The only thing surprising about the news that a sequel to Stephen King’s It is on the way, is that it won’t reach theaters until 2019. Given the fact that the first film cost $35 million to make and has pulled in over half a billion around the world, you’d think all of the parties involved would rush the follow-up onto the big screen to capitalize on its success. These classy bastards have, instead, chosen to do it right rather than do it quick.
Based on the 1986 novel by King, It tells the story of a group of friends as kids who are terrorized by a force of evil that takes the form of Pennywise The Clown, played to perfection by Bill Skarsgard in the new film and previously played chillingly by Tim Curry in the 1990 TV miniseries adaptation of the novel.
Whereas King decided to have the story jump back and forth between the past and the present (where the friends are now grown up and forced to come back together to battle the resurrected evil), the filmmakers wisely decided to separate the story into two distinct parts so that what we’ll get in the sequel is the segment focusing on the adults, though there will be connections to their younger selves and what they went through.
Here's how director Andy Muschietti explained things to Collider:
“It’s the second half, it’s not a sequel. It’s the second half and it’s very connected to the first one. In my mind there will be that dialogue between the two timelines that we didn’t have in the first one, because the first one is all about the kids.”
As to the inspiration for It, on StephenKing.com, the author reflected that the seeds were planted in 1978 when he and his family were living in Boulder, CO and their car broke down. Getting it to the shop, he waited for word that it was ready. When that call came, he decided to walk to the gas station, and by the time he had gotten to the right road, it was already dark (“In the mountains, the end of day comes in a hurry,” he comments). He had to cross a wooden bridge which spanned a stream, and as he walked he was reminded of the fairy tale “The Three Billy-Goats Gruff,” and the troll that lived under the bridge terrorizing those who crossed it. He found himself wanting to write a novel about “a real troll under a real bridge.”
Flash forward two years and he was feeling inspired, deciding that his “bridge” would be the city of Bangor. “What’s under a city?” he writes. “Tunnels. Sewers. What a good place for a troll!” Another year passed and he began thinking of Stratford, Connecticut, where he had lived for a time as a kid. There was a library where the adult and the children sections were connected by a short corridor. That corridor, he decided, was also a bridge, “one across which every goat of a child must risk trip-trapping to become an adult.”
It took another six months for it all to come together for him: “I thought of...how it might be possible to create a ricochet effect, interweaving the stories of children and the adults they become. Sometime in the summer of 1981 I realized that I had to write about the troll under the bridge or leave him — It — forever.”
The second It film will be released on September 6, 2019.
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Lead image via YouTube.