By Nick Romano
August 26, 2019 at 10:30 AM EDT
Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. (2)
09/06/19
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The phrase is “kill your darlings,” but perhaps it holds double meanings when it comes to a horror film.

Andy Muschietti’s first cut of It Chapter Two came out with a runtime of — brace yourself — four hours. Even the filmmaker, who also directed the first It from 2017, had to admit “four hours is unreleasable.” So, as he tells EW, he “shaved it a little” and now the horror sequel about the return of Pennywise sits at just under three hours. But, if the stars align, we may end up seeing an extended version.

Muschietti also had to cut down the first It after a similarly lengthy early cut, and he hopes to release director’s cuts of both installments on a future home release.

“It hopefully will be released as a director’s cut, which is something that I’m looking forward to, including the director’s cut of the first one,” the filmmaker says. “To this point, I’m not sure what those versions are, but I’d really, really like to make a director’s cut of both movies.”

The thinking behind that first lengthy go of It Chapter Two was, let’s spend as much time chasing Pennywise as possible. “Nothing too important was lost,” he clarified of the final theatrical version.

The first It told a portion of Stephen King‘s 1986 novel when the Losers’ Club faced Pennywise as kids in their town of Derry, Maine. Chapter Two, picking up with these characters as adults 27 years later, now sees the Losers returning home for one more nightmare when the killer clown resurfaces.

Muschietti was 14 when he first read It, and at that age, “you really don’t know what adulthood is about, but I really connected to the characters and the story and the emotional aspects of the kids story,” he recalls. “When you read it 30 years later, you understand other things about the story and why Stephen King antagonizes the world of childhood with the world of adulthood because it’s essentially a love letter to childhood and all the beautiful things that childhood has: imagination, belief, and all these things that are lost when you grow up.”

During an interview with SFX, Muschietti also teased the potential of releasing a version with the two movies cut together. “The possibilities are open,” he said.

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