Stephen King's IT novel hit shelves in 1986, with the events of the narrative being well-known among the author's fans for decades, yet IT CHAPTER TWO decided to take some interesting liberties with the story's conclusion. When delivering audiences an adaptation of a novel, filmmakers often struggle with ways in which to remain faithful to the source material, while also finding ways to offer audiences a new experience. In the case of IT CHAPTER TWO, writer Gary Dauberman noted that the alterations made to the ending were an attempt to find the right balance of honoring the spirit of the novel while also conveying a more cohesive narrative.
WARNING: Major spoilers below for IT CHAPTER TWO
In the original novel, the adult Losers' Club confronts the evil entity that has been lurking under their small town and perform a ritual which allows them to enter the being's consciousness, while it also lays eggs in the sewer, depicting a conclusion that is much easier to convey in a novel than visually in a film. The film offers a final conflict that is more impressive than the 1990 miniseries adaptation, yet the adults are still left to battle a massive, spider-like version of Pennywise, ultimately taunting him until he shrinks to the size of a baby, allowing them to rip out his heart.
"It's probably the biggest departure we take from the novel," Dauberman revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. "I knew we had to include the Ritual of Chüd, I knew there had to be steps to this process. But I didn't know how what was in the book would have played on screen — going into another realm, things like that. It was certainly discussed, but it became about what is going to be the most cinematic way to tell this without the audience kind of scratching their heads."
He added, "Stephen King's ending is wonderful, but he also takes his time explaining the metaphysics behind all of it. We didn't have that time. So, we had to distill it down to the key ingredients. I wanted to be faithful to the spirit of what King was going for, and I think we managed that. That is how I found my peace with taking a departure from it."
Another key component of the novel's ending is that, with Derry, Maine having been settled on top of IT's lair, the community serves as a manifestation of IT's evil, so when the threat is destroyed, the town is also destroyed. King himself even requested director Andy Muschietti to include the town's destruction, a concept which the director avoided.
"We didn't go, at all, in that direction because I wanted to keep the ending more intimate and more about the emotions of the humans of this group," Muschietti previously admitted. "So we had to pass on that."
IT CHAPTER TWO is in theaters now.
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