Stephen King's It Reviews

The question is not “Are we getting an It sequel?” The question is “When will Warner Bros. and New Line get around to actually greenlighting the sequel now that the first movie made $123 million in its opening weekend, earned rave reviews, and literally ends with the promise of a follow-up?”

While we await official word, we’ve gone ahead and compiled everything we know about the It sequel so far. Some of this comes from interviews and coverage /Film has reported, some of this comes from other outlets, and some of this comes from knowledge of Stephen King‘s original book, which has hundreds and hundreds of pages of unadapted storyline left to explore.

Naturally, there are spoilers for the first movie ahead, along with some minor spoilers from the book.

Stephen King's It Featurette

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up

While all seven members of Derry, Maine’s “Losers’ Club” survive the summer of 1989 and defeat Pennywise the Dancing Clown (or rather, It), they have another fearsome foe to face: growing up. Stephen King’s original novel frequently flashes back and forth between two storylines, one where the kids battle It (in the ’50s in the novel) and another where they reunite 27 years later (in the ’80s) to finish the job. The 1,200 page book simply offers too much story for a single film, hence the decision to remove the adult storyline from the first movie and save it for the sequel.

When we catch up with the Losers a couple decades later, everything has changed and nothing has changed. Bill is a horror novelist, free of his stutter but still dominated by memories of his dead brother. Beverly is a successful fashion designer, but trapped in an abusive marriage. Richie is a shock jock radio DJ (and a stand-up comic in the miniseries adaptation), but he can’t hold a relationship to save his life. Eddie Kaspbrak runs a limousine company, but his stifling fear of disease continues to strangle him. Ben Hanscom lost all of that weight and became a lauded architect. Only Mike Hanlon remained in Derry (where be becomes the town librarian) to keep an eye on It, and it’s a series of phone calls from him that kick the adult storyline into action.

If you noticed there’s a name missing from that paragraph…well, you’re right. And it’s tough to talk about the sequel without talking about grown-up Stanley Uris. Feel free to skip to the next section if you desire, but this is a very early event in King’s book and feels like it’ll be the first or second scene in a potential sequel.

An accountant living in Atlanta, Stan takes the phone call from Mike and rather than return to Derry, he commits suicide, slashing his wrists in his bathtub. When we visited the set of It last year, young actor Wyatt Oleff was well-aware of his character’s fate and discussed how the movie laid the groundwork for it:

There’s a really good connection by the end of the movie where I’m cut right here [on my hand]. It’s really focused, though, more like right here [just above my wrist]… So it’s kind of drawing that connection to what he does in the future. I’ve been told that I’m setting up the sequel, but I don’t know how to respond to that. He’s been scarred, I guess you can say. They’re saying I’ve done that well. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not, but Stanley is scarred mentally and physically,  so they should appear in the sequel. That’s what I heard. If that’s happening. They’re permanent, so every time he would look in the mirror he’d see it and be reminded about what happened. Eventually when he hears that It’s back, he can’t take it.

And now that we’ve seen the movie, we know even more. Young Stan finds himself separated from the group in the climax of It, where he encounters the creature (in the terrifying form of his father’s creepy painting) and has a traumatizing close encounter. It’s easy to understand why, above everyone else, he’d refuse to face It again. In a further moment of foreshadowing, Stan is the first Loser to leave the group hangout following their blood oath.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, director Andy Muschietti further discussed Stan’s heartbreaking choice:

There is something in the future for him, taking his own life, that finds its seed in this film. He is the one who doesn’t want to accept what’s going on. And being the one who didn’t want to participate he gets the worst part.

“The thing about Stan is he doesn’t bend, he breaks,” producer Barbara Muschietti added.

It remains to be seen who will play the adult Losers (although we have some ideas) or how the movie will tweak them to fit in the modern day. While the bulk of their characterization as adults could be cleanly transitioned to a 2017/2018 setting, this could provide an opportunity to make changes that could work better on screen.

Stephen King's It Box Office

Everyone is Coming Back

During our set visit last year, producer Barbara Muschietti told us that there “isn’t an assurance [of a sequel], but we really want to make it,” and that they were “very hopeful” that a follow-up would come into being. What a difference a $123 million opening weekend makes.

At the time, both Barbara Muschietti and director Andy Muschietti insisted that It would function as a standalone movie. And even though the film adds that cheeky “Chapter One” subtitle, it does. However, the Muschietti siblings were already thinking hard about the sequel even as they made the first movie, with Andy noting that the “blood oath” scene was his way of closing the door on the first movie while teasing the sequel:

And in the end, the replacement for it is the scene with the blood oath, where everyone sort of says goodbye. Spoiler. The blood oath scene is there and it’s the last time they see each other as a group. It’s unspoken. And they don’t know it, but it’s a bit of a foreboding that this is the last time, and being together was a bit of a necessity to beat the monster. Now that the monster recedes, they don’t need to be together. And also because their childhood is ending, and their adulthood is starting. And that’s the bittersweet moment of that sequence.

So obviously, both Andy Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti will be back for the sequel. Probably with a bigger budget and bigger paydays, considering the box office haul of the first movie. Also confirmed to be coming backBill Skarsgard, whose Pennywise certainly left an impression in Chapter One.

While It: Chapter Two still doesn’t have an official green light from New Line and Warner Bros., the film is being actively developed and screenwriter Gary Dauberman (one of three credited writers on the first film) is plugging away at the script. When we spoke with Dauberman in the days before the first movie opened, he played coy with details:

I’ve been focused on this [first movie] and I think everybody’s head [are] in this one until this one comes out, see what it does. Of course when you’re writing the script, it’s hard not to think about. You want to think about ways characters are going to go and all that stuff just to make it feel like there’s going to be a story beyond this movie but that’s as far as I’ve taken it.

However, producer Seth Grahame-Smith was more open about the subject, telling us that while the script certainly isn’t done, Dauberman is currently hard at work:

We’ll tell you when we know. We are locked and loaded and ready to jump in the minute they say ‘go.’ The script is not done, but the script is being worked on. Obviously, all of the filmmakers are chomping at the bit to get started, and we have a very exciting shape, and [co-writer] Gary [Dauberman]’s working away. I feel somewhat optimistic that we’ll get to make it, but there’s been no official decision.

In retrospect, it’s almost amusing how quaint some of these quotes are. Just over a week ago, all of these filmmakers couldn’t say that a sequel was happening for sure. Now, the only thing keeping the studio from releasing a sequel as soon as humanly possible is the fact that they actually have to make it first.

Stephen King's It Trailer

The Two Movies Will Have a “Dialogue”

When we spoke to Andy Muschietti last year, he seemed happy to be adapting one-half of King’s book, noting that he always preferred the younger storyline. However, he also appreciated how the intercutting of the timelines in the novel created a “dialogue,” something that he plans to incorporate in the sequel:

I always thought that the kids’ storyline was more interesting than the adults, but I also appreciate the fact that there is a dialogue between the two timelines […] But I always insisted that if there is a second part, there would be a dialogue between the two timelines, and that it would be approached like the adult life of the losers, there would be flashbacks that sort of illuminate events that are not told in the first one.

And now that a sequel is quickly becoming a reality, Muschietti doubled down on this concept, telling Entertainment Weekly:

On the second movie, that dialogue between timelines will be more present. If we’re telling the story of adults, we are going to have flashbacks that take us back to the ‘80s and inform the story in the present day.

One of my biggest concerns about an adaptation of It was that removing the novel’s structure would rob the story of its power. The way events echo across 27 years is both tragic and terrifying on the page. However, it seems that Muschietti isn’t abandoning this concept as much as he’s restructuring it, taking King’s concept of the adult storyline mirroring the kid storyline reshaping everything to fit the two-movie set-up. We’ll see what his “dialogue” between timelines looks like when the movie actually gets made, but I imagine this means lots of scenes reflecting previous events and maybe even key locations or characters triggering emotional (or unsettling) flashbacks.

Continue Reading Everything We Know About It Chapter 2 So Far >>

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