"IT" is one of Stephen King’s most beloved novels. The horror story has terrified readers since it debuted in 1986. "IT" features some of the most disturbing moments that King has ever created, and that’s no small statement. While the story itself is horrifying, "IT" explores the lasting impact of childhood trauma. The coming-of-age elements make "IT" one of King’s most heartfelt stories. Children and adults can feel inspired by seeing the Losers’ Club overcome their fears.
Given the book’s popularity, a film adaptation was nearly guaranteed. "IT" was first adapted as a two-part miniseries in 1990, starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown. The first episode showed the youthful adventures of the Losers’ Club, and the second episode flashed forward to their time as adults. While there is a lot of nostalgia for the 1990 "IT," the miniseries doesn’t quite capture all the nuances that made the novel so beloved.
Director Andy Muschietti brought the story to life with two terrifying films. The two films employed a similar structure to the miniseries. "IT Chapter One" stars a group of young actors and takes place in the 1980s. "IT Chapter Two" flashes forward to the modern day and stars an older cast. Bill Skarsgård’s terrifying performance as Pennywise is enough to give anyone nightmares.
While both "IT" films contain many of the novel’s details, some key sequences had to be left on the cutting room floor. Here are some deleted scenes from "IT" that change everything.
Stanley’s bar mitzvah speech, IT Chapter One (2017)
Stanley Uris has one of the most tragic character arcs in "IT." Unable to cope with the fear of returning to his hometown of Derry, Stan dies by suicide when his adult friends reunite. While Andy Bean delivers a touching performance during his brief appearance in "IT Chapter Two," Wyatt Oleff was saddled with the responsibility of fleshing the character out in depth. He certainly succeeds. Stan struggles with his faith as he prepares for his bar mitzvah. Pennywise preys upon him through religious imagery.
Stan’s father (Ari Cohen) is the rabbi in Derry’s Jewish community. This puts even more pressure on Stan to make his family proud. While "IT Chapter One" has a haunting scene in which Pennywise emerges from a painting, a critical sequence where Stan delivers his bar mitzvah speech was removed from the final cut. Stan gains confidence. He criticizes the people of Derry for being ignorant and apathetic. It’s an empowering moment that shows Oleff coming into his own as an actor.
While this was sadly removed from the final version of the film, the sequence was reshot and included in "It Chapter Two." When an older Richie Tozer (Bill Hader) drives through Derry, he reflects upon attending Stan’s bar mitzvah. A younger Richie (Finn Wolfhard) stands and applauds for Stan after his impromptu speech. It shows how the Losers’ Club is willing to stand up for each other.
Henry watches the Losers, IT Chapter One (2017)
Some of the most terrifying characters in "IT" don’t have any supernatural qualities. There is a lurking evil within the town of Derry itself, as the citizens display casual cruelty toward one another. It is particularly difficult for the Losers’ Club at school. Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is brutalized by the school’s most fearsome bully, Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton). The films do not shy away from the brutal way that the bullies act.
Throughout "IT Chapter One," Henry falls under Pennywise’s influence. He brutally murders his abusive father, Butch (Stuart Hughes), with a knife. Ultimately, the Losers’ Club is only barely able to escape from Henry after Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) pushes him down a well. However, a deleted moment from the film shows just how evil Henry has become.
When he torments Ben, Stan, Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Martell) earlier in the film, Henry is accompanied by his cohorts Belch Huggins (Jake Sim) and Victor Criss (Logan Thompson). A moment removed from the final edit indicates that Henry murdered his former friends by slitting their throats. Henry is still shaking as he grips the steering wheel of his dad’s car. He watches the Losers’ Club as they prepare to face off against Pennywise for the first time.
Henry’s storyline is developed in "IT Chapter Two." An older Henry (Teach Grant) terrorizes Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) after he escapes from a mental institution.
Bill with his parents after Pennywise is defeated, IT Chapter One (2017)
The iconic opening jump scare in "IT Chapter One" does more than start the film on a terrifying note. When Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) is dragged into the sewer and killed by Pennywise, Bill feels responsible for his younger brother’s death. He finds that he is unable to cope with his feelings of loss and guilt, and does not receive the guidance that he needs from his parents (Geoffrey Pounsett and Pip Dwyer). Their family gatherings are awkward and uncomfortable. Bill lives in constant reminder of the tragedy.
However, a deleted scene from "IT Chapter One" indicates that after the Losers’ Club defeats Pennywise for the first time, the Denbrough family can move on. Bill and his parents can be seen packing up their car as they prepare to take a vacation far away from Derry. This indicates that the family is determined to do more than grieve. They are now going to live their best lives. However, as they drive down the street, the camera pans to the same sewer where Georgie was killed. This indicates that whatever happiness they may have found, it is only temporary. Pennywise is still out there.
This would have been a really cool way of teasing the second film. Although it was important to see that Bill had moved on, the scenes in "IT Chapter Two" with an older Bill (James McAvoy) fulfill the same function.
Stanley’s dad watches him prepare, IT Chapter One (2017)
Poor Wyatt Oleff. There are two great scenes featuring a young Stan that were removed from the final version of "IT Chapter One." Before his bar mitzvah, Stan is forced to spend many evenings alone, studying for the sacred rite of passage. This isolates him from his friends and helps explain why he feels so distant from them. The other members of the Losers’ Club do not struggle with their faith in the same way that Stan does. Stan knows that any misbehavior on his part will embarrass both his family and his community.
The deleted scene shows Stan’s father watching him prepare for his bar mitzvah. He cautiously watches his son to make sure that he is prepared and will not make any mistakes. This reinforces the societal pressure that Stan is saddled with. However, it makes sense that it was removed from the final version of the film. This scene is only effective if the viewer is rewarded with the later moment when Stan stands up for himself and criticizes the people of Derry for being so ambivalent.
Any scene with a younger Stan in "IT Chapter One" is valuable, as he is only briefly in "IT Chapter Two." However, the end of "IT Chapter Two" features a rewarding moment in which Bill uncovers a collection of letters that Stan has written to each member of the Losers’ Club.
Pennywise’s backstory, IT Chapter One (2017)
Thanks to the behind-the-scenes material that was included on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of "IT Chapter One" and "IT Chapter Two," Stephen King fans were able to view most of the key moments that were cut for pacing or thematic purposes. However, there was one scene in "IT Chapter One" that was so disturbing that it hasn’t been made available online yet.
In an interview on Variety’s Playback podcast," Bill Skarsgård reveals that there was one Pennywise moment that the filmmakers thought was too gruesome for audiences to handle. He said that there was originally a flashback sequence set in the 1600s that showed a younger version of Pennywise before he had become a clown. Skarsgård said that "it’s very disturbing, and sort of a backstory for what IT is or where Pennywise came from." He reveals that "the idea is the IT entity was dormant for thousands and thousands of years; The scene hints at that."
Director Andy Muschietti reinforced this claim and said that he felt that the scene might have been too confusing. In an interview with Consequence of Sound, he said, "[T]he problem is that people sometimes want to know a little more, but if you give them too much, then they’re disappointed." While the backstory of Bob Gray may have been a little "out there" for casual viewers, it seems like something that King fans might enjoy seeing. Hopefully, it will surface online later on.
Extended encounter between Beverly and Pennywise, IT Chapter Two (2019)
Of all the young actors in "IT Chapter One," Sophia Lillis is the standout. It’s impressive that the filmmakers found so many talented young stars, but Lillis in particular is tasked with bringing a very disturbing storyline to life. Beverly Marsh is sexually abused by her father, Alvin (Joe Bostick), who shames her for going through puberty. Beverly is unable to connect with any of the girls at her school and is constantly bullied. She is taken aback when Bill and Ben show her kindness. That’s something that she has never experienced before.
One of the most disturbing scenes in "IT Chapter One" is a moment when Beverly is drenched with blood in her bathroom. The sexual connotations of the scene are clear, and Lillis’ performance makes it even more heartbreaking. "IT Chapter Two" continues Beverly’s journey and explores how she is still tormented by the trauma of her past. An older Beverly (Jessica Chastain) is trapped in an abusive relationship with her husband, Tom Rogan (Will Beinbrink).
There is a scene in "IT Chapter Two" in which Beverly visits the home of the elderly Mrs. Kersh (Joan Gregson) and encounters Pennywise. This scene was originally a little bit longer and showed Beverly seeing a vision of her father. This reinforces the idea that Beverly is still in the same cycle of abuse and neglect that she has been trapped in since she was young.
If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.
The Turtle, IT Chapter Two (2019)
Stephen King fans have had an embarrassment of riches over the past few years. In the last decade, adaptations of "Doctor Sleep," "Gerald’s Game," "1922," "11.22.63," "In the Tall Grass," "The Outsider," and "Lisey’s Story" have lived up to their source material. As many King fans know, many of his novels, novellas, and short stories take place within the same fictional universe. The multiverse that extends from "The Dark Tower" series connects many seemingly standalone stories.
One of the key figures in King’s multiverse is a turtle named Maturin. In the original "IT" novel, Bill travels into a "macroverse" where he encounters Maturin. Maturin and the IT entity are both powerful shape-shifting beings. While Maturin created the universe through his benevolence, IT attempts to create chaos and disorder. Maturin teaches Bill how to perform a secret ritual that will allow him to defeat IT.
Andy Muschietti revealed in an interview with Total Film that a flashback sequence in "IT Chapter Two" featuring the turtle was shot but removed from the final edit. He said that the scene expanded a moment from the first film in which the members of the "Losers’ Club" are all swimming together. He said that there "was a moment when we revisited that scene, with them swimming underwater, and then comes the turtle." Given that both the Marvel and DC franchises have introduced multiverse storylines, isn’t it about time we get the King macroverse?
Mike’s backstory, IT Chapter Two (2019)
Mike has a very important role in "IT Chapter Two." Unlike his friends, Mike chooses to stay in Derry and meticulously research the town’s mystical origins. He explores the evil that has been lurking beneath the surface. After the Losers’ Club all meet up again at the Chinese restaurant, Bill follows Mike to learn more about his research. Mike gives Bill drugs that blur his vision and explains how the Native American "Ritual of Chüd" will allow them to purge the evil entity from Derry. This is what the Losers’ Club ultimately uses to defeat Pennywise at the end of the film.
While it’s important to see that Mike is working hard to save his friends, it would have been more powerful if the audience got to learn more about his past. According to cinematographer Checco Varese, a "very, very tender and very sweet" sequence involving Mike’s backstory was removed from "It Chapter Two." In an interview with Collider, Varese said that the scene involves "Mike going back to his house when it’s burning or about to burn." He adds that "Mike is a very lovable character throughout, so I think the audience will have a wonderful time seeing what he remembers of that moment."
At 169 minutes, "IT Chapter Two" is already a very long movie, and some great moments may have been cut for time. However, it sounds like this flashback would have added something to Mike as a character.
Parody scene, IT Chapter One (2017)
Poor Georgie! While it’s a lot of fun to play in the rain, Georgie really should have known better than to talk to strangers (especially strangers that live in a sewer and dress up as clowns). Georgie was just looking for his boat and did not expect that he’d be having an extended conversation with Pennywise. Georgie’s terrifying death at the beginning of "IT Chapter One" signifies that Andy Muschietti is not afraid to go to the demented places that King’s novel goes.
However, the production team behind the "IT" films did have some fun behind the scenes and shot a parodical sequence that they could include in the home video release. In a different spin on the now iconic opening sequence, Georgie reaches into the sewer and retrieves his lost boat. He thanks Pennywise for helping him find it, and scurries down the street to keep playing. Pennywise awkwardly waits in the sewer and mutters some profanities.
This is a hilarious moment, and it was probably rewarding for Jackson Robert Scott, the actor who played Georgie. Georgie’s death seems like it would be pretty intense for any actor to film, and it’s impressive that someone as young as Scott was able to pull it off. Of course, his survival as depicted in the "alternate" scene theoretically would have changed everything! If Georgie had successfully retrieved his toy, then Bill would never have to mourn his loss. And we wouldn’t get two great movies!