The latest adaptation of Stephen King's IT broke multiple box offices records this weekend, surpassing all predictions to take in a whopping $123 million opening total. A follow-up film is all but guaranteed, but with Warner Bros. yet to officially announce the project, a timeline of when the film could go into production has left audiences with many questions.
The story explores a supernatural presence that haunts the town of Derry, ME that emerges every 27 years to kidnap and torment the town's children. When a group of friends, who refer to themselves as "The Losers' Club," learn what's going on, they accept the task of neutralizing the threat once and for all.
The original novel, which weighs in at over 1,100 pages, takes place in two different timelines, combining the Losers' Club's initial encounters with the entity and their reunion 27 years later. Director Andy Muschietti modified the story structure so the first film focused solely on the young characters, leaving future films to explore the characters as adults.
Apart from tweaks the director made to the film's structure, he also made a few changes to the narrative as well. When speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Muschietti explained a big change from the book we should expect for the next installment in the series.
***WARNING: Spoilers for the IT novel below***
In the original story and 1990 miniseries adaptation, Mike Hanlon, played by Chosen Jacobs in the film, served as the resident Losers' Club historian, a role given to Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) in the latest version. According to Muschietti, this isn't the only change Mike will undergo in his vision.
“My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book,” Muschietti explained. “I want to make his character the one pivotal character who brings them all together, but staying in Derry took a toll with him. I want him to be a junkie actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he’s a wreck.”
In the story, Mike is designated as the character who must stay in Derry to keep an eye on things, focusing on researching the town as thoroughly as possible for evidence of the otherworldly threat.
“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," Muschietti points out. "The only way he can do that is to take drugs and alter his mind."
A sequence that was cut from this adaptation is a scene in which the Losers' Club partake in a Native American ritual to open their minds to other planes of existence, hoping to discover the true origin of "It," the creature they all fear.
“It resonates with what the kids do when they go to the smokehouse in the Barrens,” Andy Muschietti says of making Mike a junkie. “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.”
Compared to another character in the story, however, Mike's fate isn't quite as dark.
Early on in the novel, Stan Uris, played by Wyatt Oleff in the film, takes his own life before reuniting with any of his old friends. It's this event that causes Mike to reach out to his old friends and sets the stakes of what these characters must face 27 years later.
“There is something in the future for him, taking his own life, that finds its seed in this film,” Andy Muschietti says of how this fate is teased in his film. “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.”
“The thing about Stan is he doesn’t bend,” producer Barbara Muschietti adds. “He breaks.”
IT is currently in theaters.