6 major ways the 2017 film adaptation of “It” is different from the book

Warning: Spoilers from It are ahead!

Creepy clowns have found their way back into our collective consciousness, thanks to It, the blockbuster horror film that has been selling out movie theaters everywhere. Based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel, It tells the story of a group of misfit kids (aka the Losers Club) who are terrorized by an evil, shape-shifting clown in the small town of Derry, Maine.

However, while the movie clocks in at 2 hours and 15 minutes, it’s hardly enough time to squeeze every plot detail from King’s 1,138-page novel into it. There are definitely some ways the new adaptation of It is different from the book, such as:

1Bev’s desire to be the “first love” of all the boys.


The most obvious omission the movie makes is the super-awkward and gross kid orgy scene at the end of the book. Thankfully, director Andrés Muschietti smartly decided that the blood oath scene would be enough to seal the group’s bond in the film version.

2The time period.

Although the events of novel take place in the 1950s, the filmmakers decided that the new film would be an “homage to ’80s films” and changed the setting to 1988. Perhaps they were influenced by Netflix’s popular series, Stranger Things, which is also set in the decade of big hair and Ronald Reagan – or, perhaps the reason they changed the time period was to allow the forthcoming sequel to play out in 2015.

Regardless, we’ll be very interested to see how the filmmakers decide to incorporate modern day technology into the second film that takes place 27 years later when the characters are all adults. Will the Losers Club record Pennywise on their cell phone cameras? Will they be better able to maneuver through the sewers with GPS? We guess we’ll find out when the sequel is released in 2019.

3The history of  It.

The character of Mike grows up to be the town librarian and is the defacto narrator of the book. But, in movie, it is the character of Ben who makes a scrapbook of the town’s history and explains the origins of Pennywise to the other characters.

4The various forms It takes

Although It appears most often in the form of the clown Pennywise, the monster shape-shifts into different forms during each of the Losers’ nightmarish encounters with It. Among the incarnations the evil creature takes in the novel are a giant bird, mummy and werewolf, but none of these appear in the movie.

Director Andrés Muschietti mentioned that this is because the kids’ original visions were based on 1950s horror movies, so, since the era had been changed, he thought it made more sense to base those depictions of It on the innermost fears, rather than dated movie monsters. Fortunately, Bev’s bloody sink scene does make the cut and appears in both the book and the film.

5Bev becomes a damsel in distress.


As the only girl in the group, literary Bev is depicted as a scrappy heroine who fights It right alongside the male characters. In the movie, however, she is reduced to one-dimensional Sleeping Beauty, who gets kidnapped by Pennywise, has to be rescued by the boys, and then only regains consciousness after Ben gives her a kiss.

6The Loser Club as adults.

In the book, the narrative shifts between the characters as kids and then many years later when they return to Derry as adults. However, in the 2017 film, Bev mentions that she has a vision of them fighting Pennywise as adults, but we never actually see grownup versions of the characters. It seems the filmmakers decided to wait for the 2019 sequel to cast the adult actors.