The 6 Most Glaring Differences Between the It Remake and the Novel
Seeing as the It novel was first published in the '80s, there's a lot of history that comes with the story of Pennywise the Clown. There is, of course, the 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry. And now we finally have the adaptation the book deserves in the form of a 2017 remake. No matter what, adapting a 1,000-plus-page novel is always going to be a problem. Director Andy Muschietti decided to focus the movie just on the story of the Losers' Club as kids, thus leaving the second part of the story to a sequel film (which, thankfully, is pretty much confirmed). Even with all of this careful creative consideration, it was still going to be hard to do Stephen King's tome complete justice. Wondering what parts of the It novel didn't make it into the film? Here are the major omissions.
The Different Iterations of the Monster
Film: Since It takes on different forms depending on the target at hand, each member of the Losers' Club faces a different kind of monster:
- Bill sees the rotting ghost of his brother, Georgie, who disappears at the beginning of the film.
- Eddie, a hypochondriac, sees a disease-ridden leper at 29 Neibolt Street.
- Richie has a fear of clowns, so Pennywise manifests with a bunch of clowns in one of the rooms of the Neibolt house.
- Ben, who seems to be especially disturbed by Derry's Easter explosion disaster in the early 20th century, gets chased down by a youngster whose head has been blown clean off.
- Beverly, who's terrified of becoming a woman because of what it might mean for her abusive father, gets drenched in blood.
- Mike, who had to watch his parents die during a terrible house fire, sees frantically burning hands as they try to reach around a locked door.
- Stan is very creeped out by a painting of a deformed woman in his father's office. She comes to life, straight out of the painting, to capture him.
Novel: Just like the movie, It manifests in different ways for each of the Losers.
- Bill also sees the ghost of his brother.
- Richie, in the books, is scared of werewolf movies. This is one of It's most iconic forms in the novels: on more than one occasion, It becomes a werewolf in a letterman jacket.
- Instead of seeing crispy children with missing parts, Ben sees a mummy.
- Beverly sees a fountain of blood, just like in the movie.
- Mike witnesses another particularly graphic form of the monster. During a gripping sequence, It transforms into a gigantic bird and tries to eat Mike alive. He narrowly escapes.
- Instead of the menacing lady in the painting, Stan sees two drowned boys.
The Fate of Henry Bowers
Film: Poor Henry Bowers. In the final act of the film, he falls under the influence of Pennywise. He kills his father with a knife, then proceeds to track down the Losers. Just before Mike can climb down into the sewers in the basement of the Neibolt house, Henry pulls him back and nearly kills him. Mike is too quick, however, and ends up pushing Henry down the well. He presumably falls to his death. I mean, it seems like a pretty long way down.
Novel: Henry's story is much more interesting in the novel. Much like the movie, he's under the influence of It. Instead of attacking at Neibolt, though, he follows them into the sewers with his two lackeys: Vic and Belch. With a trio of new potential victims, It turns into Frankenstein's monster. It decapitates Vic and destroys Belch's face. Having watched both of his friends die, Henry Bowers goes insane and gets lost in the mazes of the sewers. He eventually washes out and gets blamed for the deaths of all the missing children. Henry gets locked away in a mental institution for 27 years . . . until It returns and helps him escape.
Mike Hanlon's Backstory
Film: With such a large adaptation, all the Losers have truncated storylines. It would be impossible to convey the depth of each of the seven kids. That said, Mike's is the story that undergoes the most change. In the film, both of his parents have died in a house fire, and he lives on a farm with his grandfather. He helps kill the livestock and delivers the meat to local butcheries. We know Mike watched his parents die in the fire; it's kind of the most haunting aspect of his character.
Novel: In the book, Mike's father is alive. Henry Bowers is especially intent on torturing Mike because he's black. In fact, Henry's father and Mike's father are at odds as well. Henry even kills Mike's dog. As we mentioned before, Mike faces a completely different form of It in the book. While at the old ironworks near town, It transforms into a monstrous bird. Mike barely escapes by hiding in a smokestack. In the book, Mike's also the one who gives an introduction into the history of It: he has an old picture book that helps uncover the mystery.
The Macroverse and the Origin of It
Film: This is something that's completely omitted from the film. We don't know where It comes from. We do know that It's been around for decades, but that's about all we get. Though we see It's lair, we don't get to go inside and see how It came to be and where It truly dwells.
Novel: It's origin is a huge discovery during the Losers' time as kids. One day, they build a makeshift American-Indian smokehole, which was supposedly an ancient way of having visions. Richie and Mike vividly hallucinate and see It's origin, which stretches back centuries, possibly millennia. It has always been here. It first awoke when mankind arrived.
Here's another wild thing that's been left out. There's only one place the Losers, specifically Bill, can actually defeat It, and that's in a place known as the Macroverse. This is somewhere in another dimension, a sort of psychic arena where Bill can face the spirit one-on-one. Luckily for us, director Any Muschietti said he will introduce this aspect in the sequel.
The Defeat of Pennywise
Film: At the house on Neibolt Street, the kids basically do a bunch of damage by impaling It with rods. It looks like they get these weapons from the rusty wrought-iron fence of the house itself. Down in the sewers, during their final encounter, it's much of the same. Mike brings the gun he uses to kill livestock, and the rest of the Losers come prepared with more rods. Beverly deals the final blow by putting one straight down It's throat.
Novel: In the book, the defeat of It is much more complex. This is where that werewolf comes into play. It becomes a werewolf for the second time when dealing with all the Losers. Part of the Losers' power is how much they believe in themselves. To prepare for this fight, they've made a silver slug. It, in this werewolf form, is especially susceptible to silver (like a werewolf would be powerless against a silver bullet). Beverly fires the slug with a slingshot and causes It to retreat.
Now, the defeat of It in the sewers is much, much weirder. As we mentioned before, this monster actually dwells on a different plane called the Macroverse. Here, Bill encounters a giant, ancient turtle named Maturin. Yep. Maturin actually created the entire known universe when he got a stomachache and vomited. This ancient turtle teaches Bill something called the Ritual of Chüd, which is a psychic battle of wit that can defeat the monster. So basically, in the book, Bill heeds the advice of the gigantic, wise turtle god, completes the Ritual of Chüd, and defeats It using the tongue twister that's meant to help his stutter: "He thrusts his fists against the post, but still insists he sees the ghost." And don't even get us started on what happens the second time around.
So, yeah. There's that.
That Contentious Orgy Scene
Film: The children exit the sewer without incident. Once they reach fresh air, they all cut their hands and form a blood pact: if It ever awakens again, they'll return to kill It once and for all.
Novel: After defeating It, the Losers all get lost in the sewer system and can't find their way out. Beverly decides that they are all too disconnected and they need to reunite as one. So, she has sex with each of them and takes their collective virginity. After their strange sewer orgy, they're united enough to make it out. It's a pretty contentious part of the book, and many feared it would somehow make it into the film. But it was left out entirely.