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It: Chapter 3 - Will It Ever Happen?

Andy Muschietti created coulrophobia for a new generation of fans with the "It" film series. Despite the conclusive nature of the movies, he left many wondering if "It: Chapter 3" could also be in the works. Based on the 1986 Stephen King novel, "It" tells the story of the Losers' Club from Derry, Maine, who battle a nefarious, shapeshifting entity that takes the frightening form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, and Stan Uris manage to stave off Pennywise as children, only to see Bozo the Clown's evil cousin return to wreak havoc 27 years later.

Much like the 1990 miniseries, which stars the unconquerable Tim Curry as Pennywise, "It: Chapter Two" ends in a definitive fashion that does justice to the source material and provides closure. However, since Hollywood deals in trilogies, there has been a hope that the filmmakers could have something up their sleeves and surprise fans with a fresh continuation of the story. After all, the "It" series is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the same studio that stretched out "The Hobbit" into three movies, so who is to say it wouldn't do the same here?

With that in mind, let's take a look at the chances of "It: Chapter 3" scaring up the screen in the near future. Brace yourself for nightmares, though, since there will be lots of pictures of Pennywise coming up and this clown is more terrifying than rent in New York City.

Why isn't It: Chapter 3 happening yet?

Nowadays, most storytellers end their tales with the possibility of revisiting the world since franchise potential is everything — especially in the movie business. However, "It: Chapter Two" stays largely faithful to the source material in its ending. Stephen King wrote the novel as a standalone story — with a definitive beginning, middle, and end — and the "It" film series respects these main beats, even if it takes creative liberties in other sections.

In the end, the Losers perform a ritual and tear out Pennywise's heart, bringing down the curtain on the clown's reign of unholy terror. Their victory isn't without casualties, though, since Eddie (James Ransone) dies from his wounds and the friends lose Stan (Andy Bean) early into the film. In the book, a devastating storm washes over Derry, but this event is missing from the movie, indicating a more hopeful climax to the story.

Looking at the narrative from an objective point-of-view, the story of "It" has been told and is over after "Chapter Two." These characters have suffered, overcome, and prevailed after all is said and done. Ultimately, they have arrived at their final destination. While it might be tempting to start a new journey in "It: Chapter 3," it could prove to be a slippery slope because of fan backlash. There needs to be a compelling reason to revive Pennywise — especially after the ritual and heart-ripping sequences. Then again, would an entity like this need a heart to function?

What Andy Muschietti has said about It: Chapter 3

While it isn't unusual for different directors to helm parts of a trilogy — see the rebooted "Planet of the Apes" as a prime example — "It: Chapter 3" wouldn't feel the same without director Andy Muschietti's involvement. His vision for the series is unique and his signature horror style can be felt in every part of the movies. To replace him would be akin to replacing the very soul of the film franchise.

Unfortunately, Muschietti has never viewed "It" as a three-film franchise. Even after the incredible success of the 2017 film, which made $701.8 million from a reported $35 million budget, the filmmaker explained how there was never any intention to stretch out the story longer than necessary. He told Variety how he had read about the trilogy idea, but there wasn't ever any discussion about it.

"I understand why they would think that because New Line originally split up 'The Hobbit' into three [movies] instead of two," he said. "It would make sense because it would give me more turf to develop the characters and more of a canvas to develop the journey, but to be honest, there wasn't a conversation about that and now we are designing the story as one single film." It's also telling that the studio resisted the temptation to try to make an extra film and squeeze more money out of the franchise, especially after the sensational box office haul of the first movie.

What Bill Skarsgård has said about another sequel

A return to Derry wouldn't be complete without the return of Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. While there was initially debate surrounding whether Skarsgård would do the character justice — especially after the first choice Will Poulter exited the production — no one can dispute the actor put his own menacing twist on this devious devil. Despite having two movies, it appears as if Skarsgård wasn't ready to let the Dancing Clown go yet either.

After the release of "It: Chapter Two," Skarsgård revealed to JoBlo how he and Andy Muschietti had discussed the possibility of a third film. Both of them acknowledged how it would need to be an entirely original story since they had mostly covered the events of the novel. "There are a few ideas floating around," Skarsgård said. "I feel like I've done what I can with the incarnation of Pennywise as we know of him, so I think it would be a cool idea to change up a few things. So, without going into too much detail, there is a story that we're kind of excited about, but it's way too early to say."

It's interesting how Skarsgård makes mention of a different version of Pennywise. While the clown is visually associated with the series, the actor isn't wrong in saying a new iteration could be necessary for "It: Chapter 3," especially since it's a brand-new story that is technically non-canonical.

What Stephen King has said about a new Pennywise story

Who knows the story of "It" better than anyone else? The author of the novel, of course: Stephen King. While a continuation of "It" hasn't materialized in the literary world, the writer has demonstrated he isn't afraid of returning to his former stomping grounds when inspiration strikes, as he released "Doctor Sleep" — the sequel to 1977's "The Shining" — 36 years after the original. Expectedly, many fans wonder if he will give "It" the same treatment, especially taking into account Pennywise's place in the pop culture zeitgeist.

Appearing on Bloody Disgusting's "The Losers' Club Podcast," King acknowledged how Pennywise is closely tied to his own legacy as a writer, even joking about how the clown will eclipse him. That being said, he isn't itching to get back into this world. "Well, I don't have a relationship to Pennywise now," he said. "Because I have no intention of going back to 'It' ... It's in the hands of people who are doing this... Andy and Barbara [Muschietti] are going to do 'Welcome to Derry.'"

King revealed some context about the "Welcome to Derry" show, stating it would be a prequel set before the events of the first movie and explore the backstory of Pennywise. The author wasn't opposed to the idea, admitting there are intriguing storytelling possibilities to explore here.

What the screenwriter has said about It: Chapter 3

Gary Dauberman has built up a formidable reputation as one of the hottest horror filmmakers in Hollywood. He has written all of the "Annabelle" movies and even directed the third entry, "Annabelle Comes Home." Unsurprisingly, Dauberman had a hand in shaping the direction of the "It" film series, co-writing the first film, while helming the entirety of the screenplay duties for "It: Chapter Two."

Considering he is someone who has worked with spin-offs and different parts of "The Conjuring" franchise, Dauberman also has his own ideas of how a potential "It: Chapter 3" could develop the story further and tackle the rich lore.

Speaking to ComicBookMovie, Dauberman discussed how the two movies are limited to how much mythology can be covered and there is a lot more to explore, specifically in terms of the antagonist. "There are definitely elements of the novel you could expand on and make its own movie," he said. "It's just a question of whether or not people want to see it but I do think It was on this planet for a very, very, very long time and that's a lot of bloodshed and a lot of stories to tell and I think you could do that for sure."

What could be explored in It: Chapter 3?

For all intents and purposes, the cosmic entity known as It is dead. After the ritual and the "Mortal Kombat"-esque move where Pennywise had his heart ripped out, this should be a done and dusted case of ding-dong, the clown is gone. However, this is the horror genre, where death is as optional as it is in a soap opera and nothing is final. How many times have monsters like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers returned from the grave?!

There are several ways of bringing back Pennywise, and it's up to the writers — who should and deserve to be paid fairly for their ideas by studios, by the way — to figure out the get-out-jail-free card here. Regardless of how it's done, it's important to revive the main antagonist of the franchise — whether It comes back in the form of a clown or something else.

Considering the importance of 27-year intervals to the story, "It: Chapter 3" should take place 27 years later — in Derry, of course. The Losers' Club doesn't have kids, so this could be a chance to pass the mantle to a new group of characters to carry the story forward. Naturally, there could be the opportunity for one or two of the originals to return and help the new children in trouble, but a continuation should be about a brand-new journey for these characters — not a rehash of what has come before.

Who would star in It: Chapter 3?

If Andy Muschietti helms "It: Chapter 3," there must be one name at the top of the cast list: Bill Skarsgård. He is fundamental to this iteration of Pennywise, as he successfully made this character his own and shook off the comparisons to Tim Curry's delicious evil version of the clown. Progressing this story in a linear fashion would feel strange without Skarsgård's involvement, even if he portrays another incarnation of the character.

In addition, it will be essential to bring back at least one of the surviving Losers. In terms of sheer drawing power and star credentials, that instantly points to two actors: Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. Considering that Chastain's Bev married Jay Ryan's Ben at the end of "It: Chapter Two," it's also likely that he could make an appearance along with her. Regardless of who is chosen, it would strengthen the narrative to include at least one of the original characters from the beloved group.

Apart from the Losers and Pennywise, it would be a free-for-all over who would portray the new kids.

What fans have said about It: Chapter 3

As with any fandom, there are mixed feelings about continuing the "It" story. A good portion of the audience has also read Stephen King's novel and believes that the largely faithful adaptation captures the book's tone and message, so there is absolutely no need to beat this dead clown over and over again. At the same time, there are others who are curious about how the story could continue and explore more about Pennywise, as long as it is done in a gripping manner and doesn't embarrass the source material.

In one Reddit thread, both sides of the fandom aired their opinions about whether or not the franchise should continue. One commentator suggested that the notion of "It: Chapter 3" is terrible fan service and there is no need to continue the story, pointing out how this would actually turn Pennywise into more of a caricature than a monster. Another Redditor said it's the Losers' Club that is the heart and soul of "It," so it would feel weird without them as the main characters.

A user named u/UnruleyWerewolf saw both sides of the argument and provided perhaps the most rational of responses, writing: "Part of me wants to see more Pennywise but the other part remembers that it was the cast as a whole that made me love Chapter 1 and 2. Plus, a little bit of mystery in the origin of Pennywise is what makes the character interesting."

Why the story will continue as a series instead

It was no secret that Warner Bros. had been eyeing a prequel for "It" since the release of "Chapter Two" — especially since the fans reacted positively to the scene where Pennywise is shown in his human form without the clown makeup, and there are hints about his past connection to the town. In February 2023, it was finally confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter that the horror story will continue as a prequel series for Max titled "Welcome to Derry."

According to the report, this prequel — which is from the minds of Andy and Barbara Muschietti and Jason Fuchs — will explore the town of Derry and why it is a haven for sinister events. Fuchs and Brad Caleb Kane are set to be co-showrunners for the show, while Muschietti is also scheduled to direct multiple episodes.

While the news of "Welcome to Derry" excited those who would like to see more of Muschietti's version of "It," there was some dour news that arrived soon afterward. In an interview with Jake's Takes, Bill Skarsgård confirmed he hadn't been asked to return for the series as Pennywise at the time. It was a surprising turn of events, especially considering how pivotal Skarsgård had been to the film series' success. Although, since It is a shapeshifter, it's not outside the realm of possibility for Pennywise to have a different face — which isn't Skarsgård's.

Why a supercut of It is more likely

Taking into account Andy Muschietti's involvement in "Welcome to Derry," it's looking highly unlikely that "It: Chapter 3" will ever materialize — at least not as a movie. That being said, Muschietti has admitted how he would like to do something different with the two "It" films, helping to create a super-sized version of both these features as well as something a little more. (Cue the internet screaming for Warner Bros. to release the Muschietti cut.)

Chatting to CinemaBlend, the filmmaker explained how he wants to include what was shot and omitted from the theatrical cuts, while also filming new footage. "I am thinking of a supercut," Muschietti said. "Which is basically the two movies told one after the other, adding everything that was lifted from them for length purposes. Great scenes that are more character moments, or things that we had to lift for other reasons. I'm also very excited about shooting extra material."

For fans, this might sound like an interesting proposition in the same vein as how "The Lord of the Rings" films received expanded editions. Neither "It" film was particularly short, either. The first movie clocked in at 135 minutes, while the sequel was longer at 169 minutes. So, this supercut could become a behemoth of a feature. Who knows, maybe with all the cut scenes and additional footage this could be considered "It: Chapter 3."