‘IT: Chapter Two’ Will Feature One of the Book’s Wildest Moments (No, Not That One)
There are some pretty bonkers moments in Stephen King’s IT, including a couple that would fall pretty low on the list of “most likely to be included in a film adaptation.” As it turns out, at least one of those scenes — a climactic supernatural confrontation — will appear in IT: Chapter Two, Andy Muschietti’s sequel to last year’s hit adaptation of the iconic horror novel. Before you get worried, it’s not that scene.
Those who have ready King’s novel know what I mean when I say “that scene,” but before we get into any more specifics, now would be a good time to drop in a SPOILER WARNING for King’s novel and the upcoming movie sequel.
If you’re still with us, IT screenwriter Gary Dauberman recently spoke with CinemaBlend, where he revealed that Chapter Two will indeed include an insane showdown scene from the book. It involves what’s called “The Ritual of Chüd” — where the Losers Club goes toe-to-toe with Pennywise in a brain-melting supernatural battle. To say that things get weird would be an understatement, and Dauberman agrees that the concept is fairly ambitious — though Muschietti was apparently game for it:
The Ritual of Chüd is challenging, but it’s such an important component to the book that we had to address it. That stuff is difficult to balance, but because [director Andy Muschietti, producer Barbara Muschietti and I] worked with each other before, when I’m writing pages and all that stuff it becomes more of a conversation and less like, ‘Hey, here’s what I did.’ It’s sort of organic; it’s really kind of just chipping away at the stone and trying to find the most focused, accessible way into some of more metaphysical aspects of that book…
I think that’s something that Andy gave a lot of thought about, which was great, because as I was kind of chugging along through the Adrian Melon stuff and sort of more the stuff that’s in the book that you kind of just want to see on screen. I’m writing that stuff, and Andy would kind of go off and think about Chüd and how he wants to visually represent all that stuff. He just came up with some brilliant, brilliant stuff… It really is going to be amazing.
For those who haven’t read the novel, The Ritual of Chüd actually occurs twice: When the younger Losers defeat Pennywise the first time, they use this concept (picked up by bookworm Ben) of defeating evil. Young Bill locks eyes with Pennywise (appearing in his true form as a giant friggin’ spider monster), who uses his “Deadlights” to hypnotize Bill and send him to an astral plane of sorts known as the Macroverse. (Remember the part in the IT movie when Pennywise tried to hypnotize Beverly with those weird lights? Same thing.) In the Macroverse, Bill encounters a massive turtle known as Maturin (which, as King’s Constant Readers know, is connected — like everything — to The Dark Tower), a being of pure goodness that cannot interfere in this battle. Pennywise/IT is the counterbalance to Maturin; a being of pure evil.
If that sounds weird, then you clearly haven’t read the book, which also includes a scene where the 11-year-old boys of the Losers Club take turns losing their virginity to Beverly — aka that scene. Thankfully, that one won’t be in the upcoming movie sequel.
Here’s what Muschietti had to say about including Maturin and the Ritual of Chüd in an interview with Syfy Wire last year:
The moment you introduce the element of IT, which is an interdimensional evil entity, the presence of the turtle comes with it, as a counterbalance. It doesn’t seem to play a big role, but the turtle is there. Like all mythologies, there’s a god of good and a god of evil. I didn’t want to use it as a fantastic character, but it’s hinted, every time the kids are in danger or something, I wanted to hint at the presence of the turtle…
In the book, they somehow address the turtle and say ‘the turtle couldn’t help us.’ But I think in the second part, the turtle will try to help them. In the second movie, the turtle left a few clues to their childhood that they don’t remember. They have to retrieve those memories from the summer of 1989, and that’s how we jump back to 1989. The keys to defeating to Pennywise are left in the past, and as adults, they don’t remember.
When the adult Losers encounter Pennywise/IT/monster spider again, the Ritual of Chüd is repeated, but this time by both Bill and Eddie. In the second ritual, Bill is thrust into the Macroverse, where Pennywise hopes to trap him in the “true Deadlights” — imprisoning his soul forever. Bill realizes that the only way to really defeat Pennywise is to overcome his fears once and for all. For Bill — who has struggled with stuttering since childhood — that manifests as summoning his confidence and shouting, “He thrusts his fists against the post” without stuttering. (That phrase, which he used in speech therapy, has haunted him for most of his life.)
Honestly, that description isn’t even the half of it. There are supernatural spider babies and an upside-down waterfall thing, and a lot of metaphysical, abstract concepts. It’s incredibly ambitious, to say the least.
It’s a bit of a pleasant surprise that Muschietti is including some of the more difficult elements from King’s novel, like — as Dauberman mentioned — Adrian Mellon. It’s a small but crucial part; King’s novel opens with the death of Adrian (played in the upcoming film by filmmaker Xavier Dolan), a gay man who is thrown off the Derry bridge by a trio of homophobic teens. When he hits the water, Adrian is brutally attacked and murdered by Pennywise, the supernatural entity that represents the more sinister aspects of Derry.
At this point, I have to wonder just how long this movie is going to be if it’s covering this much ground. But both Dauberman and Muschietti worked wonders with the first of the two films, so they have my full confidence.
IT: Chapter Two hits theaters on September 6, 2019.