Stephen King’s IT just hit theaters, and already the Andres (Andy) Muschietti film is on track to become one of the most critically and commercially successful Stephen King adaptations ever. A sequel is basically guaranteed at this point. And fortunately, a sequel was always part of the plan.
As New Line charges forward with IT: Chapter Two, we’ve put together a handy guide breaking down everything we know about the sequel so far, including which cast and crew are definitely back, how the story ties into the original, and more. Read on for the full story on the IT sequel, but beware of vague spoilers for both films…
It’s Almost Certainly Happening
Even early on, IT was envisioned as the first half a duology. Producer Roy Lee acknowledged this as early as February 2016, where he told Collider, “Gary [Dauberman] wrote the most recent draft working with Andy [Muschietti], so it’s being envisioned as two movies.”
Stephen King’s IT – Review
According to producer Beverly Muschietti (Andy’s sister), New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have yet to officially greenlight the sequel or give it a release date. However, the fact that the first just had the largest opening ever for a horror film pretty much guarantees that IT 2 will be put on the fast track. And while Lee also complained in that interview about needing to fine-tune the script for Chapter One to meet New Line’s budgetary restrictions, it’s probably safe to assume that IT 2 will have a larger budget to work with.
We May Know the Title
While simply referred to as “Stephen King’s IT” in all the marketing, the first film’s end credits reveal the full, official title – IT: Chapter One. It stands to reason that the sequel will be called IT: Chapter Two.
01 OF 12 Pennywise the Clown has gotten a big makeover for the new movie, with a more overtly scary, court jester look.
Check out our comparison between the miniseries version of It and the new movie version above.
The sequel will build on the ending of the first and the promise Bill, Bev and the rest of the Losers Club made – that they’ll all return to Derry if Pennywise ever rears his head again. It makes sense to call the sequel “Chapter Two” since their battle is only half over.
For more on what to expect from the sequel, here’s a detailed look at how the ending sets up the events of IT: Chapter 2.
The Cast Will Be Mostly New
Again, New Line and WB have yet to formally announce IT: Chapter Two, so we don’t yet know how many cast and crew will be making the jump to the sequel. We do know that writer Gary Hauberman is hard at work on penning IT: Chapter Two. Last July, Andres Muschietti told Variety, “We’ll probably have a script for the second part in January . Ideally, we would start prep in March.”
Andy and Barbara Muschietti appear to be more or less locked in at this point. The two also recently revealed (via Entertainment Weekly) that Bill Skarsgard is officially locked down to reprise the role of Pennywise.
The Young Stars of Stephen King’s IT
However, because the sequel takes place nearly 30 years after the events of the first, it’s inevitable that many of the main characters will have to be recast. Again, the success of the first may give the Muschiettis more options this time around in terms of casting recognizable actors. The two recently voiced an interest in casting Jessica Chastain as the adult Bev Marsh (Chastain starred in Muschietti’s Mama). Andres told Variety, “She loves the movie and it feels like the planets are aligned in that sense, but we still have to make that happen. There are a lot of ideas for the rest of the cast that I’m playing with, but it’s a bit too premature to say those names right now.”
There May Be Flashbacks
Despite the fact that the sequel will take place in the present and feature adult versions of the Losers Club members, we may not have seen the last of the first film’s child cast. Several hints have been dropped that IT: Chapter Two will feature flashbacks to 1989. Andres Muschietti revealed to Variety, “Part one is only about the kids. Part two is about these characters 30 years later as adults, with flashbacks to 1989 when they were kids.”
More recently, Muschietti reiterated this plan in a chat with Entertainment Weekly. “On the second movie, that dialogue between timelines will be more present,” he said. “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.”
Muschietti revealed to Collider that a pair of scenes had to be cut from IT: Chapter One due to budgetary restrictions but could still see the light of day in the sequel.
“There are two sequences that I thought of that I had to postpone until more money comes,” he said. “One is a flashback, that sort of portrays the first encounter of It and humans, which is an amazing scene. And the other is a dream, where Bill sees – he’s leaning on a bridge, in Derry, and he’s spitting on the Kenduskeag Stream, and suddenly he sees the reflection of a balloon. And he looks up and it’s not one balloon, but a bunch of balloons, and then he starts to see body parts, and the shot goes wider and it’s a multitude of dead kids floating. I couldn’t afford it.”
Basically, it appears that the sequel will use flashbacks as a way of delving deeper into the nature of Pennywise and his immortal existence, as well as strengthening ties between the past and present-day storylines.
The Sequel Will Be Weirder
The It novel goes to some pretty strange places as the Losers Club members learn more about the true nature of Pennywise and encounter Maturin, the giant turtle god that vomited forth the universe. Obviously, most of that background material was left out of the first movie (apart from a small nod here or there to Maturin, like with Georgie’s LEGO turtle). But it sounds like the sequel will be tackling the weirder elements of the story head-on.
“I really wanted to focus on the emotional journey of the group of kids,” Muschietti told Yahoo Movies. “Getting in to that other dimension – the other side – was something that we could introduce in the second part. In the book the perspective of the writing… is always with the Losers, so everything they know about Pennywise is very speculative and shrouded in absurdity, so I wanted to respect that mystery feeling of not knowing what’s on the other side.”
“I also wanted to leave something for the second half, so I didn’t want to get in trouble with that – going into the macroverse or that transdimensional stuff – and keep it grounded, from the point of view of the kids,” Muschietti continued. “There’s another movie to expand into that. Also, there’s a physical truth that it’s a movie that has a budget. And I didn’t want to get into a depiction of a realm that f***s up our budget, the creation of a world that will basically suck up half of our budget, and would have to sacrifice a lot of things.”
Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly that the character Mike Hanlon will be critical to this process in the sequel. As the one Losers Club member who stays behind in Derry, Hanlon will face a deep physical and psychological toll as he attempts to understand the evil still lurking beneath Derry. “He’s not just the collector of knowledge of what Pennywise has been doing in Derry. He will 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.”
There Could Be a Director’s Cut
IT is one of Stephen King’s longest novels (which is really saying something), and not an easy story to adapt into film form. In the novel, the narrative frequently shifts back and forth between past and present as the members of the Losers Club confront Pennywise as children and adults. Rather than try to cram all that material into one film, Dauberman and Muschietti made the sensible decision to break those twin storylines into separate films.
Stephen King’s IT – SPOILERCAST
But there’s a chance that hardcore Stephen King fans may be able to experience this story as originally intended. Producer Roy Lee told Collider, “We’re taking it and making the movie from the point of view of the kids, and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel. But it’s gonna be a really fun way of making this movie.”
In other words, don’t be surprised if New Line eventually releases a four-hour-long director’s cut on Blu-ray that combines the two films chronologically, a la The Godfather Saga.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.