Actor Idris Elba may not be playing James Bond any time in the immediate future, but he won’t be lacking for work with the confirmation of his latest role. That’s because Elba will be playing Roland Deschain in the upcoming film adaptation of author Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of books.
The Dark Tower series is very important to Stephen King and his fans; the eight books that comprise the story are considered by King to be his magnum opus and the books are referenced in—and, in many cases, connected to—many of King’s other works. However, don’t worry if you’re not an avid reader, as The Dark Tower is still a self-contained story. It tells the journey of Elba’s character Roland, a peacekeeper known as a “gunslinger,” as he searches for the fabled Dark Tower, which is said to connect all universes, for reasons that are slowly revealed over the course of each book.
While these movies may keep Idris Elba’s schedule quite busy, he’s done plenty of memorable roles before now; it’s probably why he was given the lead role in such a big series. Here are some of the more memorable ones (including one that might be one of his best roles yet).
Prometheus: While the film itself received a mixed response, Elba’s role as Janek, captain of the Prometheus vessel and a voice of reason, was better received, particularly for his character’s story arc and development over the course of the movie. While an appearance in the upcoming sequel, which ties it to the Alien franchise, is unlikely, don’t be surprised if Janek’s actions have some sort of influence on the next film’s events.
Beasts of No Nation: A war drama, Idris Elba played the Commandant, the leader of young main character Agu’s guerrilla battalion in war-torn West Africa. An incredibly cruel man, the Commandant horribly mistreats Agu and the other child soldiers, including raping them. Elba received several nominations for his role, winning the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.
Thor and Thor: The Dark World: Playing Asgardian security guard Heimdall, Elba was a stand-out favorite in both films; fans were elated to find out he had singed a multi-film deal, leading to rumors of a solo film, when the truth is that such contracts are actually rather common when a hit and subsequent sequels are expected. It was believed he wanted out of said contract after he called working on Thor: The Dark World “torture,” but later explained he was taken out of context and that his relationship with Marvel is still solid.
Pacific Rim: As Marshal Stacker Pentecost, Idris Elba played the grizzled veteran in the war on the kaiju and foster father to Mako Mori. Everyone who has seen the film remembers him delivering his “cancelling the apocalypse” line better than anything else in the movie, and it’s understandable why; director Guillermo del Toro wanted Elba for the role specifically because he was someone who could command authority without being a stereotypical drill sergeant.
Zootopia: Releasing this Friday, Idris Elba will be providing the voice of Chief Bogo, a Cape buffalo and head of the First Precinct of the Zootopia Police Department. While we obviously can’t comment on his performance for a movie that hasn’t released yet, our expectations are quite high. In addition, this film is a first for Elba, as Zootopia and Pixar’s Finding Dory later this year are Elba’s first forays into voice acting (not counting a very, very brief role in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force).