Adapting half a book is hard. You’re trying to tell an emotionally satisfying narrative without delving into the second half of the story. Or, as is the case for the overstretched Hobbit trilogy, without delving into the second and third acts of the story. While IT mostly succeeds in this regard, it does leave some threads left hanging. You don’t get all the answers here. And you certainly don’t get the nostalgic, sweet ending of Stephen King’s mega-novel, but they come close. IT leaves you thirsty for more, and if the rumoured 2019 release date for the sequel is to be believed, we certainly won’t have to wait too long for answers.
IT: Chapter One, the secret title revealed during the closing credits, wasn’t afraid to change things up. Scares were altered. Fears were dramatized. The book, which set this part of the story in the fifties, saw our heroes facing more mundane threats, like werewolves and mummies. Elements remained, such as Eddie’s leper and Beverly’s exploding sink of blood, but the general gist of things received a switch up. For good reason. It worked to benefit the story, creating unpredictability for everyone, even if you’ve read the book (or even the leaked Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga draft). Plus, we didn’t have to watch that infamous sewer-set child orgy. Doing something similar for the sequel, while still staying true to the book, will once again result in cinematic magic.
An unofficial subtitle used for this first film was IT: Chapter One – The Loser’s Club. If rumours are once again to be believed, the unofficial subtitle for the sequel will be IT: Chapter Two – Pennywise. Pennywise is the key to all of this. Hearing the perspective of fans that haven’t read the book is interesting, as the biggest thing they want to know more of is who Pennywise is, how it got here and what’s its agenda? Well, to put it frank, its origin is weird. Very fucking weird. Reading it is one thing, but putting it on the screen is another beast entirely, but that’s exactly what the sequel needs to do. As excited as I am, I don’t want a rehash of the first film with the characters now middle aged. I want things to delve deep into the history of Pennywise, embracing its supernatural sci-fi-esque origins and going full on with weirdness.
I’m really restricting myself in what I can say, for I don’t want to ruin the book nor second film (I highly recommend reading IT), but if the sequel is to delve deeper into the supernatural elements, I don’t want them to hold back. We already care about these characters. Sure, they’ll need to be reintroduced, but we know who they are. We love them. The one character left unexplained is Pennywise, and the sequel can’t just have them appear every now and again before disappearing and then ultimately being defeated. It was taken down by a bunch of hormonal teens. The threat of it’s character needs to be amped up, and introducing its true state of being, known as the dead lights, while also explaining its prominent role in history and the cosmos will do just that.
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