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The film version of Stephen King’s It skews the notorious opening scene in a way that changes the stakes significantly for one of the lead characters — Bill Denbrough (Midnight Special’s Jaeden Lieberher, second from left.) As part of EW’s Comic-Con double issue, we present a series of concept images from the Sept. 8 horror movie that explores the question: Does Georgie live?
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Those who’ve read the 1986 novel remember the disturbing prologue, teased on the book’s cover, in which Bill’s little brother Georgie is chasing a paper boat down a storm-swollen street when he is murdered in his yellow rain slicker by the creature calling itself Pennywise the Clown. In the book, poor Georgie is found with his arm missing.
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In the new film from director Andrés Muschietti (2013’s Mama) … he’s not found at all.
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That means his brother, nicknamed “Stuttering Bill” by the local bullies, is leading his fellow "Losers" not just on a mission of revenge against the shapeshifting evil that lives beneath their town. He’s on a quest to find his little brother – alive or dead – which means venturing into the subterranean lair of the nameless creature they call It.
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This sequence of concept art reveals the descent. In the first frame, we see Bill with his friend Bev Marsh (Sophia Lillis), but in the finished film he's with different buddies. “He actually comes in with some of the Losers. Richie and Eddie. And they meet Ben in that scene," the director says.
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That would be Richie Tozier (Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard), the class-clown of the group, and Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), an asthmatic who’s the smallest (though not necessarily the weakest) of the friends. Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor, on the far right) becomes an important ally. All have been teased relentlessly. But down here — it's their time.
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Back to the concept art, here we see Bill Denbrough and one of his friends descending that rope from the previous image into the sewers of Derry. (The filmmakers ended up losing the vest jacket look — too Marty McFly.)
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The network of storm drains is littered with cast-off items – a doll, a single roller skate, a bouncing ball. This is more than trash. These are the remnants of other lost children whose fears have fed the beast beneath their twisted town. The deeper they go, the closer they get to It's hive.
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“The final confrontation happens in the lair where Pennywise lives, a big cistern, a circular space that resembles a cooling tower,” Muschietti says. Bill may find what he’s looking for. And he may regret ever having searched.
To read more from this year's Comic-Con preview, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.