If you have bought the book, and you haven’t yet read it, or you are still waiting to see the film, you might want to bookmark this post and come back to it later, because there are a lot of spoilers in here.
Otherwise, read on, and discover ten of the biggest differences between Stephen King’s It, the novel, and Stephen King’s It Chapter 1, the 2017 movie.
The Film is set in the 1980s
The time frame of the film has been moved up by about 30 years. In Stephen King’s it, the novel, the story moves between the 1950s, when the Losers Club were kids, and the 1980s, when they meet up again in Derry to face Pennywise for a second time. It makes sense to do this, so that chapter two of the film will be set in the current period, just as it was in the original novel, but then that would have been the 1980s.
The Film Follows a Linear TimeLine
In the book, the storyline jumps back and forth between the 1950s and the 1980s, whereas the 2017 It Chapter One movie portrays only the early events when the Losers Club are still kids. While this may well have made splitting the story into two parts easier, it may yet prove to be a mistake, as the story of the children’s battle with Pennywise is, arguably, far more frightening than the adult’s. It also takes out some of the poignancy of the story. For example, people who have only watched the first chapter of the film will not know that Stanley Uris commits suicide in adulthood. (Sorry, we did warn you about the spoilers!)
Ben Hanscom Has Become the Historian
In the 2017 film version of Stephen Kings It, Ben Hanscom appears to be the historian of the Losers Club, rather than the aspiring architect that he was in the novel. In the book, Mike Hanlon documents the history of Derry and Mike stays in the town and becomes the town’s librarian. This could suggest that there are going to be some even bigger changes in the roles that the various members of the Loser Club play in the sequel to the 2017 film.
The Losers Club Don’t Build a Dam
Why did they take out the dam building scene! In Stephen King’s It, the novel, Ben Hanscom shows other members of the Loser Club how to build a dam and the water backs up so far that the local cop comes down into the barrens to find out what has happened. In the 2017 film version of the story, there is no dam, just a spitting contest and a bit of diving and swimming. Seriously guys; the dam building was a big deal! It’s when the children bonded, it’s when Ben realised he was accepted into the club, and it’s when they all discovered that by working together, they could achieve great things. Or, are we just being a bit too precious about the original story?
Stanley Uris Plays Less of a Role in the Movie
Another big difference between the Stephen King It movie and the novel is that Stanley Uris plays a much less significant role in the events. For example, in the book, Stanley Uris cuts the palms of the other kids when they swear to fight Pennywise again if It ever comes back again, but in the movie, it is Bill Denbrough who leads the making of the blood oath. That’s what makes Stan’s suicide in the book all the more poignant.
Georgie's Body is Never Found in the Film
The 2017 It film does a great job of portraying the death of Georgie at the hands of Pennywise, but after that, the film has some big differences from the book in the treatment of the aftermath Georgie’s death. In Stephen king’s It novel, Pennywise rips of Georgie’s arm and leaves him to bleed to death. His body is later found, so there is no question at all that Georgie is dead. In the film, however, Georgie gets dragged into the sewer by Pennywise and his body is never recovered, which leads Bill to believe that his brother might still be alive.
The Sex Scenes Are Omitted
Not surprisingly, the 2017 film version of Stephen King’s It does not include the scene in the book where each of the male members of the Losers Club lose their virginity to Beverly, one after the other, as a way of strengthening the bond that they have. Stephen king has said that the scene is something that he would not have included in the book if he were writing it today. There is also another scene in the novel where Henry Bowers, the leader of the bullies, and Patrick Hockstetter, a deeply disturbed young man, briefly explore gay sex, watched by a hidden Beverly Marsh.
There’s no Turtle the Stephen King It Film
Maturin the Turtle, an important element of the Stephen King universe, plays an important role in the novel, but doesn’t even get a mention the film. In the book, Maturin the Turtle tells Bill Denbrough how Pennywise can be defeated through the ritual of Chud. However, there are turtles in the water in the Barrens in the Stephen King It film and there is a model of a turtle in Georgie's room. Perhaps the turtle will make an appearance in the second chapter of the film.
The Shapeshifting is Different
The scenes where Pennywise takes on different forms to taunt the kids are different from the book in the film version of It too. For example, Richie Tozier is not attacked by a werewolf; he is tormented by a room full of clown costumes, and Ben Hanscom doesn’t see a mummy, he sees a vision of one of the victims of the Derry Ironworks explosion. Mike Hanlon doesn’t get to see the big bird either; instead, he is tormented by images that remind him of the death of his parents.
Pennywise is Defeated in a Different Fashion
In the novel, Bill Denbrough knows how to defeat Pennywise with the Ritual of Chud, because Maturin the Turtle has shown him. The Losers Club Defeat Pennywise with their minds and their belief that the silver dollar fired from Beverly’s slingshot will kill the monster. In the film version of It, Pennywise is defeated by a combination of physical strength and the kids’ willingness to stand up against Pennywise. Although there is no slingshot and silver dollar in the film, Bill Denbrough does fire a bolt pistol at the image of Georgie that Pennywise has created, which weakens the monster.