One of the most interesting parts of this year’s remake of Stephen King’s It (besides the film’s colossal box-office success) is seeing how new filmmakers tackle an immensely popular book with a very complicated, exceedingly bizarre mythology. (“There’s this cosmic turtle god named Maturin, see? Which brings us to the tween orgy …”) Comparisons between an early version of the It script co-written by Cary Fukunaga, who was initially attached to direct, and the film itself suggest the movie cut out several scenes, including a flashback to Pennywise as a saloon piano player in 1879. No such scene exists in the new It, but Bill Skarsgard’s episode of Variety’s Playback podcast reveals that the actor shot a flashback scene, sadly excised from the film, that provides some telling clues about his villain. Specifically, what Pennywise might have looked like before he realized clowns are the go-to form for an interdimensional child-consuming demon.
“There was a scene we shot that was a flashback from the 1600s, before Pennywise [was Pennywise],” explains Skarsgard. “The scene turned out really, really disturbing. And I’m not the clown. I look more like myself. It’s very disturbing, and sort of a backstory for what It is, or where Pennywise came from. That might be something worth exploring in the second one. The idea is the ‘It’ entity was dormant for thousands and thousands of years. The [flashback] scene hints on that.” Variety notes that a previous draft of the film does include “a colonial-set sequence where It devours a child,” which begs the question: did audiences miss out on an old-timey Bill Skarsgard in a pilgrim hat and buckle shoes eating a baby? Or perhaps the scene depicted the gruesome end of the town’s founders, who unfortunately didn’t question why there was a weird clown-looking guy at their charter signing until it was far too late? Whatever the scene was, we might still get a chance to see it: The It sequel is undoubtedly on its way.