Well, the big weekend is coming to a close. It: Chapter Two is here, and the film has collected an estimated $91 million in that timeframe.
But as the dust settles, I’m sure there are some people who can’t help but wonder: What changed from the Stephen King book to the film that just came out this weekend? Well, we’re not going to catalog every little change, but we’ll cover some of the bigger changes.
Oh, and this should go without saying, but:
SPOILERS FOR IT: CHAPTER TWO AND THE NOVEL IT FOLLOW
In the flashbacks in
It: Chapter Two, we find out that Richie might have had feelings for some of the other boys he knew in Derry, to the point that Pennywise taunts Richie about his “secret.” Additionally, he may have feelings for Eddie Kaspbrak, one of the other Losers.
In the book, Richie’s sexuality is barely addressed. All that’s really in the book is that Richie was one married to a woman, and divorced her.
One of the stranger subplots in
It: Chapter Two comes in the form of Henry Bowers, the insane neighborhood bully of the Losers’ Club that escapes an asylum with Pennywise’s help to kill the Losers. In the film, he stabs Eddie in the face, only for Eddie to stab him back. Henry escapes, and goes after Mike, and while he corners Mike, Henry gets a small tomahawk to the back of his skull, courtesy of Richie.
In the book, Henry Bowers causes a lot more damage. In the book, he attacks Mike first, and attacks him so brutally that Mike ends up in the hospital (more on that later). Afterwards, Henry attacks Eddie, breaking Eddie’s arm (just like it was broken in his childhood). However, Eddie gets a hold of a broken bottle and kills Henry.
So, we just mentioned that Mike took a heavy beating from Henry in the book, and that causes some major changes. In the book, Mike stays in the hospital for so long that he doesn’t confront It in the sewers of Derry.
Obviously, the film is wildly different. Not only does Mike come to It’s lair, he ends up being the one who realizes that Pennywise must abide by physical rules, making him vulnerable.
The suicide of Stan
This is definitely one of the bigger deviations between the book and the film. In both the book and the movie, Stanley Uris commits suicide early on after being contacted by Mike to return to Derry.
Where the movie deviates is that the ending reveals that Stan wrote letters to the members of the Losers’ Club that he killed himself to help the Losers do what they had to do. Whereas in the book, Stan kills himself purely out of fear.
About the “Totems”
In the movie, Mike instructs the other Losers to find personal totems of their past. This is so they can be used in the Ritual of Chüd to deal Pennywise away.
In the book, all Mike asks the Losers to do is just walk around Derry to help them remember there childhood summer memories, with no instructions about “totems” whatsoever.
The origins of “It”
Overall, the origins of Pennywise are technically exactly the same between the book and the movie. He fell to Earth millions of years ago and is some kind of entity.
Where the book and movie diverge is how the Losers’ Club figures this out. In the movie, Mike figures it out by meeting with a Native tribe on the outskirts of Derry while he’s an adult, feeding him a vision from a ritual. In the book… Okay, this shit is weird, but bear with me. In the book, the Losers use their clubhouse to try and make a smoke hut to conjure a vision when they were kids. Everyone leaves except for Mike and Richie, and they see the past.
Richie and Eddie’s jobs
Both of these characters have different jobs in the books, but only one of them is a significant change. In the book, Richie becomes a successful radio DJ in Los Angeles, great at voice work and quick jokes. In the movie, he’s a stand-up comic to help modernize the character.
Eddie’s job is very different in the book. He runs a limo service in New York and is fantastic at it due to his sense of direction and instincts for navigating. This is emphasized in the book because Eddie is a natural at navigating the sewers of Derry while hunting for Pennywise. In the film, Eddie works in risk assessment, and there’s no mention of his ability to navigate.
Bill’s wife and Beverly’s husband
So, the movie and the book are on the same page about Bill’s wife, Audra, and Beverly’s husband, Tom, for a little while. Audra is an actress in both the book and movie, and Tom is an abusive bastard in both as well.
In the movie, both of these characters show up at the beginning but never appear again. In the book, Audra and Tom both go to Derry try and find their spouses (with very different intentions). Pennywise manipulates this situation by convincing Tom to kidnap Audra and bring her to Pennywise. Audra survives but is rendered catatonic after looking into the Deadlights. Tom isn’t so lucky and drops dead from the shock.
The memories of the Losers
In the movie, Mike and Bill realize during a phone call that their memories aren’t fading after they destroy Pennywise, with Mike concluding it’s because now they have memories there they want to keep.
The book is much bleaker about their memories. All of the Losers not only forget what happened, but they also forget about each other. The fading is so strong that Mike finds his own notebook, describing the encounter with Pennywise, has disappeared. Instead of a happier ending, the book suggests that the cost of saving Derry is to lose these memories completely.
The destruction of Derry
Speaking of changes made to the ending, the town of Derry got off easy in the movie. By the end of the film, the abandoned house that Pennywise operated out of collapses into the ground.
In the book, Derry gets practically destroyed by a massive storm that just happens to be taking place right after Pennywise’s destruction. A standpipe ends up rolling through Derry, destroying buildings and homes, while the storm floods the streets. This all culminates in a giant sinkhole in the middle of town (which is how the Losers escape Pennywise’s lair in the book).
Last, but not least, I think most fans of the book figured this wouldn’t show up in the movie, but hey, a boy can dream…
In the book, the Losers are assisted in their fight against Pennywise by a force called “Turtle,” an entity that has been Pennywise’s arch enemy for millions of years. It’s even implied that Turtle might have birthed the universe by vomiting out of its belly.
The movie doesn’t even mention Turtle (though, when Ben returns to his school to remember the past, there is a taxidermy turtle on a teacher’s desk, that’s one of the only remaining references to Turtle in the movie).
(And just so we’re clear, that’s a GIF of Gamera, which is one of the only things I can think of when I think of the words “space turtle.)
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