Watch: Stephen King's The Dark Tower in 2 minutes

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Stephen King's The Dark Tower is his magnum opus. There were seven core novels, with an eighth later added and more possibly on the way. There were short stories, comic book adaptations and even new comics filling in some of the blanks. There are compendia and countless websites mapping connections. Heck, more than 35 of Stephen King's other books tie directly into the series in some way!

Does that mean you need to read, oh, nearly 50 books and five comic collections before you see the movie this summer? Of course not! Syfy Wire has done it for you, and we've summed up the core story of The Dark Tower in just about two minutes so you have everything you need to know going into the film.

Spoiler alert, of course -- we're going through major plot points here.

You see, The Dark Tower is cyclical -- the journey of Roland Deschain, played by Idris Elba, and his quest to save the Tower from the Man in Black, played by Matthew McConaughey, is one he's done before. That makes the movie itself a sequel to the core novels. While we here at Syfy Wire count this series among King's best works, this primer should cover you until you have, oh, a thousand or so hours to kill.

The Dark Tower, directed by Nikolaj Arcel, hits theaters on August 4.

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