The internet's response to Andres Muschietti's It trailer proves that Pennywise is on the rise — but didn't we already see Stephen King's story play out in Stranger Things last year? From the nostalgic '80s setting to the repeated casting of actor Finn Wolfhard, it's become hard to deny that both It and Stranger Things share plenty of the same monstrous DNA.
Need proof? Check out this mash-up trailer that reimagines 'IT' in the style of 'Stranger Things':
However, the history that binds both projects together is far more complicated than it first appears, proving to be the kind of mind-bender that even Eleven would struggle to comprehend.
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Here's How 'Stranger Things' Was Inspired By Stephen King's 'It'
Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Stephen King's work — including King himself — immediately recognized the debt that Stranger Things owes the prolific author. From the opening credits that were ripped straight from the cover of a #StephenKing hardback to name-dropping the King himself, it's hard to imagine how the show could have ever existed without his legacy.
However, if there's one book that inspired #StrangerThings the most, it's It. Both stories revolve around childhood friends who band together in the face of a monstrous evil that rises from the sewers, using a slingshot to finish their demonic adversaries once and for all. Winona Ryder's Joyce even makes a not-so-subtle reference to Pennywise near the beginning of Stranger Things when she asks if her son is still scared of clowns.
However, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that echoes of It can be seen throughout the first season of Stranger Things. After all, there was a time when the show's creators pitched their own take on the upcoming movie adaptation, long before Andres Muschietti was hired.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Duffer Brothers explained how close they were to bringing #Pennywise to life:
“We asked, and that’s why we ended up doing this, because we’d asked Warner Brothers. I was like, “Please,” and they were like, “No.” This was before Cary Fukunaga. This was a long time ago,” Matt explains. His brother, Ross, elaborates, stating, “When we asked to do it was before, then he got on it afterwards because he’s established. So, he got on it and we were excited just because we’re huge fans of what he does, and one of the few people who hasn’t made a bad movie.”
In many ways, it's easy to see how Season 1 of Stranger Things can be seen as a loose IT remake of sorts. However, before Stephen King's lawyers sharpen their pencils, it's worth bearing in mind that the story doesn't end there. Prepare to have your world quite literally turned upside down.
Here's How Andres Muschietti's Trailer For 'It' Was Inspired By 'Stranger Things
At first glance, fans of the original novel or TV adaptation may wonder why the new IT movie has relocated from the '50s to the '80s. Airwolf t-shirts and posters of Dungeons & Dragons firmly locate Muschietti's version in the same time period as Stranger Things, automatically encouraging further comparisons between the two.
One could argue that #It chose this setting first, as early drafts of the script floated online as early as 2014, and this certainly makes sense logistically. In order to set the adult-based sequel in the present day, Muschietti's first IT movie needed to introduce the children in the '80s, as Pennywise only rises out of the sewers once every twenty-seven years.
However, there are a few arguably unnecessary allusions to Stranger Things found in the IT trailer that suggest Muschietti's team is fully aware of the similarities and is even keen to capitalise on them. After all, is it just a coincidence that a Dungeons & Dragons poster is shown in Bill's room following the game's prominence in Stranger Things?
While this may be a more subtle reference, it's hard to argue against how shots of the Losers Club cycling are almost identical to those that became synonymous with the hit #Netflix show. Finn Wolfhard's character Richie Tozier is literally just Mike Wheeler disguised with glasses, complete with the same '80s style clothing.
Ironically, the IT project almost cost Finn his breakthrough role in Stranger Things. Ross Duffer explained to IGN that:
"When we found him, we were like “this is Mike. This is our lead boy.” We were so excited and then we get a call from someone that’s like “So bad news, Cary Fukunaga is making a movie version of It and he cast Finn in it” and they were ahead of us by a month or so, so we lost him. We were excited for Cary’s movie but we were devastated to lose Finn. Then that of course fell apart, so we got Finn back. We shot this, that movie came back and then they took Finn again."
As the only member of the Losers Club to appear in both Fukunaga's and Muschietti's versions of IT, Finn Wolfhard remains the most concrete thread between Stephen King's iconic novel and the show that channels King's greatest work in all but name.
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Like the wheel of Ka, it seems then that both Stranger Things and IT influence each other in a cyclical fashion. However, much like Pennywise's influence over the town of Derry, it remains to be seen exactly how far it will reach. For all we know, the theatrical release of IT on September 8 may shy away from the Stranger Things vibe that the first trailer played on, instead becoming it's own nightmare-inducing beast.