IT, by all accounts, looks on track to be one of the biggest hits of the year as it aims to smash box office records for September/horror movies/R-rated movies/etc., and now unsurprisingly New Line Cinema is putting the heat on IT: CHAPTER TWO. Indeed a sequel was always planned, going back to when Cary Fukunaga was set to write and direct the Stephen King adaptation. Fukunaga split King’s book into two parts—one focusing on the characters as children, and one taking place 27 years later with new actors cast as the adult versions—so even when Andy Muschietti took over as director, this split was still a major part of the plan.
And now, per THR, New Line has just closed a deal for co-writer Gary Dauberman (ANNABELLE, ANNABELLE: CREATION) to return and write the sequel. The script for IT is credited to Dauberman and Fukunaga & Chase Palmer, as Dauberman signed on to retool the screenplay when Muschietti came aboard as the new director. But the entire creative team isn’t yet set, at least formally, even though Muschietti has publicly expressed his desire to return and complete the adaptation by directing IT: CHAPTER TWO.
A deal for Muschietti to return to direct isn’t finalized, although it’s probably an inevitability at this point. IT scored rave reviews and interest is crazy high, so New Line no doubt would want to maintain that successful creative vision for the sequel. Muschietti had been in the running to take over as director on Warner Bros.’ JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, but once the studios saw how IT was shaping up, he turned his focus to IT: CHAPTER TWO in favor of jumping ship for a superhero movie that WB wants to get off the ground sooner rather than later.
THR says a 2019 release date is likely for IT: CHAPTER TWO, but new deals may have to be secured for the young actors of the first film to return. While Dauberman’s script isn’t complete, sources tell THR that the sequel may include flashbacks to the characters as children, which may constitute new scenes being filmed with these young actors. One thing’s for sure: with IT scoring such acclaim, it’s not gonna be tough for the studio to find talented adult performers to sign on for the sequel.