Even if you haven’t read Stephen King’s It, one glance at the massive book is enough to convince you that there’s no way it could be adapted into just one movie. You’d be right, as the second half of the horror classic is headed to the big screen next fall. While that’s just two years after the first blockbuster film hit theaters, the action of It: Chapter Two takes place 27 years after the events of It: Chapter One. A lot has changed in Derry, Maine, so here’s what to expect once Pennywise rises again.
WHAT IS THE PLOT OF IT: CHAPTER 2?
As horror fans learned in the first It, Pennywise the Dancing Clown reemerges in Derry, Maine every 27 years in order to feast on the fears and flesh of the town’s children before going back into hibernation. His reign of terror came to an early end in the first movie, thanks to the actions of the Losers’ Club — seven brave Derry kids who confronted Pennywise in his lair.
However, the Losers’ Club didn’t permanently defeat Pennywise, and It returns just like clockwork 27 years later. In Chapter Two, it’s up to the now grown-up Losers’ Club to face their old foe once again. In the nearly three decades that passed since their first encounter with Pennywise, all but one of the members of the Losers’ Club have left Derry behind, with only Mike Hanlon remaining in their gloomy hometown. Their memories of the events of the first It have faded as well, but over the course of the story, they come flooding back.
In the original book, both the kid and adult plots play out at the same time, as the chapters largely alternate between the younger and older encounters with Pennywise. The movies opted to tell the whole story chronologically, though the child actors of the first It will appear in Chapter Two for flashback scenes. In an interview with MTV shortly after the first movie came out, director Andy Muschietti said he wanted to “recover the dialogue between the two timelines that the book had."
Finally, Chapter Two takes place in the present day, 27 years after the first movie's '80s setting. The movies updated the book's timeline, as the novel's two stories took place in the '50s and '80s.
WHO IS PLAYING ALL THE ADULT MEMBERS OF THE LOSERS’ CLUB?
Beverly Marsh, the only girl in the group, will be played by Zero Dark Thirty star Jessica Chastain as an adult, with Sophia Lillis playing the teenaged Bev once again.
Richie Tozier, the fast-talking comic relief character, will be played by Barry star and SNL alum Bill Hader. Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard will play young Richie in flashbacks.
Ben Hanscom, the member of the Losers’ Club who was bullied for his weight but is probably the best person in the group, will be played by Jay Ryan, who acted in the New Zealand series Top of the Lake and the 2012 Beauty and the Beast TV series. Jeremy Ray Taylor will reprise his role in flashback scenes.
Eddie Kaspbrak, the hypochondriac of the group, will be played by James Ransone, who you may recognize as the Deputy from the Sinister horror franchise. Jack Dylan Grazer will play the younger Eddie again.
Mike Hanlon, the only non-white member of the group and the only one to remain in Derry as an adult, will be played by former NFL player and actor Isaiah Mustafa. Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly that he had plans for a more complicated version of Mike than the one in the book, albeit one with a more active role in the plot. “I want to make his character the one pivotal character who brings them all together, but staying in Derry took a toll with him. I want him to be a junkie actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he’s a wreck,” he said. Castle Rock’s Chosen Jacobs will continue to play Mike in flashbacks.
Finally, Stanley Uris, the most reluctant member of the group, will be played by Power’s Andy Bean. Wyatt Oleff will reprise his role as Stan for the flashbacks.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown will be played once again by the always-terrifying Bill Skarsgård.
Henry Bowers, the psychotic bully who tormented the Losers’ Club before falling under Pennywise’s control, will return as an adult, played by Altered Carbon’s Teach Grant.
New characters include Audra Phillips, Bill Denbrough’s wife. She’ll be played by Teeth’s Jess Weixler, while Will Beinbrink will play Beverly Marsh’s abusive husband, Tom Rogan. Another new addition is Adrian Mellon, a victim of a homophobic hate crime who ends up being Pennywise’s first victim upon his return. He’ll be played by Boy Erased’s Xavier Dolan.
DO WE KNOW WHICH SCENES FROM THE BOOK WILL BE IN THE MOVIE?
Dollan’s casting as Adrian Mellon seems to confirm that Pennywise’s attack on Adrian, as well as the hate crime that proceeded it, will kick off It’s attack in Chapter 2. It’s possible for book readers to make some educated guesses about what else could happen based on casting or the stature of some of the actors cast to play the adult Losers’ Club (cough Stanley cough), though not much has been explicitly confirmed.
Paparazzi photos showed Skarsgård in full Pennywise getup sitting on a statue of Paul Bunyan’s shoulders, suggesting that at least one specific scare from the book will be brought to life in the film.
Expect the movie to largely follow the beats of the book, though there will no doubt be some changes, and it’s unclear exactly what ground the flashback scenes will cover, since the first movie addressed most of the important parts from the book (while leaving out a tween orgy).
One scene that will be in It: Chapter Two is the Ritual of Chüd, a strange, psychic, metaphysical battle of wills that the Losers' Club use in their final showdown with Pennywise. The scene was weird in the book, as it involved the Losers and Pennywise biting one anothers’ tongues and telling jokes until somebody laughed, but it… mostly made sense in the context of the book, which gets pretty wild.
In fact, the first movie is surprisingly grounded, with really only Beverly’s glimpse at the Deadlights inside of Pennywise’s head hinting at any larger cosmic force. Chapter Two’s inclusion of the Ritual of Chüd, as confirmed by screenwriter Gary Dauberman, suggests the movie will explore the more mythic aspects of King’s horror masterpiece.
HAVE THERE BEEN ANY TRAILERS OR IMAGES FROM CHAPTER TWO YET?
Principal photography for the movie kicked off on June 19, 2018, and is scheduled to wrap on October 20, 2018, so no, there isn’t a trailer yet. However, Warner Bros. has released a couple of images of the adult cast. In June the studio shared a picture of the adult Losers’ Club actors at a table read, which you can see on the film’s Twitter account.
Jessica Chastain has also shared a couple pictures illustrating Beverly Marsh’s transformation, the most striking being a picture where Sophia Lillis hands Chastain a creepy red balloon.
In July, at San Diego Comic-Con’s ScareDiego event, audience members got to see a very short bit of footage, though none of it appears to be online.
WHEN WILL IT: CHAPTER 2 PREMIERE?
It: Chapter 2 is currently slated for a Sept. 6, 2019 release date.