In a rare case of Believe-the-Hype, Andy Muschietti’s IT is breaking records and blowing minds, having just hit theaters nationwide this weekend. Muschietti’s receiving heaps of accolades, as is Bill Skarsgård (whose portrayal of the Dancing Clown Pennywise is instantly iconic) and the rest of the young actors who comprised the Losers Club. IT is a basically faithful adaptation of the novel by Stephen King; the differences have to do with omissions of extremely controversial scenes and modernizations (as action from the 1950s was reimagined in the 1980s).
Warning: Below There Be Spoilers!
That said, it doesn’t mean the ending is cut-and dry, nor that everything that transpires in IT is crystal clear; those unfamiliar with the novel and the 1990’s miniseries directed by Tommy Lee Wallace might be especially perplexed by some of the story’s complexities. The novel, after all, is over 1000 pages long, so any adaptation is tasked with conveying a lot of information in a relatively short amount of time.
For those experiencing IT for the first time, this article is for you. We’ll be explaining the most complex and potentially discombobulating aspects of the film, explaining many of the material’s larger concepts, and how this film sets up IT Part 2. First and foremost:
What is Pennywise? Is Pennywise an Alien?
Pennywise is more than just a shape-shifting demon with a fetish for face paint. He’s actually an interdimensional entity who landed on earth over a billion years ago. The town of Derry sprouted up around IT’s lair and became an extension of its powers. The Dancing Clown is his preferred manifestation, but IT can look like anything it wants; using ESP, IT knows its victim’s deepest fears and appears to them in that form. It can also manipulate minds, possibly even possessing people. IT’s actual form is a jumble of orange orbs called the Deadlights that’s incomprehensible to the human mind; anyone who gazes upon the Deadlights goes instantly insane.
Pennywise emerges from slumber every 27 years to feed; he prefers children because they are easy to scare and being scared makes their meat taste better. Though extremely powerful, IT is not immortal; he seems to be susceptible to the power of belief. Those who can master their fear can weaken IT by having faith in their weapons and abilities; strength in numbers is also essential. In the novel, however, Pennywise is engaged in an epic battle with his arch-nemesis, a galaxy-sized turtle, and can only truly be defeated by invoking the Ritual of Chüd.
Check out the videos below for a more detailed examination of Pennywise and the Ritual of Chüd.
Just understanding who Pennywise really is goes a long way towards explaining the actions of IT, but those unfamiliar with the novel and 1990’s miniseries were probably thrown for a loop by the film’s ending. If the film has a twist, it’s the fact that the true title of the film is revealed at the end: IT Chapter 1: The Losers Club. This reveal explains this movie is only half finished, and that the Losers will be forced to reassemble again in 27 years to battle Pennywise again—hopefully for the last time.
Why Do the Children float? What Does It Mean “They all float down here. You’ll float, too?”
Pennywise’s lair doesn’t abide by the laws of physics; in the novel, water drips up and all the dead kids just float around the chamber. Dead bodies do float when in water. It has also been argued that the dead kid’s souls are stuck in an alternate plane. Not in heaven or in hell but some place in between, floating in limbo where Pennywise can take over whenever he wants. He did use Georgie’s body to try and trick his brother
The Ending of IT Explained!
Film critic and productive YouTuber FoundFlix is world renowned for his Endings Explained videos, and his most recent offering is tailor-made for the uninitiated. Give his redux a whirl for a detailed understanding of what really happened at the end of IT, and how this film sets up an eventual sequel. If you can’t stream, the most important points are listed and summarized below the video.
Official Synopsis: Exploring the new adaption of Stephen King’s IT starring Bill Skarsgard and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) from director Andres Muschietti (Mama). Looking at the creature itself, the ending, and what to expect in the sequel.
Just to be clear: IT is not a sequel to the 1990s miniseries (directed by Tommy Lee Wallace); you’d be amazed how many people are actually confused by this point.
Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) may appear to have died in the film’s climax, but he has a bigger role to play in the novel. He is eventually washed out of the sewers where he confesses to killing all of the missing children. Expect him to return in IT Part 2.
The true title of the film is revealed to be IT Chapter 1: The Losers Club; rumors are that the sequel will be titled IT Chapter 2: Pennywise.
IT/Pennywise was not killed at the end of the film; he was weakened and forced to return to his cyclical slumber. He will return again in 27 years; in the timeline of the film, this will be 2016.
Beverly (Sophia Lillis) saw the Deadlights and, while she was severely debilitated, she wasn’t driven insane; this is because she wasn’t afraid of Pennywise after already facing her greatest fear: Her father.
When Stan (Wyatt Oleff) was attacked by IT in the sewers, he caught a glimpse of the Deadlights; this damaged him more severely than anyone realizes in this moment.
When Beverly was in a trance, she saw the future; this is a hint of the Losers Club’s reunion in Part 2.
Turtles: While Pennywise’s origins were not explored in the film, allusions to the turtle hint that we may learn more about his cosmic history in the sequel.
About FoundFlix on YouTube: FoundFlix specializes in cult and horror content, bringing you some of my favorite forgotten gems and celebrating cult’s best moments.
What We Know About IT Chapter 2: Pennywise
We recently reported that IT scribe Gary Dauberman has been retained and New Line hopes to reassemble to entire dream team that brought this near-masterpiece to fruition. The goal is to finish a script by January 2018 in order to commence filming in March. Though the film will focus on the Losers Club as adults, the child-actors will return in some capacity (most likely flashbacks) so expect to see more from these talented thespians.
Bill Skarsgård will also be returning as Pennywise, despite revealing the part traumatized him, causing weeks of nightmares after the film wrapped production.
Skarsgård: “The closest thing I can liken it to is being in a very destructive relationship, because you never really realize you’re in one until you’re out. And then as soon as you’re out of it, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I can see it all so clearly now.’ Doing characters is almost like being in a relationship with a made-up person, and you don’t really see the journey clearly until it’s over. I did have so much fun with the character [though], and I’m really looking forward to getting back under that clown makeup for the sequel.”
If you still haven’t seen IT, check out the trailer and synopsis below.
Official Synopsis: When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, neighborhood kids band together to square off against Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), an evil clown whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
In addition to Skarsgård and Jacobs, IT stars Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Nicholas Hamilton.
What did you think of Andy Muschietti’s IT? Are you excited for the sequel? Sound off in the Comments section!
Related Article: (SPOILERS) 8 Easter Eggs You Probably Missed in “It”