[Spoilers for It Chapter Two]
Even with a nearly three-hour running time, It Chapter Two cut a lot of material from Stephen King’s source material, including the importance of Beverly and Bill’s spouses (who were not missed), and changed just as much. The ending, in particular, is the “biggest departure we take from the novel,” according to screenwriter Gary Dauberman. (There are spider eggs, inhaler attacks, and a huge storm in the book, all of which are left out of the movie, for better or worse.) “I knew we had to include the Ritual of Chüd, I knew there had to be steps to this process,” he explained. “But I didn’t know how what was in the book would have played on screen; going into another realm, things like that.
Dauberman (who also wrote Annabelle) and director Andy Muschietti decided on showing “the most cinematic way to tell this without the audience kind of scratching their heads,” he said. “Stephen King’s ending is wonderful, but he also takes his time explaining the metaphysics behind all of it. We didn’t have that time. We had to distill it down to the key ingredients. I wanted to be faithful to the spirit of what King was going for, and I think we managed that. That is how I found my peace with taking a departure.”
Speaking of King and endings: there’s a recurring joke in Chapter Two about how adult Bill Denbrough, who becomes a writer, can’t wrap up his stories. It’s not the dig at King (who cameos as a grumpy shopkeep in the movie) that it seems to be. “I think he has stuck the landing over and over again on many of his novels and stories,” Dauberman told Inverse. “I think the proof is in the pudding on that. The running joke is just that, a running joke, and it speaks more to the back and forth of the arguments on the internet.”
There are multiple Reddit threads (of course) debating the merits of King’s endings, but anyone who wraps up a novel named after a baseball player with something called the “God of the Lost” turning out to be bear is OK with me.