As you undoubtedly know by this point, the newest adaptation of Stephen King’s IT has blown through the box office this past weekend and Pennywise the Dancing Clown has shimmied all over the records books. With over $200 million dollars worldwide in less than one week, IT is a huge deal for the horror genre! As the closing credits titles revealed IT: Chapter One, it’s more than plainly obvious to expect Chapter Two sooner rather than later. In the packed auditorium where I saw the film, a group of teenage girls behind me were losing their minds. “No! Noooooo!” seemed to be their running mantra. When the Chapter One title popped up on screen, one of the girls stated, “Aw, man! They don’t need to do another one. It’s fine the way it is!” On one hand, this is sort of groan-worthy. But honestly, this speaks to how well crafted IT truly is. Despite most of us going in with the realization that we were witnessing the first part of an extended piece, the film manages to work perfectly as its own entity.
Despite the resounding monetary success, critical and audience acclaim, New Line has yet to shine the official greenlight for Chapter Two. Fear not, readers, there’s no way this doesn’t happen at this point. We’ve already been hearing early rumblings of the future exploits of the Losers’ Club and their continued battle against evil. Let’s run down what we know for sure and maybe speculate on what could be.
Same Creative Team
The road to bringing this iteration of Stephen King’s gargantuan novel has been a long and winding road. Cary Fukunaga was originally attached as writer/director. Ultimately, he left the project due to “creative differences.” Rumor has it the production’s inflating budget was the crux of the matter. Enter, Andy Muschietti. The original script from Fukunaga and Chase Palmer was reworked by Gary Dauberman. It was reported over the weekend that Dauberman (writer of the two Annabelle films and upcoming The Nun) has already been tapped to start writing the script for Chapter Two. While we know a lot of what Fukunaga/Palmer wrote made it to the screen, it will be interesting to see if Dauberman’s solo credit provides as solid a foundation for the sequel. Muschietti hasn’t been signed on yet, but he and producing partner (and sister) Barbara Muschietti are already discussing their plans for the follow-up.
The Return of Pennywise
For anyone remotely familiar with the source material or the TV miniseries, you know the demented entity known as Pennywise may be down but IT is certainly not out. The interdimensional fear monger was originally played by Tim Curry in Tommy Lee Wallace’s adaptation, and Fukunaga had his own rendition of the character in mind (Will Poulter). When Muschietti took the reigns, casting news broke of Hemlock Grove star Bill Skarsgard stepping into those oversized clown shoes. Fan reaction ranged from skeptical to…well, pissed off. Thankfully, most of the naysayers were quieted upon the release of the film’s first trailer. After having seen the film proper, Skarsgard’s take on the character is maniacal, leering, slobbering perfection. The actor has confirmed he is attached to the project (like, duh!). In an interview with Metro UK he explained his hope for the character in the next chapter:
“We’re in the early stages and I’m talking to Andy about it and figuring out what It will be. It’s a different story but I’m excited to delve in deeper to the character as there’s more exploration for who Pennywise is….that’s where I want to go for the second one, to delve into the psychological and metaphysical spaces of this transdimensional being.”
The Losers’ Club
The cast of child actors that make up the Losers’ Club have won over the hearts of many this past weekend. Each one of them delivers a truly outstanding performance with Sophia Lillis as Beverly staking her claim as a breakout star. We already know that the focus of Chapter Two will shift to the Losers all grown up, 27 years later and preparing to battle IT all over again. That’s not to say we won’t glimpse this talented crew of youngsters again. Speaking with EW, Muschietti has already promised flashbacks to the 80s that will play as integral pieces to the present day narrative. Barbara backs this up with a need to get production going quickly:
“The hope is we’ll find the best way soon, because it’s also important for Andy to get flashbacks with the kids, who are growing very fast. They are an important component in the next film.”
Fans assumed news of the actors picked to portray the adult Losers was going to start trickling out some time ago. However, no announcements have been made to date. Considering the massive box office draw the IP has proven to be, we can safely assume Chapter Two will draw in some fairly substantial names. With what will likely be an increased budget as well, we could be looking at an all star cast for the second go-round. In a video interview with MTV, the child actors have already stated who they’d like to see portray their adult selves. Lillis has her eyes on Jessica Chastain, an inspired choice that is perfect considering Chastain has a pre-existing relationship with Muschetti from her role in Mama. Chosen Jacobs (Mike) stated Chadwick Boseman would be his ideal choice. Surely Boseman would be a perfect fit, but considering he’s currently riding the Marvel wave, he might be a bit busy for a “lowly” horror film. If anything, here’s hoping that any stigma attached to appearing in a gory fright flick has been obliterated by IT’s monstrous box office. Personally, I’m excited to see how this cast will eventually shake out.
We do know that Muschietti will be taking some liberties with the source material. He has already revealed in the chat with EW that Mike Hanlon will still be the one stuck in Derry who ultimately drags the rest of the losers back to their hometown.
“My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book. 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.”
It’s exciting to note that no matter how familiar you are with King’s novel, there will still be some surprises awaiting you when Chapter Two hits theaters. Plus, seeing as to Mike’s character got the short shrift in the first film, it’ll be nice to see his role get fleshed out.
Speculating the Future of ‘IT’
It’s still early in the game, but that won’t stop us fans from building our own dream cast or trying to figure out which scenes from the novel will make the final cut. Below are just a few stray thoughts I have on what could be.
- At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out the second half of the book will be split into two more films. It might not be necessary, but there’s more than enough material to draw from. If Hollywood thinks they can scrape a couple hundred million dollars from two more films as opposed to one, you better believe they’re thinking about it.
- NO GIANT SPIDER! Yes, there was a brief reveal of IT’s true identity in the climax of Chapter One that did slightly resemble the lumbering creature first seen in the ABC adaptation, but I believe that Muschietti has something much more grand and horrific in mind for us. At least, I hope so.
- Based on Muschietti’s statements regarding Mike’s character, I think it’s safe to say that things will be much darker in Chapter Two, both literally and figuratively. Almost every scene was set in the bright, summertime sun (sans the showdowns in the sewer). The next installment could very well cloak things in darkness as the characters come to terms with the evil still plaguing their lives all these years later.
- Things are going to get a bit more heady. While Chapter One eschewed a lot of the Lovecraftian, multi-dimensional flourishes of the novel, Chapter Two will likely delve into just what the hell IT really is. By doing so, there’s plenty of room to build the film’s world(s) and explore the potentially more terrifying evil behind it all.