It is well on the way toward becoming the most successful horror film of all time, so it’s no surprise that work is already beginning on the sequel. Part 2 will tell the story of the second half of Stephen King’s novel, as the Losers’ Club reunites as adults to confront Pennywise one last time. But fans of the book shouldn’t expect everything in the movie to go according to plan.
In a new interview with EW, director Andy Muschietti revealed that he is making some pretty big changes to one of the characters compared to the book — and it’s sure to be met with some controversy. In the novel, the character Mike Hanlon is the only Loser to stay in Derry, Maine after childhood, spending his years as a librarian reading up on It and preparing for the day when it might return, then reuniting the Losers when it does. But Muschietti has something far more depressing in store for the character.
“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 with him. I want him to be a junkie actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he’s a wreck … 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.”
Some fans are already expressing displeasure that the film’s only non-white character will be turned into a drug addict, and hardcore book fans will almost definitely not be in favor of the change. But Muschietti notes that the change actually has its roots in the novel, and attributes an important skill learned by all the Losers in the book to just Mike in the film; giving his character some added importance.
“It resonates with what the kids do when they go to the smokehouse in the Barrens [in 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. We’ve brought that to Mike, by the end of those 30 years Mike has figured out the Ritual of Chüd.”
We already heard that the sequel will be delving into the cosmic aspect of the novel that the first film glossed over, but it’s nice to learn how involved Mike will be in that — especially given his rather thin development in the first film. And speaking of thinly-developed characters, the sequel will also be following the novel when it comes to the fate of Stan Uris, who [SPOILER] kills himself in the book when he hears that It has returned to Derry.
“There is something in the future for him, taking his own life, that finds its seed in [the first] 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.”
The “worst part” would be the scene where he nearly gets his face sucked off by It. We could see that type of thing leaving a lasting impression on a guy.
It Chapter Two is expected to hit theaters in 2019.