland's journey is completed, it starts over right where the reader first joined Roland - as it turns out, he's made this journey before, an impossible amount of times, none of which he remembers. After his journey that readers experienced, though, he was given the Horn of Eld, an artifact that should allow him to achieve victory. And that's where these new set pictures of The Dark Tower film come in.
In the new pictures, captured by Just Jared, Roland, played by Idris Elba, is on set with Tom Taylor as Jake (his first companion in the novels, too), a young boy who knows more about the nature of multiple realities than it seems. They're in a modern-day New York, and Roland has a satchel. In his satchel, visible next to additional six-shot quickloaders of rounds for his pistols, sits the Horn of Eld.
This suggests, then, that The Dark Tower the film is not an adaptation of the novel series, but actually a sequel to the books, showing what happens on Roland's next journey to the Dark Tower, not what happened during the one fans have already read. It would be a major twist, and give fans the best of both worlds: an entirely new story set in this world, and the answer to the question of "what happened next?" It would also provide a reason for characters who only appeared in the later books to have been cast - several of the casting notices for the film have been of characters who didn't show up until books 5, 6, and even 7 of the series.
The Dark Tower hits theaters January 13, 2017, providing answers to all these questions and more.