As New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. bask in the overwhelming success of It today, new details are beginning to emerge about the second half of their two-film Stephen King adaptation. Aside from the fact that It: Chapter Two will take place 27 years after the events of the first film, roughly placing it around 2016, we haven’t heard much about their plans for the next one yet. Until now.
We already knew that director Andres Muschietti intends on adding more of Derry’s history into the mix, possibly including two flashback sequences that were deleted from the first film. We know that he wants to go a bit more cosmic and metaphysical with the horror elements, finally giving us a glimpse into the Macroverse from the novel. We know that the same basic team will remain intact: screenwriter Gary Dauberman (The Conjuring, Annabelle: Creation) and producers Barbara Muschietti, Dan Lin, Roy Lee, David Katzenberg, and Seth Grahame-Smith. We know that Bill Skarsgard is already signed to return and that Muschietti’s wants to film new stuff with the child actors from the first film.
Okay, so maybe that was a bit more than “very little”. Still, today’s revelations through the Entertainment Weekly link above are sizable. One of the biggest complaints surrounding the existing film was the handling of Losers Club member Mike Hanlon, played by Chosen Jacobs. In the novel, Mike is the one with a big handle on Derry’s town history, a character trait switched over to Ben in the film. Why was this change made? I have no clue, but it won’t last going forward.
Based on Muschietti’s comments, adult Mike will become integral to the next film and will still very much become the group’s own personal Derry & Pennywise historian, albeit with a new dark twist: he’s also become a junkie. Muschietti and Dauberman aim to have Mike using mind-altering substances to better understand the evil running throughout the town, as well as discover a way to defeat Pennywise.
It is through this dangerous and addictive practice that he will discover the Ritual of Chud. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Maturin the Turtle references and the Ritual of Chud would make it into this double-film adaptation, but here we are. I’m not sold on the drug-addicted Mike path, however. That seems like an incredibly hot button and problematic turn to take, so here’s hoping they handle it well.
Muschietti on It: Chapter Two…
“My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book,” the filmmaker said. “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.”
Muschietti said he wanted to “infuse more agency to him in those 30 years we don’t visit.”
“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.”
Hanlon’s mind-altering exploration mirrors a part of King’s novel that was cut from the first movie, when the Loser kids undertake a Native American ritual to get a glimpse of the supernatural plane, bringing them into contact with entities that help them stop the creature behind Pennywise.
“It resonates with what the kids do when they go to the smokehouse in the Barrens,” Andy Muschietti says. “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.”
Be sure to read the full piece, as it also discusses the casting of the adult Losers, as well as the unfortunate fate of one character in particular. The follow-up has yet to receive the official greenlight, but given that it just pulled in $185 million worldwide during its opening weekend, that call should be made soon (if not already). At this time, production on It: Chapter Two is expected to begin next summer, so don’t be too surprised if we start getting some casting information by the end of this year.
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