Bill Skarsgård returning as Pennywise


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Bill Skarsgård is definitely no Tim Curry, but thankfully for audiences of the latest installment, he didn’t try to be. Skarsgård’s Pennywise will be haunting the dreams of a whole new generation of It fans with his whispery approach and sneering grin. Producer Barbara Muschietti revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Skarsgård is the one actor signed on for a sequel whose writing and development has already been in the works despite not yet being green lit.

Pennywise’s past slayings

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Through Ben’s research in the new film, the kids realize something bad happens in Derry every 27 years. Using their current 1989 setting and the numerous missing children as a starting point, they trace back through history, outlining the tragedies of 1962’s fire at the Black Spot, 1935’s Bradley Gang shootout and 1908’s Ironworks explosion. Ben also shows the crew sketches of the 91 people signing the charter to make Derry a town, explaining they went missing and all that was left was a trail of bloody clothes to somewhere known as the Well House. In these sketches, Pennywise leers from within the crowd, giving some background on his dated clown attire, as it more than likely was created centuries ago. The crew figures out the Well House’s current location is a dilapidated structure on Neibolt Street where Eddie first saw Pennywise alone. Within the house is a well leading to the sewer where the group figure out Pennywise is living. Producer Barbara Muschietti already told Collider in July that they originally planned to include more on the Black Spot in the first half of the film, but budgets prevented it from occurring. However, she believes the fire may make the perfect opening for the sequel.

Pennywise’s origin

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In the same interview with Collider, Barbara also revealed one of the two scenes postponed included It’s first interaction with the human race. If this is reintroduced in the sequel, perhaps it will also explore why Pennywise has some sort of hold over the townspeople that prevents them from stepping in when needed. From Georgie sticking his head in the sewer drain to Henry carving his name in Ben’s stomach, both were witnessed by passersby who did nothing. In the miniseries, this is mentioned when Mike remembers his first day of school where he was sharing old photos of Derry and discussing missing settlers before being interrupted by the teacher. Beverly also remembers being picked on by Henry Bowers and his lackeys while a witnessing neighbor goes inside without doing anything. They refer to the figurative act of sticking your head in the sand as the “Derry disease.”

The miniseries also discusses Pennywise’s true form, known as the deadlights, which, if viewed directly, cause a person to go instantly insane (as displayed by Bowers) or be killed. In the feature film, Beverly is abducted by Pennywise and claims she’s not afraid. He menacingly claims she will be before unhinging his jaw to reveal bright lights. While it is never explicitly stated by anyone that this is the deadlights, it is assumed when Beverly’s eyes glaze over and she begins floating. With only the Cliffs Notes of Pennywise’s past thus far, here’s hoping the sequel delves a little deeper in explaining the origin of the dancing clown and his many other forms.

Read more: Someone was tying red ‘It’ balloons to city sewer grates

More humor balancing out the horror

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In the It miniseries, Seth Green’s Richie is obviously the class clown with campy one-liners that carry over into his successful career as a Hollywood comedian. In the 2017 It, Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things fame does Richie justice with some updated humor in the form of childish “Your Mom” jokes, numerous sexual innuendos and equally-as-funny one-liners (“Who invited Molly Ringwald into the group?” wins as he draws reference between Beverly and a fellow ’80s redhead). However, Richie isn’t the only one cracking jokes, whether deliberately or through subtle mishaps (Eddie mixing up “placebo” and “gazebo” in a fit of rage), jabs (Beverly continuously drawing attention to Ben’s love of all things NKOTB) and rather sadistic occurrences (Pennywise waving at Mike via a severed arm he’s just finished gnawing on as the latter gets beat by Henry Bowers). The result is a dark coming-of-age story drawing attention to the awkward growing pains of adolescence that we can only hope transfers over to the adult-centric sequel.

What happened to Henry Bowers

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Henry Bowers terrorizes the Losers Club throughout the 2017 reboot and in turn brings them closer together. Pennywise gets in his head after returning his father’s lost knife, convincing him via a hijacked television program to kill his cop dad with whom he is at odds. Bowers does as Pennywise wishes before leaving to find the club and “kill them all” at the Well House. There, all but Mike have ventured down into the sewer on a mission to save Beverly, and Henry sees him as the perfect target. He engages in a scuffle with Mike before getting pushed down the well. While one may assume Bowers fell to his death, his body is never shown and no mention of his passing is made. This is somewhat significant when compared to the miniseries, as Bowers survives the sewer battle with Pennywise (his lackeys, not so much) and takes the fall for the murders It committed. Pennywise returns to Bowers 30 years later where he is locked up at Juniper Hill Asylum, helping him escape and telling him it’s time to kill them all. Whether Bowers actually died in Chapter One or will be returning once more for a similar revenge mission is yet to be seen.

The fates of Stanley and Eddie

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Stanley is hardly a believer of It and his powers despite having his worst fear of the contorted flute lady painting come to life early in the film. He insists throughout that what they see isn’t real and just a figment of each person’s imagination. His reluctance to help his friends is also prevalent, from not wanting to enter the Well House to getting attacked by said flute lady when separated from his group in the sewer and blaming them for it. Stanley’s final bout of reluctance comes at the film’s close as they’re saying they’ll return to Derry if It does, solidifying the promise through a blood oath. Here, Stanley tells Bill he hates him before cracking a smile and being the first to leave the circle. Eddie is the second to leave, both acting as a foreshadow for what happened in the miniseries. There, Stanley reluctantly agrees to come back to Derry should It resurface, but once called by Mike as an adult, the memories become too much for him and he takes his own life. His wife finds blood smeared across the bathroom wall to spell out “IT,” and the Losers Club later have his decapitated head taunting them thanks to Pennywise after finding out his fate. Eddie, however, does return to Derry, going so far as to enter the sewers again with the gang, where he meets his demise at the hands of Pennywise. Between what was shown in the first chapter and what director Andy Muschietti has discussed in interviews for the future, it’s clear he doesn’t always stay true to the source material’s outcomes, so only time will tell if Stanley and Eddie will meet similar fates.