SPOILER WARNING: the following article contains major spoilers for It, in theaters now.
Judging by the box office totals, theaters were packed last weekend with people watching the Losers Club take on Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the newest Stephen King adaptation, It. If you saw the film, you know how it ends -- or actually, how it doesn’t end. After the Losers Club overcomes their fears and seemingly defeat Pennywise, they make a pact. They all say that no matter what, if “It” returns, they will come back to defeat him once more.
As the film ends, the true title of the film is revealed – It: Chapter 1. That title clearly indicates that a sequel is not only coming, but has been in the works the whole time. So, what's going to happen in It: Chapter 2?
27 Years Later...
As stated in the film, evidence exists that Pennywise only comes out once every 27 years, for approximately a year at a time. During that time, he preys on the children of Derry, Maine, and after he’s had his fill of fresh meat, he goes back into a state of hibernation. It stands to reason, then, that the next film in the franchise, It: Chapter 2, will take place after a 27 year gap.
This idea is backed up, not only by the 1990 It miniseries, but also the famed King novel. While the book doesn’t break the Losers Club’s story into two clear parts, opting instead to alternate between past and present throughout the narrative, the miniseries was split between two feature-length movies. The first film took place in the Losers Club’s past, and the second told their story as adults. It's also important to note that in Chapter 1, after Bev is abducted and rescued, she mentions how she saw visions of the Losers Club coming back to Derry as adults.
So, how is everyone doing after almost three decades? As seen in both the TV miniseries and the novel, the Losers Club isn't nearly as close with each other as they used to be. Having blocked most of the traumatic encounter with Pennywise out their mind, they've have all gone their separate ways. Now in their late 30s, almost all of them have left Derry and created fairly successful lives for themselves, elsewhere.
This is where the differences between the novel and the new film are going to affect the story the most. In the novel, Mike Hanlon was the historian who traced Pennywise’s actions and understood what was happening. 27 years later, after surviving his first encounter with It, Mike is still in Derry as the town librarian. After noticing the return of Pennywise, he contacts the remaining Losers and reminds them of their pact to come back. As seen in Chapter 1, Mike doesn’t serve that same purpose in the story. So does that mean that Mike won’t be the librarian in the sequel?
The rest of the Losers, of course, made it out of Derry. Bev Marsh is now a fashion designer in Chicago; Eddie Kaspbrak is a business owner in New York City; Richie Tozier is a DJ in Los Angeles; Stan Uris is an accountant in Atlanta. The groups defacto leader, Bill Denbrough, is a horror writer (We see what you did there, Mr. King!) living in England. And Ben, everyone’s favorite chubby poet, has lost weight and become a successful architect in Nebraska. Not bad for a group of outcasts and misfits, right?
The downfall of the 1990 miniseries, in most people’s eyes, is the second part, starring the adult Losers. Having forgotten their original encounter with the evil clown, most of the second chapter follows the adults as they begin to remember Pennywise through a few encounters with the shapeshifter. Frankly, it’s boring, and doesn’t have the same excitement of seeing kids interacting with an evil clown. The book also features the spouses of the Losers, and these new characters interact with Pennywise, acting as villains and victims. The spouses further complicate the plot and will hopefully be left out of the theatrical sequel. As seen in Chapter 1, the filmmakers have no problem diverging from the source material for the sake of a good film, so let's pray they make the right choice here.