It Chapter Two and the Secrets of Pennywise’s History

It Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti talks Bob Gray and the secrets in Pennywise's past.

It Chapter 2 Pennywise Prequel Bill Skarsgard

It is no easy task translating Stephen King’s It to screen. Nearly 1,200 pages and dripping with lore and white powder-encrusted nightmares, the breadth of its mythology is daunting to capture in total, even with Andy Muschietti and Warner Brothers telling the story over two films. This is, after all, a narrative about how a village raises its children, and is then complicit in feeding them to a monster living beneath their feet.

Nevertheless, September’s It Chapter Two will bring an end to the cinematic battle between that monster, which often takes the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and the Losers’ Club in a story set 27 years after the events of the last movie. But while the saga may conclude here, the director is open to the film franchise expanding on the numerous vignettes and tall tales that surround Derry’s past. He says as much in our new interview about bringing It Chapter Two to the screen… especially in regards to exploring a figure known as Bob Gray.

“We’ll learn something about Pennywise in this movie that we didn’t know before,” Muschietti says. “There’s something very cryptic in the book. Everything that relates to Pennywise and Bob Gray is very cryptic, and it’s like that for a reason. Probably the success of that character as a monster, as a villain is because of that crypticness and uncertainty that people have towards him. We don’t know exactly what he is, where he comes from, or how Bob Gray is related. Was Bob Gray a real person? Is he incarnated in that thing because Bob Gray played a clown? He knew it attracted children, so that was a perfect bait?”

In King’s novel, Bob Gray is one of the many aliases It goes by. While readers and movie audiences know It best as Pennywise, It introduces itself to children and adults alike as Bob Gray, and Muschietti does tell us he is open to exploring It/Bob Gray in the future.

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Says Muschietti, “Of course the mystery of Bob Gray gives a lot of play, and I would be interested in exploring how that happened. When did It become Pennywise and how?” When pressed if he is saying there is another movie after It Chapter Two, he adds, “There might be, yeah. I mean, this is very unofficial and really there’s no serious plans to do it, but in my imagination, it’s something that is possible.”

read more: It Chapter Two Review

It is true that there is plenty left to unpack in the Derry mythos. While the 2017 film hinted at apartment buildings being set on fire and the catastrophic 1906 explosion of the Kitchener Ironworks, the book is littered with lengthy interludes that take Mike Hanlon and the reader into the past where the people of Derry were mixed up in the murder of outlaws, their own version of the Klan committing hate crimes, and a variety of ghastly events. Muschietti likewise confirms there will be a little more of these events in It Chapter Two while also teasing there could be other opportunities down the road.

“The interludes in the book are amazing, there’s so many cool episodes and the Brady Gang and the Silver Dollar, and the Black Spot,” Muschietti says. “There’s a bit of that, but I think those events in the past might be more suitable for the future.”

In our imminent future though, It Chapter Two unveils its own dark secrets on Sept. 6.

David Crow is the Film Section Editor at Den of Geek. He’s also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. Read more of his work here. You can follow him on Twitter @DCrowsNest.

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