Don’t Expect Much of Stephen King’s Cosmic Mythology in The New ‘IT’ Movie

     July 27, 2017

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(Note: Be aware this post has spoilers for the book IT, which came out more than 30 years ago, but spoiler warning I guess?)

“The Turtle can’t save us.”

Stephen King is having a big year. I mean, he’s been having a big year for the last few decades, but 2017 in particular is rife with on-screen remakes of the horror author’s work. There are the TV adaptations of The Mist and Mr. Mercedes, and the upcoming film The Dark Tower, but easily the most hyped of all is Andy Muschietti‘s film adaptation of King’s beloved novel IT.

Aside from the book lovers, who are plenty, there’s also the legion of fans traumatized by the 1990 miniseries, which featured Tim Curry’s iconic performance as Pennywise. What it didn’t feature was the flourish of sweeping cosmic mythology wrapped up in King’s novel, which introduces the Losers to It’s natural enemy, The Turtle, a massive, ancient creature who dwells beyond the reaches of consciousness and created our universe, and probably others, during one of his fits of indigestion. (According to It, this is also how he dies, drowning on universes when he passes out and vomits in his shell.) The Turtle isn’t quite god — there’s another, the Great Other, who created him, but he’s a guiding force to the Losers, mentioned and referenced throughout King’s novel. (And the same great Turtle that appears in “The Dark Tower” books.)

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Image via New Line Cinema

This should come as no great surprise to anyone who’s seriously considered the fact that New Line set out to adapt King’s epic good vs. evil tome into a single film (with the hope of a sequel), but The Turtle and King’s grander cosmic mythology won’t have a huge role to play in Muschietti’s film either.

Last year, I got to visit the set of IT in Toronto, Canada, where I joined a group of journalists in touring the sets, chatting with the cast, and prying the creative team for details in the way you would expect from any good gaggle of nerds. While there, we spoke with director Andy Muschietti, who spoke a bit about the role The Turtle has to play in the film. In short, not a big one.

Asked about how weird he wanted to get with the movie and whether he would delve into the forces bring the Losers together, Muschietti explained:

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