Everything we know about the It sequel so far
It all started with a sneaky title card at the end of Andy Muschietti’s It. Following the supposed defeat of Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise and the blood oath that ensued, the phrase “Chapter One” floated up onto our screens, confirming that the Dancing Clown would indeed return to the town of Derry in a sequel. Anyone who’s read the source material could have predicted that a second movie would explore the adult lives of the Losers Club — and indeed, it turns out that this was the plan all along, but the news wasn’t officially confirmed until after the film’s release.
It: Chapter Two has a lot to live up to, as the first installment devoured the competition with a monstrous $700 million worldwide gross, becoming the highest-earning horror movie of all time. Critics loved it too, calling the first chapter of It one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever made. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait 27 years until Pennywise floats up from the sewers of Derry once again. Join us as we reveal everything we know about the It sequel so far, and beware…of spoilers.
When will It: Chapter Two be released?
Pennywise may have been forced to hibernate for 27 years in Stephen King’s original story, but luckily for filmgoers, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have announced that the Dancing Clown will return to screens when It: Chapter Two premieres on September 6, 2019, continuing the story of the Losers Club almost exactly two years after the first film’s arrival.
Releasing It: Chapter Two in early September will help the film secure blockbuster audiences at the tail end of the summer season, just as they’re looking for an alternative to the typical action fare. Jumping ahead of October will also reduce any competition from horror movies that are usually released around Halloween. This strategy worked exceptionally well for It: Chapter One, so it’s easy to see why the studio hopes to replicate this success with the sequel.
Muschetti told Variety that he and screenwriter Gary Dauberman aim to finalize the script for It: Chapter Two in January 2018 so pre-production can begin in March.
Will the creative team remain the same?
It: Chapter One works as a standalone film, which Muschietti ensured by ending the script with his version of the “blood oath” scene, closing the book on the childhood chapter of the Losers Club and their fight against Pennywise. Everyone says goodbye to each other and to their own innocence, venturing forth alone into adulthood. However, Muschietti and his sister Barbara — who worked on the film as a producer — were aware that a sequel would be likely and prepared accordingly, teasing It: Chapter Two at the end of the first movie.
Fortunately, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have kept the Muschiettis on board in the same roles. Dauberman is also back on scriptwriting duties, explaining to Slashfilm that it was hard not to think about a potential sequel while writing the first film. “You want to think about ways characters are going to go and all that stuff,” said Dauberman, “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.” Now that the sequel has been greenlit, it made perfect sense to bring Dauberman back, helping to maintain consistency between the two chapters.
When will the story take place?
In Stephen King’s original version of It, the childhood segment of the book took place over the course of 1957 and 1958, while the adult section renewed the fight against Pennywise 27 years later in 1984 and 1985. For the movie, Muschietti and his team decided to move the action in the first film to 1988 and 1989, capitalizing on ’80s nostalgia while ensuring that the sequel could be set in the present day, bringing the story up to date in a way that’s never been seen before.
Instead of wearing Airwolf t-shirts and watching A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child at the theater, the Losers Club will now be all grown up and It: Chapter Two will include modern-day references accordingly. That’s presuming, of course, that there’s even time to delve into the pop culture of the era while the Losers renew the fight against Pennywise.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how mobile phones and other present-day devices impact the story. After all, if the sequel remains faithful to the book and Pennywise does terrorize each character individually upon their return to Derry, it would make sense for the Losers to literally call on each other for help, something that was never possible in previous versions of the story.
What will happen in It: Chapter Two?
It: Chapter One made a number of changes to Stephen King’s original text, including the way the abduction of Beverly Marsh kicks off the third act, but for the most part, Muschietti and his team remained remarkably faithful to the book. With that in mind, it’s possible to predict the basic plot of the sequel somewhat — although of course, it’s difficult to tell how much of the story will be altered to incorporate the modern era.
Twenty-seven years after the Losers Club first banded together in childhood, the group has drifted apart after each member left Derry. Mike is the only one who remains, working as the town’s librarian, and he’s the only one who remembers what happened during their encounter with Pennywise. The rest have blocked this traumatic experience from their minds and found success in a variety of fields, including business and architecture.
After Mike asks the other Losers to return and finish what they started, each takes a walk down memory lane, reliving their original encounters with Pennywise before fighting him one last time in the sewers of Derry. Along the way, numerous spouses make an appearance — and the Club’s old bully Henry Bowers returns to pose a very real and yet human threat, working in conjunction with Pennywise to kill each member of the club. While the details might change, it’s likely that these are the basic plot beats we should expect to see unfold in It: Chapter Two.
The children will return in flashbacks
King’s It novel shifts between the past and the present, creating a dialogue that connects its childhood and adult sections. To accommodate this, the films split the book in two, which meant It: Chapter One was dedicated solely to depicting the Losers Club as children. As a result, the adult versions of the characters will take center stage in the sequel, but that doesn’t mean that the original cast won’t return.
Speaking with Slashfilm, Muschietti revealed that he always found the kids’ storyline “more interesting than the adults,” but that he also felt that the dialogue between time periods is essential to the story. Because of this, Muschietti and his team will incorporate flashbacks into the sequel that will illuminate and clarify events we didn’t see in It: Chapter One.
However, producer Barbara Muschietti revealed one pressing concern that could impact this approach— the kids may grow up too fast in real life. It shouldn’t be an issue given the sequel’s quick turnaround time, but any delays could make the flashback approach difficult — which would be a shame, as Andy previously told EW that the children are still “an important component in the next film.”
Who will play the Losers Club as adults?
Now that we’re going to see the Losers Club grown up in It: Chapter Two, there’s been no shortage of speculation regarding who Muschietti might select to play our young heroes as adults. While little has been revealed about the casting process so far, potentially strong rumors have revolved largely around the character of Beverly Marsh, played by Sophia Lillis in the first film.
Following their work together on the horror movie Mama, Muschietti has openly discussed the possibility of casting Jessica Chastain in the role, explaining to Variety that he “would love her to play Beverly,” but conceding that he’s leaving his options open. If Chastain doesn’t work out, five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams might be considered, as the internet is awash with rumors of her involvement. This would also make sense in practical terms, as Lillis is playing a younger version of Adams in the HBO adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects — the pair clearly share a resemblance.
All that said, it might be better to cast unknown actors, especially as it would then be easier to find adult versions of the kids who actually look like them. Either way, one adult actor is definitely confirmed to appear in It: Chapter Two — Bill Skarsgård will reprise the role of Pennywise in all of his horrifying splendor.
Sure, It: Chapter One included some odd moments, particularly when Pennywise broke out into dance, but things could have been a lot weirder if the source material is anything to go by. In Stephen King’s original text, the horror veers into Lovecraftian territory at times, exploring the cosmic origins of Pennywise and a giant turtle god called Maturin who basically vomited up the universe. Nods to the turtle were spotted by eagle-eyed fans in the first film.
Easter eggs aside, all those psychedelic elements were avoided in It: Chapter One for the most part. The sequel will reportedly explore these scenes in more depth, building on the “deadlights” we saw in Pennywise’s mouth to venture forth into new realms of weird.
Speaking with Yahoo! Movies, Muschietti explained that the story was kept more grounded in It: Chapter One because the children themselves knew very little about the threat they faced. As the audience’s perspective is inextricably tied to theirs, it made sense to avoid introducing the concept of cosmic dimensions in the first film. However, there’s also another more practical reason why the trans-dimensional nature of reality wasn’t revealed in the first film — it would have cost too much. Muschietti explained that creating this world would “basically suck up half of our budget,” potentially forcing him to sacrifice other aspects of the film.
Who will die first?
Anyone who’s read past the first few chapters of Stephen King’s It knows that Stan Uris kills himself after discovering that the threat of Pennywise has returned to haunt him in adulthood. Alert viewers may have also spotted a clue that foreshadows this tragic event at the end of It: Chapter One during the blood oath scene. After each member of The Losers Club promises to return to Derry if the need arises, the circle breaks and Stan is the first to leave. The second kid to part ways with the rest is Eddie Kaspbrak, who coincidentally is the second member to die before the Dancing Clown is defeated once and for all.
Actor Wyatt Oleff discussed the significance of this final scene with Slashfilm, explaining that the cut on his hand is directly connected to how his character dies as an adult. According to Oleff, Stan is “scarred mentally and physically,” and out of all the children, he’s the one who struggles to accept what’s going on most. This is perhaps because Uris arguably came closest to dying at the hands of Pennywise in the first film, barely surviving the moment when It wraps its jaws around his head.
Producer Barbara Muschietti also commented on the heartbreaking choice that Stan will eventually make, telling Entertainment Weekly that “The thing about Stan is he doesn’t bend, he breaks.” Sadly, it seems that whoever ends up playing Uris as an adult on the big screen may not stick around for long.
Mike will have a darker story arc
Mike Hanlon is one of the strongest members of the Losers Club, fighting a daily battle against racism in the small town of Derry long before the shape-shifting clown floats up out of the sewers, and he’s the only one who stays behind when the others leave. In King’s book, this decision takes its toll on Hanlon, but Muschietti plans to step things up a notch and torment his character even further in It: Chapter Two.
By the time the others return to their hometown, Hanlon will have turned to drugs in his despair. Muschietti describes the character as a “junkie” in the sequel, but it turns out that his addiction also serves a vital purpose in the fight against Pennywise. In the book, younger versions of the Losers Club deliberately inhale fumes in a “smoke-hole” to learn more about their foe, but here, Hanlon’s experience with drugs as an adult will alter his mind and help him to figure out how to defeat the ancient creature via the bizarrely named “Ritual of Chüd.”
While some fans of the book may object to this change, Muschietti claims the idea is to infuse Hanlon’s character with “more agency,” providing him with a more important role during the gap where the rest of the Losers Club found success in their lives away from Derry.
Deleted scenes float down here
The theatrical version of It: Chapter One runs for 135 minutes in total, but even that cut of the film didn’t represent Muschietti’s full vision of the story. A set visit conducted by Collider revealed that two sequences were deleted due to budgetary concerns, but Barbara Muschietti hinted that the scene where white supremacists burn down the Black Spot nightclub could still appear in the sequel, declaring that it’s “gonna be a great opening for the next film.”
If Muschietti really does intend to incorporate deleted scenes in the sequel, then that means audiences could also see two more sequences that were previously left on the cutting room floor when It: Chapter Two is released. The first scene that was removed is an “amazing” flashback that depicts the first time Pennywise encountered humans hundreds of years ago, and the second is a dream where Bill Denbrough sees a bunch of balloons and dead body parts floating in the Kenduskeag Stream.
Early drafts of the script for It: Chapter One also included a scene set in colonial New England where Pennywise forced a mother to give up her own baby for It to devour. If Muschietti and his team are turning to the cutting room floor for inspiration, then flashbacks of this nature could also be folded into the script for It: Chapter Two, revealing more about the dark and sordid history of Derry and the town’s relationship with the Dancing Clown.
A massive director's cut?
At over 1100 pages long, Stephen King’s It is one of his largest texts — and that’s really saying something. This is one of the reasons it took so long for Hollywood to adapt the story successfully, and why Dauberman and Muschietti were forced to split it into separate movies. However, there’s still a chance that hardcore fans could eventually experience the story as one glorious whole, just like King originally intended.
Producer Roy Lee told Collider in 2016 that once both chapters have been released, the two “could potentially then be cut together like the novel.” While it’s unlikely that a combined film of this length would ever be released to theaters, it’s entirely possible that New Line could eventually splice the two movies into a four-hour director’s cut on Blu-ray. If that’s the case, then Muschietti could re-edit the films together so the story flips between the two time periods more regularly, keeping in line with the way King originally wrote the story.