The 3 Best Actors to Play Roland Deschain in Mike Flanagan’s Dark Tower Show

Mike Flanagan’s much-anticipated Dark Tower show is still a ways off. So far off, in fact, that casting hasn’t even begun on the show. That hasn’t stopped us, however, from doing his job for him, and figuring out the three best possible choices to play Roland Deschain. Looking not just at looks, but at acting ability and availability, we’re confident that these are Flanagan’s best options when it comes to casting the Gunslinger.

Andrew Lincoln

Andrew Lincoln first rose to fame on British television, in shows like Teachers and Afterlife, as well as the rom-com Love, Actually. But, let’s be honest, you probably know him mostly from his decade-long tenure on Walking Dead. And, with the last season of the hit zombie show having aired in 2022 (not counting its several spin-offs), Andrew Lincoln just might be able to take on Roland Deschain.

andrew lincoln 1

And how would he be as Roland? Excellent. Not only does he have the rugged look and is about the right age, but he has proven himself to be proficient in playing the weary, revolver-wielding cowboy in a post-apocalyptic land. He can put on a drawl (just ask “Coooral”), can perform gunslinging action with a simplicity that fits Roland’s abilities, and looks great in a cowboy hat. Beyond that, though, he can carry a tragic, stoic demeanor better than anyone.

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig is an absolute Hollywood legend, with incredible range. You almost certainly recognize him from his 15-year tenure as James Bond (one which just ran out in 2021’s No Time to Die). Failing that, you might have seen him as the detective Benoit Blanc in Knives Out or its sequel Glass Onion. Relevant to this discussion, though, is his role in the 2011 flop Cowboys vs. Aliens, where Craig played an aging gunslinger trying to unravel a mystery and fight forces much larger than himself. The movie might not’ve been great, but he was great in it.

daniel craig

It practically goes without saying that Craig has the acting chops necessary to play Roland, but also a few other features that define him. He is scrupulous, analyzing; as both Bond and Blanc, nothing gets past him, and he picks up on far subtler cues than you’d expect of his characters, who are routinely underestimated. He can put on a weary demeanor, and can pull off the gravitas that a tragic figure that Roland requires, while still being more than capable of demanding actions scenes. To say nothing of his “blue, bombadier eyes.”

Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen has played a variety of roles over the years, but there is one role which has defined him: he played Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. A performance so fantastic and committed that Viggo’s name is still practically hallowed in nerd-dom circles 20 years later. Beyond that, he has also played the weariest of men in The Road, shown surprising depth in Green Book, and exhibited some range in Captain Fantastic. Despite all this, no role has come close to Aragorn for him… And if he is looking, well, what better chance to finally outdo himself than as Roland Deschain, last Gunslinger of Gilead?

viggo mortensen

Listen, we’re not trying to pick favorites here (except that is exactly what we are doing), but if we were, we’d pick Viggo. We know he has the talent to pull this role off, and the commitment. He already played one of the most legendary “weary warrior” characters in history, and now has aged enough to be in the right range to play Roland. He has a certain brooding intensity that no one else does, an incredible range and depth that even the other two actors on this list don’t quite meet, and a commitment to roles that is unparalleled (let’s move from toes to fingers, though). In short, Viggo Mortensen is the perfect Roland, and Flanagan would be lucky to have him.

But, what do you think? While we are sure that our list is completely objective and very correct, we still want to know what fan castings you can think of in the comments below. In the meantime, we are still waiting to receive thanks from Mike Flanagan’s casting director.

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Graves is an avid writer, web designer, and gamer, with more ideas than he could hope to achieve in a lifetime. But, armed with a mug of coffee and an overactive imagination, he’ll try. When he isn’t working on a creative project, he is painting miniatures, reading cheesy sci-fi novels, or making music.

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