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What You May Not Know About It Chapter 2

Now that It's big-screen sequel has officially gotten the green light and is creeping its way toward a 2019 release date, details are starting to seep out, drip by drip. From the changes we can expect to see from the Stephen King novel to director Andy Muschietti's plans for the macroverse, here's what you need to know about It: Chapter Two.

It'll be set in the present day

King's novel, and the 1990 TV miniseries adaptation, took place in two time periods: 1957-58, when the Losers first banded together to stop It, and 1985, when they're all summoned back to Derry to finish what they started. Since the new version of It's first portion takes place in 1989, that means the second chapter will take place in the present day—the 27-year cycle is crucial to the story. 

Though the filmmakers haven't addressed the approach yet, this'll likely require a shift in certain elements of the new story. Consider the technology that wasn't available at the time, or the national news coverage a hate crime such as the one against Adrian Mellon might receive. It may require some suspension of disbelief or clever scripting to convince audiences that the Losers wouldn't be aware of what's going on in Derry—or at least keep tabs on each other via Facebook.

The Turtle stuff will come into play

One of the biggest voids left by the first film was the exploration of the macroverse mythology that underlined the kids' battle against It in the book. Rather than using the Ritual of Chüd to speak to the ancient turtle/universal creator Maturin, the Losers simply force It into submission with a show of fearless togetherness that has no real supernatural element.

But Muschietti told Yahoo! UK that he had no intention of removing it from the whole story. "I really wanted to focus on the emotional journey of the group of kids. On the other hand, getting into that other dimension—the other side—was something that we could introduce in the second part," he explained. "I wanted to respect that mystery feeling of not knowing what's on the other side." And his plan for introducing such a bonkers concept is already in the works ...

Mike Hanlon's going to have a serious obsession

Given the book-to-screen changes seen in the first installment, fans of the novel probably already expect to see some deviations from the source material for movie two. One character who'll grow up to be really different: Mike Hanlon. 

According to Muschietti, Mike will still be the center of the Losers' reunion, as he's been the only one of the seven to remain in Derry. However, as the director told Entertainment Weekly, "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 on him. I want him to be a junkie, actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he's a wreck."

Indeed, in the book, Mike does try to hold off on dialing up his old friends until he's absolutely sure that It has come back, while still obsessively piecing together a timeline of Its deadly history. But despite a fellow town historian's warning that working on such matters is detrimental to the soul, Mike remains mostly calm and collected in the book. Not so on the big screen, it seems, but there is a grander purpose to his new emotional dynamic.

The discovery of the Ritual of Chüd will differ

Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly that the reason Mike will be so much more burdened this time around is that 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."

Those drugs, he explained, will help to simulate the same kind of information accessed in the Native American smoke hole ritual they take part in during the book. "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," added Muschietti. "We've brought that to Mike, by the end of those 30 years Mike has figured out the Ritual of Chüd."

The kids will be back

It: Chapter Two will introduce a whole new cast of Losers, as the film will follow the characters into their adult lives. But we can expect to see the kids again, too.

Muschietti told IndieWire, "We are going back to the summer of 1989 and if people love these characters and actors the way I do, it's going to be a blast to go back to 1989 in the second one. I don't want to go back just for that, I want to make those flashbacks essential in the plot where in order for the Losers to figure out the clues to defeat Pennywise, they have to retrieve their memories from the past." And it's not just going to be visions from the first film they retrieve, either. He told EW that the child actors from the first pic are "a very big part of the action" in the second. 

Perhaps one of the new scenes for the younger stars has already been hinted at by the director. He previously told Collider that he had to leave an eerie Bill Denbrough scene out of the final script due to budget concerns, saying, "Bill sees— he's leaning on a bridge, in Derry, and he's spitting on the Kenduskeag Stream, and suddenly he sees the reflection of a balloon. And he looks up and it's not one balloon, but a bunch of balloons, and then he starts to see body parts, and the shot goes wider and it's a multitude of dead kids floating." Now that the box office has earned the studio a massive return on the first film, he probably won't have as strict a spending limit the second time around.

But Stan's fate will still be sad

As with the book, Stanley Uris won't quite make it back to Derry in adult form. Although Wyatt Oleff might still be able to return by way of some of the aforementioned flashback sequences, his adult counterpart won't last very long after Mike makes that fateful phone call.

Muschietti told EW, "There is something in the future for him, taking his own life, that finds its seed in this film. He is the one who doesn't want to accept what's going on. And being the one who didn't want to participate he gets the worst part." Indeed, Stan was one of the few Losers who was actually injured by It, and the attack on him was arguably worse than what happened to Eddie's arm. Being reminded of his past will be too terrible for him to take. As Muschietti's sister-slash-producing partner Barbara Muschietti put it, "The thing about Stan is he doesn't bend. He breaks." Whether the movie will bring him back in other ways, as the previous adaptation did, remains to be seen.

Pennywise's origin will be explored

Another of the scenes Muschietti told Collider he wanted to bring into the first film was one that revealed the very start of Its terror on Earth. He described it as "a flashback, that sort of portrays the first encounter of It and humans, which is an amazing scene."

Actor Bill Skarsgård seemingly confirmed that such a scene will make into the second movie by telling Metro UK, "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 ... to delve into the psychological and metaphysical spaces of this transdimensional being." Skarsgård's description sounds like Muschietti's deleted scene, and it would certainly go a long way toward explaining the macroverse concept. 

It won't be quite as funny

The first It movie earned a lot of chuckles alongside the screams; the kids' dialogue tended to be pretty lighthearted, even when they were hunting down (or being hunted by) Pennywise. From four-letter-laden snapbacks to scenes of the Losers having fun at the quarry, the movie had a lot of levity.

The second film, however, might not. Muschietti told MTV that Chapter Two "won't be a comedy" even though it will "recover the dialogue between the two timelines that the book had." Considering he's already hinted that even the most stable character of the original story, Mike Hanlon, will be struggling in new ways as an adult, it sounds like the second installment will really go there when it comes to their emotional anguish.

The filmmakers will remain mostly the same

Muschietti will return to direct the second film, from a screenplay written by Gary Dauberman. Although the first installment was credited to multiple screenwriters, including former director Cary Fukunaga, Dauberman was one of the final scribes to put his mark on the working screenplay.

The sequel's scheduled to arrive in theaters on September 6, 2019, with production kicking off as quickly as possible so the first film's stars can reprise their roles before they outgrow their original appearances. Muschietti told MTV that if they do mature in the process of development, the "magic of cinema" will provide "practical solutions for that." However, Barbara Muschietti told EW, "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."

There was only one choice for grown-up Beverly Marsh

As soon as the sequel was announced, fans started putting together dream casts for Chapter Two (we had a few ideas for who should star in the second movie as well). For Muschietti, casting the pivotal role of Beverly Marsh turned out to be as simple as looking back on his own filmography. 

Early on, Muschietti told Variety he was hoping for Jessica Chastain, who starred in his celebrated 2013 horror movie Mama, to join the cast, saying, "Jessica is an amazing actress and a very good friend and I would love her to play Beverly. She loves the movie and it feels like the planets are aligned in that sense, but we still have to make that happen." He quickly got his wish, with Chastain entering talks to join the cast in early 2018. Her participation was confirmed in April — just in time for a slew of other major casting announcements.

The Losers Club grows up

Alongside the confirmation that Jessica Chastain would play the adult Beverly Marsh in It: Chapter Two, the studio unveiled the list of stars who'd be joining her to bring the grown-up Losers' Club to life. It's a pretty impressive roster: former Power star Andy Bean will play Stanley Uris, Saturday Night Live vet Bill Hader is on board to play Richie Tozier, and X-Men and Split lead James McAvoy is the adult Bill Denbrough, while Isiah Mustafa will play Mike Hanlon, James Ransone will play Eddie Kaspbrak, and Jay Ryan will play Ben Hanscom.

Warner Bros. released a photo of the adult cast together in early July, showing the gang yukking it up at what looks like it might have been a table reading — an altogether happier occasion than much of what awaits their characters when they reconvene in Derry to face down Pennywise for the final time.

It may be followed by a cut-together film

Before the cameras even started rolling on the first installment of It, Stephen King hinted that the overarching plan for the series might be to make two movies and then eventually cut them together into one long feature.

"We're taking it and making the movie from the point of view of the kids," told Collider in 2016," and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel." Considering the record-breaking success of the first film, it wouldn't be too surprising if a successful bow on the second earns a third installment that pieces together the first two for one last run at box office glory. It's still Hollywood, after all.