In Stephen King's novel, the Losers discover vital information about Pennywise's origins in a scene inspired by Native Americans. They learn about visions that Native Americans claimed to have had in smoke-holes, and assume that the practice might benefit them. However, while it does, in fact, help the Losers (to an extent, at least), it's one of those scenes that might work better on paper than it does the silver screen. In fact, even Muschietti seems to agree, given some major changes he'll be introducing in the sequel, which also happen to incorporate the character Mike Hanlon.
Even though he's introduced as an outsider when he's younger, Mike Hanlon is one of the most important characters in IT. Not only is he the sole Loser who stays in Derry, while the others relocate to parts of the country less congested with evil clowns, he's the only Loser who hasn't forgotten what happened during their first battle with Pennywise. In fact, he's spent the past 27 years learning all there is to know about the creature. Unfortunately, though, the past 27 years have taken a toll on Mike, and Muschietti plans on highlighting this fact even more so than King does in the novel, which in turn will help make the entire smoke-hole sequence easier to digest.
In the sequel, Mike will be portrayed in a much darker tone, having formed a drug addiction over the years in order to handle the trauma he and the other Losers faced, according to an interview Muschietti did with EW. And, as it turns out, this addiction may turn out to have an oddly positive effect on the Losers and their chances of defeating Pennywise once and for all. Instead of stuffing themselves into a makeshift smoke-hole in the middle of the woods as children, IT Chapter Two will have Mike (and maybe even the other Losers later on in the movie) take mind-altering drugs to manifest the same knowledge that was given to Mike and Richie in the novel.
Pennywise's Many Forms
In the original novel, Stephen King really drives home the fact that Pennywise is a shapeshifting creature. It turns into classic Universal monsters like the Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a leper, and even blood-sucking leeches, depending on a victim's particular fears. However, last year's live-action adaptation limited the sort of transformations that Pennywise could manifest, opting instead for more conservatively horrific monsters (though the leper does make an appearance as well), and it's fair to assume that some of his stranger manifestations might not make the final cut.
For example, at one point in the novel, an older Henry Bowers is being summoned back to Derry by Pennywise in a scene that feels stylistically closer to Teletubbies than something belonging to the horror genre. Pennywise's face appears in the moon as he speaks directly to Henry, prompting him to escape Juniper Hill Asylum, return to Derry, and try to kill the Losers (this scene was actually featured in the made-for-TV miniseries in 1990 - to questionable effect). There is also a later scene in Juniper Hill in which Pennywise has the head of a Doberman Pinscher; and while it might make for an effective scare for the guard that Pennywise is attacking, the effect probably wouldn't translate particularly well to the screen.
The first IT adaptation all but confirmed the fact that Pennywise's forms will be significantly less over-the-top in IT Chapter Two, so Pennywise's interaction with Bowers might turn out to be as grounded as Muschietti's other interpretations. Then again, given the confidence that he and Warner Bros undoubtedly have in the series following the first movie's record-breaking success, maybe IT Chapter Two will throw caution to the wind and take to Stephen King's most unusual elements with open arms.
- IT Chapter Two (2019) release date: Sep 06, 2019