While Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Stephen King’s sprawling horror epic It has now joined the list of great films that might have been, New Line hasn’t entirely ditched the plans set out by the former True Detective director. The studio is still planning on adapting the novel into two films, with the first focusing on the characters as children and the second following them as adults. And though we still mourn what Fukunaga’s version could have been, take solace in knowing that New Line is at least targeting an R rating.

Producer Roy Lee gave Collider an update on the long-developing It adaptation, which will now be directed by Mama helmer Andres Muschietti:

It will hopefully be shooting later this year. We just got the California tax credit… Gary Doberman [sic] wrote the most recent draft working with Andy Muscetti [sic], so it’s being envisioned as two movies.

Fukunaga and Chase Palmer’s excellent, fierce screenplay has been rewritten by Gary Dauberman, the scribe behind The Conjuring spinoff Annabelle. Dauberman’s involvement doesn’t inspire a vote of confidence based on his existing work, and depending on how you feel about Mama (personally, I found it a bit lame), neither does Muschietti’s.

However, Lee claims that It will stick close to the source material, which is why the story needs to be adapted as two films instead of one:

It is very close to the source material in one way but very different if you look at it as a literary piece of work… We’re taking it and making the movie from the point of view of the kids, and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel. But it’s gonna be a really fun way of making this movie.

Lee also says that they’re close to a final draft and that both films will be rated R, which means that Muschietti and Dauberman are free to explore some of the more dreadful aspects of King’s classic story. It’s not particularly the blood and gore that should warrant an R rating, however, and hopefully Muschietti and Dauberman understand that; it’s the intense stuff involving pre-teen kids, who are brutally confronted with an unfathomable monster and forced into mature situations — but many of those situations are also honest in how they portray kids coping with adult concepts.

Fukunaga and Palmer’s script was not only a great horror story, but a solid adaptation in the best possible sense: It honored the tone and narrative of the source material while transforming it for the screen, and it even managed to pay homage to Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining.

Earlier reports suggested that Dauberman would be working off of Fukunaga and Palmer’s script, and given that the studio remains committed to their ideas of making a two-film, R-rated adaptation, it’s likely that Dauberman didn’t entirely start from scratch and that Fukunaga and Palmer may still get a Story By credit.

Whatever the case, we could be seeing the first of the two It films next year, and it will be interesting to see how this adaptation shakes out.

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