Warner Brothers has not officially announced “It: Chapter Two,” but the sequel is the biggest no brainer in Hollywood after “It” opened to a record-breaking $123 million this weekend. Not only does the horror blockbuster now have one of the highest grossing R-rated debuts in history, but it also grossed more in its opening weekend than any other horror movie has in history. “It” ends with the title card revealing “Chapter One,” which confirms a sequel is being developed, and director Andy Muschietti is planning to return.
The director has been making the victory rounds today, stopping at Variety and Entertainment Weekly to talk about the movie’s instant success, and he hasn’t been able to contain his excitement over the sequel, “It: Chapter Two.” Stephen King’s novel tells the story concurrently between the present and the past, but the movie was always designed as a two-parter in which the first installment would be devoted entirely to the characters as children. Muschietti is looking forward to using the novel’s interplay between the past and present in the sequel.
“The thing I want to bring in the next film that I couldn’t do here is the dialogue between the two timelines,” the director told Variety. “That was so important in the book and we didn’t get to explore that here, but I wanted to keep the story of the kids as pure and without interference as I could. The dialogue between those two timelines with all those flashbacks is so important to the book that I want to bring that back.”
This is good news for the thousands of moviegoers who have already fallen for the child actors who made up the Losers Club in “Chapter One.” Anyone fearing an “It” sequel would not include the likes of Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, and Finn Wolfhard can rest assured now.
“We are going back to the summer of 1989 and if people love these characters and actors the way I do, it’s going to be a blast to go back to 1989 in the second one,” Muschietti said. “I don’t want to go back just for that, I want to make those flashbacks essential in the plot where in order for the Losers to figure out the clues to defeat Pennywise, they have to retrieve their memories from the past.”
But the sequel means casting the adult versions of the characters. The director and Warner Brothers now have the choice of going with unknown adult actors or bigger names (and casting high profile names should be easier now that “It” is the biggest new franchise in Hollywood), and one person Muschietti seems to already be considering is Jessica Chastain. He worked with the actress on the horror film “Mama,” and apparently Chastain is already a fan of “It.”
“Jessica is an amazing actress and a very good friend and I would love her to play Beverly,” the director told Variety. “She loves the movie and it feels like the planets are aligned in that sense, but we still have to make that happen. There are a lot of ideas for the rest of the cast that I’m playing with, but it’s a bit too premature to say those names right now.”
Another thing Muschietti has planned for the sequel is a darker storyline for Mike Hanlon, played as a child by Chosen Jacobs. In Stephen King’s novel, Hanlon is the only one of the seven kids who stays in Derry, Maine. This decision will have grave effects on the character in the sequel.
“My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book,” the filmmaker said to EW. “I want to make his character the one pivotal character who brings them all together, but staying in Derry took a toll with him. I want him to be a junkie actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he’s a wreck.”
The official greenlight on “It: Chapter Two” should be arriving any moment now, and Muschietti clearly can’t wait to get back to work. “It” is now playing in theaters nationwide.