While nothing was ever announced, it's always been presumed that the Andy Muschietti-directed adaptation of Stephen King's IT would be a two-part affair. With what will probably be known as IT: Chapter One setting up the also presumably titled sequel IT: Chapter Two, it's a dead giveaway that there's more adventures in Derry ahead. But could Warner Bros. and New Line decide to extend the story into a full trilogy? It wouldn't be that weird of an idea, as they've already done it before.
At this point, the audience's minds are probably filled with memories of Peter Jackson's announcement that The Hobbit's two-part adaptation was going to be turned into a full three-film trilogy. While audiences may not have been thrilled with that decision, Warner Bros. and New Line were probably ecstatic, as that trilogy made almost $3 billion, which more than justified the cost on the studio's end. IT, meanwhile, was constructed on a much smaller budget of $35 million, with an opening weekend of $123 million. Replicating that success at least once would be heavenly. But twice? That's a shot in the arm to New Line's recovering reputation.
However, unlike The Hobbit, there's actually a lot more material from Stephen King's IT that could be covered in a second and third film. Consider this: the story structure for IT: Chapter One focuses solely on the childhood portion of King's 1,138 page opus. While the novel is structured in pieces, fluctuating between the action of the Losers' Club as kids AND adults, there's still a lot of story that happens in their adult incarnations that could probably cover a film of its own. Or maybe Derry gets a prequel, as there are tons of stories (or interludes from the book) that could be a good backstory of information for a film.
Another fact we've been privy to when it comes to It 2 is the fact that Mike Hanlon, expert librarian and armchair historian to Derry, Maine, is going to be slightly altered for his adult form. In particular, Mike is going to be written as a junkie, with his addiction helping him open his mind to the truth of what happened in their childhood. Seeing as Mike's character was both a little underutilized in IT, as well as the fact that in the book Mike gets separate interludes in which his research into the history of Derry gets played out, the possibility for a second film that shows Mike's research and his flashbacks to the childhood of the Losers' Club just might work.
This is admittedly a huge piece of speculation, however the lack of an official announcement of a cast, or even a release date, for IT: Chapter Two kind of plays into our suspicions that a third IT film could be on the block. The popularity of IT: Chapter One is undeniable, and the hunger for more of the story is clearly in the eyes of the audience. So why wouldn't Warner Bros. and New Line want to extend their film adaptation, and possibly have two films shot back to back, completing the story of IT's doorstopper source material?
There is the fact that Andy Muschietti is currently lined up to direct the live-action Robotech film, as well as a TV adaptation of Locke and Key, have the director locked up to a certain extent. So if Muschietti can't be lined up for a potential third chapter in the IT story, there's a good, if not certain, chance that the thought of such a film existing will die instantly. So it goes without saying, Andy Muschietti is the most important key to any further development on a potential continuation past IT 2; because you can bet that no one else will want this property to fall in the hands of a new helmer.
The would-be franchise known as IT has a strong vision in mind for telling its story, as you can see with the approach towards IT: Chapter One. Whether or not that vision is strong enough to support two more films is up in the air at this point, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if this discussion was being held behind closed doors on the Warner Bros. / New Line lot. Of course, there's one more important component that could make or break the chances for an IT: Chapter Three -- the feelings of the fans. Should the fans not want this film to happen, that's just as bad as Andy Muschietti not wanting to return for a third chapter.
IT: Chapter One is in theaters now, with IT: Chapter Two awaiting an official announcement / release date. IT: Chapter Three is a mystery, like a red balloon floating through the reading room of your local library. What isn't a mystery though is the rest of the 2017, as well as the current 2018 schedule of upcoming theatrical releases. To find those schedules, you can click here for 2017 and here for 2018.