Spoilers ahead for IT Chapter Two.
IT Chapter Two finally arrived in theaters last weekend, continuing the story of The Losers’ Club and their battle with Pennywise. Andy Muschietti brought back the original cast for more footage, adapting Stephen King’s iconic novel and making some changes to the story in the process. One of the characters which underwent the biggest transformations was Bill Hader and Finn Wolfhard’s Richie Tozier, but what did Stephen King thing of this new take?
Stephen King’s novels have been the subject for countless film and TV adaptations throughout the years. And the beloved writer has always been honest about his feelings toward each adaptation. King was recently asked if he framed Richie’s relationship with Eddie as an unrequited love story as it was portrayed in IT Chapter Two, and he said:
Stephen King might not have originally written Richie as a man struggling with this sexuality, but he seems to love the character choice, going so far as to call it genius.
The author’s comments to Vanity Fair will no doubt excite the generations of Stephen King fans out there, especially those who had mixed feelings about IT Chapter Two. Andy Muschietti had to make some choices regarding how to bring the story from the page to the screen. While the previous adaptation was a miniseries, Muschietti took the theatrical approach, while also bringing the story to modern audiences.
Bill Hader stole the show in IT Chapter Two, allowing the actor to use his signature comedic chops to play the wisecracking Loser. This version of Richie was a professional comic, who hasn’t grown out of making jokes at this friends’ expense. The new horror sequel also expanded his relationship with Eddie, revealing that Finn Wolfhard’s young Richie was in love with his hypochondriac best friend. And the sexual jokes he often made throughout the franchise were a front to his true feelings.
Richie is taunted by Pennywise throughout Chapter Two, as the demon says he knows the character’s “dirty little secret.” But he eventually comes to terms with his true feelings, which give him the strength to bully It and kill the monster once and for all. He’s shown re-carving his and Eddie’s initials within Derry, in a hopeful ending for the character.
It’s exciting to hear that Stephen King liked this change in Richie’s story, and specifically relate it to IT Chapter Two‘s horrifying opening sequence. The movie opens on a homophobic hate crime in Derry, with a group of the town’s kids brutally attacking a gay couple, eventually throwing one off a bridge to become Pennywise’s victim. It’s a triggering and disturbing sequence, one that has garnered a big reaction on social media.
Richie’s ending makes the story cyclical, this time with hope for Richie rather than fear and terror for victims Adrian and Don. Stephen King appreciates how the story comes full circle, and it seems IT Chapter Two has been largely praised for its portrayal of Richie.
IT Chapter Two is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.