'It: Chapter 2' Maturin Easter Egg Marks the Biggest Change From the Novel
This turtle was too scared to come out of his shell.
It: Chapter Two barely scratches the surface of Stephen King’s uber-complex horror multiverse, instead offering a more streamlined explanation about what “It” is and where “It” comes from. So it makes sense that one of the most prominent beings in King’s mythos that appears in the book, a cosmic turtle called Maturin, doesn’t make it into the movie, but It: Chapter Two screenwriter Gary Dauberman tells Inverse that there’s an Easter egg referencing the mystical creature you probably missed.
Spoilers follow for It: Chapter Two and the book It.
In the original It novel, when the Losers’ Club confront It as kids, Bill Denborough encounters Maturin in a plane of existence called the Macroverse. Instead of an evil shapeshifting cluster of Deadlights like It, Maturin is a good-natured giant turtle who once created the universe by barfing it up. Maturin and It are mortal enemies. The turtle advises Bill to stand by his friends in performing the Ritual of Chud. When they’re ultimately successful in defeating It, they owe it all to a weird talking turtle.
For anyone hoping we to see Maturin in It: Chapter Two, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the reptile ejected from the plot during the writing stage of production, marking a huge change from the books that leads to It being simplified as some kind of alien rather than the evil cosmic counterpart to a really nice turtle.
“I was trying to wrap my head around a giant turtle floating through space and then Bill standing in front of it,” Dauberman says Inverse. “From a cinematic standpoint, I had a hard time, but Maturin is one of the things in the book that guides Bill into the Ritual.”
Dauberman promises that there are a couple of turtle-themed Easter eggs throughout the movie for fans to find, but the biggest connection is to the root-based drug that Mike gets from local Native Americans. He uses it to have some kind of mystical vision that shows him It’s horrifying origins and then uses the same root to dose Bill and explain his plan.
“Maturin is actually what we call the root that Mike takes from the Native Americans as part of his journey to help guide his path on how to ultimately defeat Pennywise,” Dauberman said. “Maturin’s still there in the movie. It’s just not personified by a giant turtle.”
In September 2017, shortly after the release of the first film, Syfy reported that Maturin was on director Andy Muschietti’s mind when making both movies.
“The moment you introduce the element of IT, which is an interdimensional evil entity, the presence of the turtle comes with it, as a counterbalance,” Muschiettisaid. “It doesn’t seem to pay a big role, but the turtle is there. Like all mythologies, there’s a god of good and a god of evil. I didn’t want to use it as a fantastic character, but it’s hinted, every time the kids are in danger or something, I wanted to hint at the presence of the turtle. It might have a bigger role in the second one.”
Sadly, Maturin didn’t wind up getting a bigger role in the second one, but take solace in knowing that maybe he’s out there in the Macroverse watching over us — or at least carrying all of known existence on his back.
It: Chapter Two is now in theaters.
Eric Francisco contributed reporting to this article.