it sequel

It hasn’t even hit theaters yet and director Andy Muschietti and producer Barbara Muschietti are already talking about a sequel.

But can you blame them? Their movie only adapts one-half of Stephen King‘s massive novel, which jumps between stories set in 1957 and 1984 (although the ’50s portion is now 1989 in the film). The new big screen version of It follows the story of the “Losers’ Club,” a group of kids who do battle with an ancient supernatural entity…and excludes entirely the scenes where they reunite nearly 30 years later to finish the job.

While visiting the Toronto set of It last year, the filmmakers seemed confident about taking on the sequel at some point. In fact, they shared with us a few scenes and ideas from the original novel that were axed from the first movie but will play a role in a hopeful It sequel.

One-Half of a Larger Story

King’s novel rotates between the two timelines fairly often, with both stories reaching simultaneous climaxes in the final pages, but Barbara Muschietti insisted that this structure is unnecessary for the film version:

We’re not doing [both stories] for a simple reason – we didn’t think it was necessary to intertwine them. The book is our bible, for sure, but we thought it would be more interesting to respect the proper chronology, and also, it’s such a massive book. This, I have to say, we inherited [the film from previous director Cary Fukunaga] and we could have changed it, but we decided not to, to stick to the kids, because I think it [lets you] really understand the characters in the first part of the movie, rather than spending half of the movie 27 years later.

“If ever there was a book that was perfect to be divided, it was It,” she added.

Andy Muschietti likes how King’s novel is structured, but admitted that he’s partial to the half that follows the kids. Still, he’s already planning ahead for how the sequel will interact with the events of the film he’s finishing first:

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.

When asked to talk more about these potential flashbacks and if he’s already shooting them while the child actors are the right age, he doesn’t sugarcoat it: “No, I’m just praying that the kids don’t grow up.”

Still, Barbara Muschietti can’t promise that a sequel to It will come together. “No, there isn’t an assurance, but we really want to make it,” she said, “New Line really wants to make it and I’m sure King would want us to make it. I’m very hopeful that we will.” Right now, they’re just waiting for the call from the studio:

I’m talking big words here, someone at New Line is trembling as I say these words. As soon as we have the director’s cut, we’ll be able to start jotting down ideas.

Both Andy Muschietti and Barabara Muschietti insist that It will function as a standalone movie — no cliffhangers or unnecessary teases. But Andy told us that one of the final scenes in the movie will set the stage for a part two, even as it stands alone (and you can consider this a SPOILER for anyone unfamiliar with the novel or the miniseries):

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.

it sequel 2

What Scenes Could We See in the Sequel?

In a nutshell, the purely hypothetical follow-up to It would follow the grown-up version of the “Losers’ Club” (minus one unfortunate member) returning to Derry, Maine to finish off Pennywise/It once and for all. But other scenes that didn’t make it into the first movie will play a role in the narrative. The book features numerous flashbacks to Derry’s tortured past, recounting the many times “It” has terrorized the town and shaped local history. When asked if any of these scenes made it into the first movie, Barbara Muschietti responded with a cryptic, “In the second movie.”

For example, the book features a flashback to the story of The Black Spot, a nightclub built by black soldiers in the late 1920s after they’re refused service in town. When the club becomes popular with the locals, it’s burnt down by white supremacists…although “It” is present for the carnage and makes a startling appearance. It’s one of the best and most chilling moments in all of King’s work.

When asked about this scene, Barbara Muschietti admitted that it was in the draft that original director Fukunaga was going to film and that they wanted to incorporate it as well, but they simply did not have the budget. They haven’t given up on it, though: “We think it’s gonna be a great opening for the next film.”

Andy Muschietti elaborated further on the Black Spot sequence, noting how their version alters King’s text. In the book, Mike Hanlon’s father tells his son the story of the doomed nightclub on his deathbed. In the screenplay, Mike Hanlon’s parents are actually killed in the tragedy:

The next one is a little warped, in the story. The ones who are going to die in a fire in this adaptation are Mike’s parents. And this tragic event is directly in relation with his fear, which is a traumatic image of his parents dying. And he witnessed this as a baby, and it’s an image that’s in his head and comes back when Pennywise basically incarnates. This image, which is white, abstract, it’s not a monster, it’s just an image. It’s terrifying.

Barbara Muschietti also noted that the glimpses of Pennywise’s true nature and true form will not be seen in the first film, with the wider mythology hitting the cutting room floor. But the sequel? We can count on it.

It opens in theaters on September 8, 2017.

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