Adapting a novel to the big screen isn’t easy; adapting a 1000+ page Stephen King epic is even tougher. King’s novel is absolutely massive, with tons of other subplots and lore that wouldn’t work for a movie’s pacing. Therefore, there’s a lot that needs to be cut out for the final films. Maybe if IT was being adapted as a limited series with a good 8 to 10 hours, they could find ways to include most of the book.
Luckily, IT and IT Chapter 2 are both faithful adaptations of King’s story. While they may not contain every part of the book, they manage to capture its essence and themes. IT was always a story about friendship, love, and growing up. As long as they were able to tell this type of character-driven narrative, the adaptation would be in good hands. Here are five things that IT Chapter 2 kept from the novel and five that it changed. Major spoilers ahead!
10 Kept: Chinese Restaurant Reunion
Just like in the novel, the Losers' Club has their reunion at a Chinese restaurant. Excluding this entire sequence would’ve been foolish, as it’s one of the more light-hearted moments in this dark and dreary horror story. Our favorite characters having a good time and reminiscing about the past is so enjoyable to watch. In IT Chapter 2, the reunion scene also ends the same as in the book, where Pennywise gives all the Losers a good scare in their fortune cookies.
9 Changed: Tom Rogan And Audra Denbrough’s Involvement
At the beginning of IT Chapter 2, we meet Bill’s wife Audra, who is an actress starring in his movie. We then later meet Tom, Beverly’s abusive husband. After Bill and Beverly leave for Derry, that’s the last we see of Tom and Audra. In the book, however, they become heavily involved in the plot. Both Tom and Audra make their way to Derry to find their spouses. Tom is then possessed by IT to kidnap Audra and bring her to its lair. He is killed after he stares into the deadlights and gets devoured (good riddance).
8 Kept: The Losers Forget What Happened
The novel is structured in a way where each of the main characters has forgotten what happened when they were kids. As a reader, we also find out along with the characters as they piece together the events of that summer. The movie also has this plot point where each of the Losers can’t remember certain events. The only key difference is what they forget. In the movie, they had only forgotten a couple of months after the house on Neibolt Street incident. With the book, they pretty much forgot everything and revisiting Derry is what triggers their memory.
7 Changed: IT’s Final Form
One of the biggest questions going into IT Chapter 2 was how IT was going to look in the final battle. In the novel, the Losers battle a giant spider, which also looked hilariously bad in the miniseries. That being said, the film does have IT’s final form as a giant spider as well, but they also added Pennywise’s head onto it. It’s definitely an odd choice that could either be completely unsettling to some viewers or hysterical to others. It makes sense why the filmmakers would go this route, as it adds a lot of personality to the monster since Pennywise constantly taunts and insults them. It may be quite boring if they just fought a giant CGI spider on screen, which is exactly what happens in the miniseries.
6 Kept: IT Came To Earth Millions Of Years Ago
Now this was extremely brief in the film, but Bill gets a quick glimpse after essentially being drugged by Mike. After seeing a bunch of trippy moments involving IT’s form and the Ritual of Chüd’s process, Bill eventually sees an asteroid-like rock hurdling down to Earth. This is how IT crash-landed on earth millions of years ago, and landed on what would eventually become the town of Derry. This is also in the book, although it’s the whole Loser’s Club who sees it as kids. The writers probably didn’t want to get that cosmic until the sequel.
5 Changed: How The Ritual Of Chüd Is Performed
To be fair, the movie does contain the Ritual of Chüd. However, the process of this ritual is vastly different in the book. The film’s version is pretty straightforward, as they only needed to burn special artifacts and find a way to trap IT. The novel’s way is much more psychological and Lovecraftian. To explain it simply, it is a psychic battle of wits. It’s very weird in the novel, since it deals with Bill’s mind essentially leaving the universe to battle IT. It’s understandable that they would change this for the film, as it may prove too weird for the average movie-goer.
4 Kept: Eddie’s Death
One major event they kept from the novel was the tragic death of Eddie in the final fight against IT. That being said, the way Eddie dies in IT Chapter 2 is different since the final battle differs from book to novel. In the book, IT rips off Eddie's arm, and he eventually bleeds out. In the movie, he’s stabbed from behind by Pennywise. Eddie's final moments are slightly different as well, but they both have Richie protest leaving his body in the sewers. No matter what, it still hits hard in the feels.
3 Changed: Richie’s Secret
One major change to Richie Tozier’s character was that he had secret feelings for Eddie as a kid. This has always been a theory from the novel, but it was never really addressed. It makes sense in hindsight, though. Richie tends to always joke around and tease Eddie, which could be a sign of feelings. It definitely added some more emotion to their relationship. Many of us couldn’t hold back tears as Richie cried after Eddie’s death. The only thing similar to this in the book is how it’s slightly implied that Eddie could be closeted. It appears the writers just wanted to explore this in a different way.
2 Kept: Stan’s Suicide
For those who never read the book or watched the original miniseries, Stan’s death may have been frightening. It’s quite a shock in the early pages of the novel since, Stan is the first one who Mike calls to come back home. The actual chapter is from the point of view of Stan’s wife, Patricia. It’s a very heartbreaking moment since we get an entire history of their relationship and marriage. Just like in the book, Stan commits suicide by slitting his wrists. This really puts the terror at the beginning of the book as we don’t know what happened in the past, but we know it was traumatizing enough that Stan would rather be dead than go back to Derry.
1 Changed: Stan’s Intention For Committing Suicide
While IT Chapter 2 still kept Stan’s suicide from the novel, the reasoning behind it is a lot different. In the novel, it’s very obvious that Stan is just utterly horrified and does not want to come back to Derry. In the film, it’s a much more selfless act that was quite brilliant from the writer’s end. It appears that the film Stan did it to take himself out of the picture, as he’s fully aware each of the Losers should be there to defeat IT. It truly adds more to his character and definitely brought out the tears in the film’s final monologue.