After just a few days of being released in theaters, Andy Muschietti’s IT received the praise it deserved and consequently broke box office records. Before its release, the director had already made plans for the sequel, and just recently, details have been revealed.
Warning: There are major spoilers for those who have not yet seen the movie!
The plan for the sequel was always to divide the 1,000+ page novel into two halves, thus creating a cinematic duology. (The most obvious detail on the sequel is that Pennywise will–of course–be resurrected, and actor Bill Skarsgård will reprise his role as the eponymous character.) The former half was to tell the story of the Losers Club as children, whereas the latter half will tell the story of them 27 years later as adults. The former half, subtitled Chapter One, took place partly in October 1988, and primarily from June to August 1989.
In the latter half, however, the adult Losers (most of them, although that will be explained later) will return to their town of Derry, Maine for their final confrontation with the evil shape-shifting entity they assumed to have been defeated at their hands when they were younger. The events in Chapter Two will transpire in the present day and will bring back the Losers on account of the blood oath they made as children.
More Involvement from the Young Losers Club
According to Entertainment Weekly, the director says IT‘s second chapter will involve the younger Losers via flashbacks/ memories:
“[In the sequel], 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 [1980s] and inform the story in the present day.”
However, Barbara Muschietti–the director’s sister and co-producer says the sequel has not yet been greenlit officially by New Line Cinema and Warner Brothers. Rest assured, this will indubitably occur. In fact, writing and development of the second chapter are already in the works. Barbara says:
“The hope is we’ll find the best way soon because it’s also important for [the director] to get flashbacks with the [cast of the young Losers Club], who are growing very fast. They are [a vital] component in the next film.”
The director says the children are “a very big part of the action.” The integration of the Losers as children in Chapter Two is important to the chain of events that transpire with the adults.
Casting Older Versions of the Characters
The adult versions of the Losers Club and other characters have not yet been officially cast, although speculations have been made.
Mike Hanlon’s Dark Future
For those who are quite familiar with the novel and/or miniseries, Mike Hanlon is known for being one of the only African Americans in Derry and the only member of his little group of friends who voluntarily stayed behind. While the others have moved away, his role is to observe what occurs in the town, and this includes the harsh affliction caused by its racist bullies.
EW says the director explains the character will “pay a high price for his devotion, one that weakens him [both] mentally and physically by the time the other [Losers] return.” While the novel’s version of adult Mike was a gentle librarian who kept tabs on Derry’s horrific history, Chapter Two will feature the character with a much different future. The director says:
“My idea of Mike in the [sequel] is quite darker from the book. I want to make [him] the one pivotal character who [reunites the Losers, albeit remaining] in Derry took a toll on him. I want him to be a junkie actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he’s a wreck. [I want to] infuse more agency [and lasting effect] to him in those 30 years we don’t visit. He’s not just the collector of knowledge of what Pennywise has been doing in Derry. He wll bear the role of trying to figure out how to defeat him. The only way he can do that is to take drugs and alter his mind.”
The Origin and Weakness of Pennywise
The incorporation of Mike’s drug use is similar to that of a part in the novel that was cut from Chapter One, one in which the young Losers undergo both the Smoke-Hole and the Ritual of Chüd. In the fifteenth chapter of the novel, the children create a smoke-hole in their underground clubhouse by the Barrens, one that was based on a Native American ritual. EW says the smoke-hole ritual was to “get a glimpse of the supernatural plane, bringing them into contact with entities that help them [defeat] the creature behind Pennywise.” The director says:
“It resonates with what [the Losers did] when they [entered] the smokehouse in the Barrens. By inhaling these fumes from the fire, they have visions of IT and the origin of IT, and the falling fire in the sky that crashed into Derry millions of years ago. We’ve brought that to Mike, by the end of those 30 years, Mike has figured out the Ritual of Chüd.”
Drug addiction is just a minor demon Mike will have to confront compared to the greater evil he faces when the other Losers return.
Death(s) in the Losers Club
Fans of the novel know that in the third chapter–and this event happens in the miniseries as well–one member of the Losers Club does not stay true to the promise he made via blood oath. After being informed of Pennywise’s return, he commits suicide. This cuts deep. The Losers’ encounter with IT will be–and has been–a horrendous one, so much so that one member would rather kill themselves than endure it a second time. For those who do not know who this character is, it is none other than…
Stanley “Stan” Uris. It is not necessarily that he is weak, but is rather damaged after the group’s first climactic confrontation with IT in ways the other members are not. For those who have seen the film, he had a (very) close encounter with IT down in the sewers, and a traumatic one at that. Andy Muschietti says:
“There is something in the future for him–taking his own life–that finds its seed in [Chapter Two]. 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.”
Barbara Muschietti adds:
“The thing about Stan is he doesn’t bend; he breaks.”
Those familiar with the book and miniseries know that another Loser dies, although this has not yet been confirmed to happen in the film’s sequel. Also not confirmed are the fates of the bullies (i.e. Henry Bowers, Victor Criss, and Belch Huggins), although the novel and miniseries saw Henry being sent to–then eventually breaking out of (with the help of Pennywise)–Juniper Hill, a mental hospital in the story.
Potential Scenes Cut From and/or Teased in the First Film
Prior to the release of Chapter One, the director said that two crucial elements of the book are likely to be included in the sequel: that of the burning of the Black Spot, and that of the Deadlights.
- Black Spot – This nightclub, occupied by African American soldiers before the Losers’ time, was burnt down by a group of local white supremacists named the Maine Legion of White Decency. This is also the event where Mike’s father saw IT in the form of the Japanese kaiju/ pterodactyl Rodan. Chapter One only referenced this, although the film was supposed to include a scene exploring the event itself. The director said this will instead be likely used in the sequel.
- The Deadlights – Towards the end of Chapter One, Pennywise lures Beverly into its Deadlights. After the final confrontation, Beverly tells the group of a vision she had (while caught in the Deadlights) of them 27 years in the future. In the novel, Bill encounter a benign entity in the Deadlights known as the Turtle, which was an amicable force of nature that rivals that of IT. The director teased this for Chapter Two.
If you do not understand the concept of this IT: Chapter One, we have made a short article days ago on the themes pertaining to IT. In addition, we also have a rather lengthy article reviewing, discussing, and analyzing the 1986 novel, the 1990 miniseries, and the 2017 film (at least, primarily the perhaps pivotal parts pertaining to the Losers as children).
Written by: John Tangalin