The first half of Stephen King's monster-sized masterpiece IT has been adapted into a pretty fantastic big screen movie, and it has been raking in the big bucks at the box office ever since it premiered. Pennywise the Dancing Clown and the Losers Club have been hits with audiences everywhere, and many of us are already ready for the sequel to be released to cover the second half of King's novel. There can be no doubt that IT: Chapter 2 is on the way after the success of Chapter 1, but Chapter 2 should arguably be adapted into a different format: TV miniseries.
Admittedly, IT has already been turned into a miniseries, and the 1990 version has its fans. Still, that miniseries only ran for two installments, and the finished product wasn't all that much longer than a feature film. Miniseries nowadays generally run for six or more episodes, which could do amazing justice to both Stephen King's novel and the stage that was set in IT: Chapter 1. Read on for some big reasons why the second half of IT should really be adapted for a small screen miniseries!
Warning: minor spoilers ahead for Stephen King's IT novel and HUGE spoilers ahead for IT: Chapter 1.
There's A Lot Of Story Left To Tell
Stephen King's IT is an incredibly long and complex novel. The paperback is nearly 1,200 pages long, and the audio book clocks in at just under 45 hours. A lot of the story about the kids had to be left out of Chapter 1 simply due to the fact that it only ran for 135 minutes. Even if a Chapter 2 is told as a miniseries, a lot would have to be cut out. It's simply the way adaptations work, and even the most devout lovers of the novel probably accepted that going into the movie.
Still, a new miniseries could tell a lot of the story of the adult Losers that would have to be left out of another film. There's a reason why IT is considered one of Stephen King's masterpieces of horror fiction, and IT deserves to be done as much justice as is possible out of an adaptation. We wouldn't get 45 hours of content, but we'd get more than 135 minutes with a miniseries.
TV Can Do A Lot These Days
The 1990 ABC miniseries has a serious nostalgia factor with fans who can excuse its flaws, and there are some aspects that worked better in the miniseries than in the movie. That said, the 1990 miniseries aired on network TV with a pretty small budget. Pennywise could only go so far to terrify kids on ABC, and Richie "Trashmouth" Tozier had a much less trashy mouth. Nowadays, a lot more is possible on TV thanks to premium cable networks like HBO and Starz, with 21st century special effects and often substantial budgets. IT: Chapter 2 could go a lot farther than IT in 1990 did.
No, I'm not talking about any sewer orgies between pre-teens, but a premium cable miniseries can deliver a hell of a lot of genuine frights rather than 1990's heck of a lot of ABC suspense. Besides, some of the Losers in the book end up subconsciously picking their spouses for... interesting reasons that are relevant to the story, and what better place for such things than the home of Game of Thrones?
More Character Development
While IT: Chapter 1 did a great job of building the bonds of the Losers Club in only 135 minutes as well as setting up the big climax in the tunnels, there were some characters whose development fell by the wayside. Poor Mike didn't get as much screentime as most of the other Losers, and a miniseries sequel could at least give adult Mike more in the way of character development. Bill, Bev, and arguably Eddie with his gazebos got the most backstory in Chapter 1; Chapter 2 on the small screen could spread the development around.
The movie also fell down on developing Henry Bowers and his gang. Henry's change from bully to crazed murderer was rushed, and his minions other than Patrick Hockstetter weren't even overtly named. If Henry plays a role in the sequel as he did in the adult sections of the book, a miniseries could go a long way to explain why he was the way that he was and how he became what he became. That said, the rock war was undeniably great, so at least the movie got that Henry scene right.
There Would Be Room For Flashbacks
The kids who played the Losers in IT: Chapter 1 were phenomenal from start to finish, and one of the downsides of Chapter 1 as a movie is that it ended the Losers' story as kids so early. How many of us aren't secretly hoping for a DVD or Blu-ray set to be released with another three hours of the Losers just hanging out? In a miniseries sequel, there would be enough time for the kids to reprise their roles and fill in some blanks as the Losers club. Admittedly, they'll be older by the time the sequel films, but seeing the kids post-Pennywise showdown would be interesting as well.
Chapter 1 director Andres Muschietti has already said that there "will be a dialogue between the two timelines," so there's every chance we'd get some epic flashbacks to the Losers as kids in a film sequel. Still, a miniseries could give us a lot more of the kids overall, especially a certain someone who probably won't have much to do in the follow-up.
Series Could Fill In Big Book Moments
Even diehard book fans can admit that some huge novel scenes simply wouldn't be very interesting on screen, but there are some that would really enhance the overall narrative if they included in an adaptation. While we already missed out on scenes like the building of the dam in the Barrens, it's not too late for other scenes to be incorporated. We could see the Losers turn their clubhouse into a smokehouse for a ritual to try and figure out how to kill IT, which would set the stage for the Chapter 2 climax to go very differently than in Chapter 1.
In the half of the book with the Losers as adults, they go on some harrowing individual journeys as well as together as a group. A miniseries could cover all aspects of their book stories and really raise the stakes for the big ending. At the very least, it could give some background on Richie's experiences with IT. He alone of the Losers in Chapter 1 didn't have a solo hellish experience with the creature as a kid, which is not the case in the book. And what about that turtle?
Smaller Name Actors Could Play Characters
The child actors who played the Losers in IT: Chapter 1 have already pitched their ideas for the big name movie stars who could play their characters in the sequel, and there are undoubtedly plenty of fans who would indeed love to see Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, and Bill Hader in the second portion of the adaptation. Big name stars could be great in the movie, especially if they've already proved their acting chops elsewhere.
That said, IT is a story that might be best served by actors who are much lesser known. The kids didn't have too much experience in showbiz before IT, aside from Finn Wolfhard thanks to his role in Stranger Things on Netflix, and they were great. It might be easier to fall into the story without super famous movie stars in the lead roles, and the fact is that a miniseries might not be able to attract a full ensemble of movie stars for television. Chapter 2 taking place on the small screen could result in some unexpected casting choices that work better than big names possibly could.
IT Has An Audience Now
Let's face it: the premise of IT sounds really, really weird. This is the story of an evil clown that can transform itself into other monsters to scare children because it likes to eat kid flesh that tastes like fear. IT lives in the sewer where it uses its ambiguous powers to literally make ITs victims float. Also, adults can't see IT and IT only goes on a killing spree every 27 years. If Chapter 1 had been advertised as a six- or eight- or ten-part miniseries with this premise, people might not have wanted to commit. For a two-hour movie with an amazing ad campaign? Sure! Now, there's an audience invested in the Losers Club and Pennywise, and a miniseries could be hugely successful and pull in a ton of viewers.
What do you think? Would the second half of the IT story work better as a miniseries, or should it stay on the big screen? Let us know in the comments! IT is still showing in theaters everywhere in case you haven't caught it yet or are in the mood for a rewatch. Don't forget to take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule for your small screen viewing options.