It: Chapter 2

I didn’t initially think splitting Stephen King‘s gargantuan novel It into two separate movies was a good idea, but the record-breaking box office numbers of last year’s It: Chapter 1 was proof enough that Warner Bros. made the right call…at least financially. Creatively? Well, that still remains to be seen.

The upcoming sequel will pick up with the Losers’ Club as adults nearly 30 years after temporarily defeating Pennywise, and while we knew things are going to get “transdimensional” in It: Chapter 2, some new quotes from the screenwriter have given us an idea of just how far into Crazy Town the filmmakers are planning to go. Will audiences be willing to go along for the ride, or will they reject the inter-dimensional weirdness at the story’s climax?

It Chapter 2 Production Begins

It: Chapter 2 is Going To Feature at Least One Mind-Boggling Scene

Spoilers for It: Chapter 2 ahead.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, screenwriter Gary Dauberman (who wrote both It: Chapter 1 and It: Chapter 2) explains that The Ritual of Chüd – a bizarre battle between the Losers and the inter-dimensional embodiment of the evil “It” – is actually going to make its way to the big screen:

“The Ritual of Chüd is challenging, but it’s such an important component to the book that we had to address it. That stuff is difficult to balance, but because [director Andy Muschietti, producer Barbara Muschietti and I] worked with each other before, when I’m writing pages and all that stuff it becomes more of a conversation and less like, ‘Hey, here’s what I did.’ It’s sort of organic; it’s really kind of just chipping away at the stone and trying to find the most focused, accessible way into some of more metaphysical aspects of that book…

I think that’s something that Andy gave a lot of thought about, which was great, because as I was kind of chugging along through the Adrian Melon stuff and sort of more the stuff that’s in the book that you kind of just want to see on screen. I’m writing that stuff, and Andy would kind of go off and think about Chüd and how he wants to visually represent all that stuff. He just came up with some brilliant, brilliant stuff… It really is going to be amazing.”

pennywise

What is The Ritual of Chüd?

If you haven’t read King’s novel (which clocks in at over 1100 pages), you’re probably wondering what the heck the Ritual of Chüd is. But even book readers are scratching their heads over this one a little bit. That’s because the ritual is, by design, sort of tough to wrap your brain around.

In the book, the evil entity known as “It” ensnares the Losers’ leader Bill Denbrough and sends his spirit hurtling through a spiritual plane of existence in the hopes of capturing Bill in “the deadlights,” wherein Bill will be driven insane by witnessing It in his pure form. Remember those spinning lights that Pennywise uses to entrance Beverly in the first movie?

Those are the deadlights.

During his spiritual journey, Bill encounters the turtle, a godlike creature meant as a universal counterbalance to the evils of It. In an interview last year, Muschietti explained how the turtle is going to factor in to It: Chapter 2:

“The moment you introduce the element of IT, which is an interdimensional evil entity, the presence of the turtle comes with it, as a counterbalance. It doesn’t seem to play a big role, but the turtle is there. Like all mythologies, there’s a god of good and a god of evil. I didn’t want to use it as a fantastic character, but it’s hinted, every time the kids are in danger or something, I wanted to hint at the presence of the turtle…

In the book, they somehow address the turtle and say ‘the turtle couldn’t help us.’ But I think in the second part, the turtle will try to help them. In the second movie, the turtle left a few clues to their childhood that they don’t remember. They have to retrieve those memories from the summer of 1989, and that’s how we jump back to 1989. The keys to defeating to Pennywise are left in the past, and as adults, they don’t remember.”

Sounds like the turtle is going to be instrumental in the adult Losers remembering the Ritual of Chüd, along with the drug-fueled visions of Mike Hanlon (read more about that here). But what is the ritual, exactly? In King’s novel, a person faces off against It by sticking out his or her tongue, overlapping it with It’s tongue, and the two entities bite down on both tongues. They tell each other jokes, and the first one to laugh gets banished to a netherworld. (Yes, I’m serious.) While all of this is happening, a psychic battle takes place in the spiritual plane, and the adult Losers all participate to defeat It once and for all.

It takes pages and pages of reading the book to even begin to understand what’s happening here, and at one point the turtle even pops up to say, “Once you get into cosmological shit like this, you got to throw away the instruction manual.” No kidding.

The first movie had a few little bursts of strangeness, but nothing that even remotely approaches the oddity of the Ritual of Chüd. Is the love of the first film going to keep audiences on board through this insanity, or will they reject the film as being too out there in comparison with the first one? This is my biggest question about It: Chapter 2, and we’ll find out when it hits theaters on September 6, 2019.

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