You may not have noticed, but the turtle makes an appearance in IT
At first glance, Maturin looks to have been cut from the grand narrative of IT, along with the Ritual of Chud and the metaphysical battle co-existing with the much more down-to-earth struggle between childhood friendship and fear. The good news is that first glances are deceiving, because Andy Muschietti intends to re-introduce the more metaphysical components of the King novel back into the world of on-screen clown terror.
Even better is that sharp-eyed viewers who were fans of the book likely noticed the subtle callouts to turtles in the movie. As the director himself told us: “The Turtle plays a pretty big role in the book... But it's a very subtle presence, and it's approached from a very speculative perspective, because nobody knows what The Turtle is, but it comes in dreams and messages and mythology. So I didn't want to introduce The Turtle as it's described in the book, because in the book there are speculative descriptions of what the Macroverse is -- the other dimension where It comes from and where The Turtle lives. But I did want to hint at the presence of the turtle in this movie, as a force of good that's basically trying to protect the kids.”
The most obvious turtles are the Lego turtle that Bill is holding when he sees Ghost Georgie, as well as turtle wallpaper in Bill’s house. The other turtle reference is something that doesn’t feel out of place until the scene ends: When Beverly has joined the Losers for a swim in the quarry, they notice a turtle and all dive beneath the water, portending what feels like a jump scare waiting to happen. Then... the scene ends, and we pick up after the kids are done swimming.
Muschietti was acutely aware of the effect of the line and the edit. “The screen goes completely green, and I think people sort of brace because they think something scary is going to happen, but then we cut to the next scene. It's a bit of an Easter egg for people who've read the book. For people who don't know the story at all, The Turtle goes completely unnoticed, I think. But I didn't want to leave The Turtle completely out, because I think it's a hint for further exploration in the second part."
Just how is that going to play out in the inevitable IT: Chapter 2? First, the second movie will keep the flashback structure of the novel, so it’s entirely possible to revisit moments from the novel that were skipped over or left out in the first chapter. “The hope is we’ll find the best way soon, because it’s also important for Andy to get flashbacks with the kids, who are growing very fast,” Barbara Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly. “They are an important component in the next film.”
Her brother has also found a way to bring in more “out there” ideas like the Macroverse and a sentient giant Turtle of Good, and it twists the story of Mike Hanlon from the novels even further than the first film: Instead of just being the librarian who monitors Derry for IT’s resurgence, Mike Hanlon will also be a drug addict, chasing metaphysical information about the entity. Says Muschietti, “He’s not just the collector of knowledge of what Pennywise has been doing in Derry. He will bear the role of trying to figure out how to defeat him. The only way he can do that is to take drugs and alter his mind.”
Whatever final form the sequel takes, you can expect more of the greater King mythology to make its presence felt. For now, you'll have to content yourself with knowing you caught the turtle references most viewers missed.