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Bill Skarsgård Teases Pennywise Prequel Movie

The star of It: Chapter Two just floated a shocking possibility: that we haven't seen the last of Pennywise.

In a recent interview with Collider, Bill Skarsgård indicated that he and director Andy Muschietti have kicked around ideas for a possible prequel — and they're not the only ones. Please be advised that spoilers for It: Chapter Two follow.

Skarsgård was doing press for his horror-comedy feature Villains with co-star Maika Monroe when, naturally, the subject of the It movies — and, in particular, his terrifying performance as the malevolent, shape-shifting entity which appears most often in the guise of Pennywise, the Dancing Clown — came up. Since the first film made nearly all of the money and the second film made the rest, the idea of a third entry was raised; however, as fans of Stephen King's masterful 1986 novel are well aware, the two movies told all of the story there is to tell (sort of... more on that in a moment). 

That's when Skarsgård dropped the absolute bomb that he and Muschietti had discussed revisiting the character while they were still busy shooting It: Chapter Two. "I have some ideas that me and Andy had been talking about, and that we talked about, throughout the shoot of the second movie, that I am not gonna share with you," the actor said. "I don't wanna give anything away. All I can say is that we have an idea that we both think could be really, really cool. It would be a different type of movie. It would be a prequel, but it would be a very different movie from [It: Chapter One and It: Chapter Two]."

Skarsgård then raised the excellent point that in order to keep audiences invested in such a film, the story would essentially have to be a complete 180 degree turn from the first two films, which together comprised nearly five hours of run time in telling a single, epic story. "That was always our goal," he said. "If we do a third one, we will have to make something very different in tone, for it to be a fun third movie and not just beating a dead horse. You've seen over four hours of the main story, so this would be something completely different."

Now, given the critical and commercial success of the first two films, there has already been plenty of speculation as to the possibility of an It: Chapter Three; we've even indulged in such speculation ourselves. The issues with continuing the story told by King's novel, though, are many. 

At the conclusion of the yarn (the novel and the films) the shape-shifting monster is defeated, and the Losers are going their separate ways, soon to forget their horrifying ordeal for the second time. (In the book, the town of Derry — which is implied to be a sort of extension of the creature — literally collapses on itself.) Sure, it's possible that Its malevolent influence lingered on after its demise; we could even see a film or television series focused on the citizens of Derry as they grapple with the town's malignant legacy.

The problem here is that we're no longer talking about a Stephen King adaptation, but a movie or show inspired by the Master's work, along the lines of Hulu's Castle Rock series. King himself has said that he intends to write no new material centered on Pennywise... ever. So, how could there be a third It movie that actually takes its cues from King's prose?

The answer lies in the voluminous amount of material from the novel that didn't make it into the films. The book makes several narrative asides for the purpose of illustrating just how long It has been a part of Derry, focusing on major disasters that occurred in the town's past at the end of Its cycles (this aspect of said cycles was played down significantly in the films). 

These disasters include: a deadly fire at the Black Spot, Derry's only black-owned nightclub, during the days of Prohibition (an event at which Dick Hallorann, the Overlook Hotel's chef in The Shining, was present); the unexplained massacre of a group of lumberjacks by one of their peers; and the absolute annihilation of unarmed gangsters by Derry's police. In each of these instances, the residents of the town seemed to simply not notice the horrors unfolding in front of them... or, if they did, they soon forgot.

A prequel film could focus on one of Its previous cycles, basically treating the appropriate chapter in the book as a short story from which the narrative could be drawn. It actually makes a ton of sense — and taking this into consideration, the rest of Skarsgård's remarks about a possible third film get very, very exciting.

"I met Stephen King, for the first time, when I was doing Good Morning America and he was in the green room next to me," the star said. "We chatted a little bit and he was like, 'Yeah, well, I have some ideas for a prequel,' which I [had] yet to have. I was like, "Are you f***in” kidding me?!" That's the f***in' man, himself. That's the holy grail of ideas. So, we'll see what comes of it."

Well, King may have said he'll never write about Pennywise again, but he never said he couldn't have any ideas concerning the stuff he's already written. Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman did a fantastic job on the films, Skarsgård is obviously heavily invested in the character of Pennywise, and King has a bee in his bonnet about a possible prequel?

Do you hear that, dear reader? That is the sound of stars lining up. Ordinarily, we would come down firmly on the side of leaving a perfect one-two punch like It: Chapter One and It: Chapter Two alone — but with Skarsgård totally psyched about the idea, plenty of unused material to draw from, and King himself on board, it wouldn't be very tough to get us to change that tune. You'd better believe that we'll be keeping an eye out for any developments whatsoever, and we'll keep you up to speed.