Those who are seeing IT for the first time and never read the source novel or watching the iconic '90s TV miniseries may not know: Stephen King's book is actually broken up into two sections, which were adapted into the two installments of the TV miniseries.
The first section of the book (and this first film) chronicles the tale of how Pennywise the Clown attacks the town of Derry and is ultimately stopped by the geek and misfit kids of The Losers Club. However, its the second half of the book were some drastic changes take place - changes that will inspire a very different IT movie sequel than what some fans may be expecting.
Here's what happens in IT Chapter Two - read on only if you want to know!
(Image Credit: Dave Melvin)
In the second half of Stephen King's novel, we flash forward twenty-seven years to Derry in the '80s (the first half took place in the late '50s), when the murder of a gay man reveals that Pennywise is once again awake and stalking the town, murdering children.
The only member of The Losers Club to remain in Derry is Mike, who works as the librarian. Mike tries to call on his fellow Losers to return home, but all they seem to remember is something terrifying happening in their childhood, and their vow to one another.
There's also the fact that the various Losers Club members are now living very different lives:
- Bill - A successful horror writer living in England, married to an actress.
- Beverly - Famous fashion designer in Chicago, stuck in an abusive marriage.
- Eddie - Owner of an NYC limo rental company, married to a woman who is just like his mother.
- Richie - A DJ living in LA.
- Ben - Loses a lot of weight and becomes a successful architect in Nebraska.
- Stan - Is a successful accountant in Atlanta.
(The Grownup Losers in the IT '90s TV Miniseries)
When Mike puts out the call, Stan is flooded with memories of the horror and terror Pennywise brought, and actually kills himself, writing "IT" on the wall in his blood.
The Losers reconvene in Derry. Mike sends each of them out to explore a different part of town to help restore their respective memories. That leads to each character having to face Pennywise again, while people from their respective lives (Bill and Beverly's spouses, and the insane Henry Bowers) all come to Derry, as well.
Everything converges into another confrontation with Pennywise beneath the sewers. Pennywise becomes a giant spider; Bill and Richie use an ancient ritual to attack Its mind; Eddie, Beverly's husband, and Henry all die in the fight; and it's revealed that Pennywise has been laying eggs, which The Losers destroy along with the monster. When Pennywise dies, a storm wipes out downtown Derry.
At the end of the story, The Losers go their separate ways (Ben and Beverly finally get together), and gradually, the memory of their fight with It fades away.
IT Movie Sequel
Like this first installment, the IT movie sequel will probably be making some changes to the story.
For one thing: this first film seems to set up the idea that it will be Ben, not Mike, who will be the one to stay in Derry in become the librarian. Ben is specifically shown to be the library fly, and it's his research that helps The Losers Club figure out the mystery of Pennywise (instead of Mike's family scrapbooks like in the novel). That would make Ben and Beverly's adult storyline very different, as Ben would still retain full memory (and adoration) of his childhood crush.
Another thing that will be a big question for the sequel is how it handles the mystical elements of the story that were largely left out of the first film. In the book, The Losers defeat Pennywise the first time using psychic training they get from It's rival (who appears as a turtle). That same "Ritual of Chüd" is then used in the second portion of the story, as Bill and Richie are finally able to defeat It.
The movie doesn't get too deep into It's origin story or the metaphysical/psychic elements of defeating the creature - so it's hard to say how the second installment will handle the issue. There are a couple of Easter egg teases of the turtle/god Mataurin in the film, so it's not out of the question that the second portion could use more of that plot thread, when the Losers are old enough to believably comprehend it.
From a production standpoint, we're also curious about how much of the young cast of the first film we'll see in the sequel. Since the second section of the book involves The Losers having to revisit past memories, there's plenty of opportunity for the sequel to use flashbacks featuring the child versions of the characters. In a related thought: the thing that viewers are probably most curious right now is which adult actors will star in IT: Chapter 2. We'll keep you updated as that casting news comes in.
IT is currently playing in theaters.