Stephen King’s ‘It’ Ending Explained [Spoilers]

As we all know, a film adaptation of Stephen King’s It is in the works and is set to come out in September. There is a lot of fantastic news coverage concerning the film flying around the internet (take a look at The Inquisitr’s page about the upcoming movie), but be very wary of the constant mistake writers make in which they call this year’s It a remake. Yes, the 1990 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s book was popular, thanks mainly to Tim Curry’s turn as Pennywise the Clown. But that does not mean the movie will reflect the miniseries, which many people, Stephen King fans or not, consider to be cheesy and outdated. And it certainly will not rehash the incredibly lackluster ending shown in the miniseries. So let’s take a look at the ending from Stephen King’s book, the ending from the leaked Cary Fukunaga script, what we will probably see as the ending to Andres Muschietti’s movie, and how they all make sense.

WARNING: Spoilers for Stephen King’s 1986 horror classic It, as well as spoilers for the 1990 ABC miniseries and light spoilers for Cary Fukunaga’s script, are within. Press on at your own discretion!

Stephen King's 'It' Villain
Pennywise the Clown. [Image by Cinemamind/Deviant Art]

First, it should be noted that the ending of this year’s It movie is not the main group of antagonist’s final encounter with Pennywise (the name we’ll use to refer to the titular creature). This year’s installment is only part one of the story contained in Stephen King’s work; it only follows the characters as children. Because of that, the movie’s ending will show the main characters’ final encounter with Pennywise as children.

In Stephen King’s original written vision, the encounter we will see in the movie is the first time when we see Pennywise in its true form. It is not a clown, nor a leper, nor a werewolf, but a giant spider-like creature whose exact shape cannot be described. Even beyond its spider shape, Stephen King writes that it is more of a cosmic entity referred to as “the deadlights.”

It is difficult to describe on paper since I have neither Stephen King’s one-in-a-billion writing talent nor the scores of pages he uses to talk about Pennywise’s underlying identity. Certainly, though, a really good on-screen translation of King’s reveal would be extremely difficult and costly, requiring masterful direction and intensive use of advanced special effects.

Because special effects were infinitely harder to come by back then and the TV miniseries was undoubtedly on a much tighter budget, it is no wonder the people behind the 1990 miniseries severely botched the scene when they finally did show Pennywise in its spider form once the main characters had grown up.

As children, however, the characters in the Stephen King-inspired miniseries never even encountered the spider. Instead, after Pennywise grabs Stan Uris and bares his fangs, Eddie Kaspbrak fires off his asthma inhaler in its face and Beverly Marsh shoots it with a slingshot. These are both things that happened in Stephen King’s novel, albeit not during the children’s final encounter with their adversary. Pennywise then jumps down a nearby drain and disappears for the next 30-odd years.

Fukunaga’s script, which has been pulled from the internet by New Line since it was leaked in late March, remains more faithful to King’s source material. It is partly because, behind a big-budget movie and with the massive advancement in CGI capabilities over the past 27 years, Fukunaga was able to realistically suggest a much more ambitious re-envisioning. It is also probably thanks in part to the fact that Fukunaga, reports Cinema Blend, is a big Stephen King fan himself.

In Fukunaga’s script, like in Stephen King’s book, the children encounter Pennywise as a creature beyond imagination.

“In Fukunaga’s original script, they go beneath the sewers and they find the entrance to the deadlights,” notes the commentator for the Stephen King Cast, a popular Stephen King-focused podcast, in a recent episode concerning the first trailer for It.

“It’s a really trippy-looking scene, with water flowing upwards and a pool, and beneath the pool it’s infinite space, and reality doesn’t look like reality anymore. The Clown reveals its true form, which is the deadlights, and it’s taking on the form of this glowing starfish thing with tentacles. So rather than a spider, it’s more of a deep-sea monstrosity, which kind of speaks to the Lovecraftian influences of the original text. So it just all sounds horrifying.”

That sounds like a dream, especially for Stephen King fans, but that does not mean Fukunaga’s script would have been perfect. Some sites like Birth. Movies. Death. insist It would have been a “Great American Horror Film” and more than enough to do justice to Stephen King’s story had Fukunaga not left the production over creative differences, but, as the Inquisitr previously proposed, Fukunaga’s departure might have actually been a good thing.

Stephen King's 'It' Director
Director Cary Fukunaga poses with his award at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on Saturday, May 21, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Regardless, the question is if Andres Muscietti’s iteration of It will give us an ending more similar to Stephen King’s, Cary Fukunaga’s, or the TV miniseries’.

The answer is most likely that we will be seeing something like Fukunaga’s conclusion. According to NME, the script Muscietti is using is just a slightly tweaked version of Fukunaga’s draft with changes according to Andres’s vision for the retelling of the immortal Stephen King tale. This means the details people read in the Fukunaga script are more likely than not to come alive on the screen come September.

[Featured image by Monstah/Deviant Art]