Stephen King's It crawled back onto the scene in 2017, when the first of two movie remakes came out. The second film, based like the first on King's 1,100-page 1986 bestseller, is not a sequel -- it's a continuation of the plot, taking place 27 years after the first film. Members of the Losers' Club from the first film have been recast with adult actors, though the young actors will also appear in flashback. A focuses on a grown-up Bev Marsh, played by Jessica Chastain, as she learned that sometimes, you can't (and shouldn't) go home again.
In early June, director Andy Muschietti confirmed that the movie would head to San Diego Comic-Con ahead of the fall release. No word on what to expect, but some people on staff are already having nightmares about red balloons.
Author Stephen King himself apparently loves the film -- before the trailer came out, he raved about it in a tweet, saying, "Looking forward to IT CHAPTER 2? You should be. I've seen it, and it's terrific." Last summer, Chastain, who took on the role of Bev from younger actress Sophia Lillis, tweeted a photo showing Lillis passing the story's infamous red balloon to her older counterpart.
"If we're telling the story of adults, we are going to have flashbacks that take us back to the '80s and inform the story in the present day," director Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly (Muschetti also directed 2017's It).
Release date, production info
The movie was filmed in the Toronto area in the late summer and early fall of 2018. Canadian film buffs took photos of the action and shared them online. In August, the Northumberland News shared a shot of Pennywise perched on the shoulder of a Paul Bunyan statue in Memorial Park in Port Hope, Ontario. Paul and Pennywise make for a disturbing duo to be sure.
Cast: Who's who?
- Bill Skarsgård as It/Pennywise
- James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough
- Jaeden Lieberher as young Bill
- Jessica Chastain as adult Beverly Marsh
- Sophia Lillis as young Beverly
- Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom
- Jeremy Ray Taylor as young Ben
- Bill Hader as Richie Tozier
- Finn Wolfhard as young Richie
- Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon
- Chosen Jacobs as young Mike
- James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak
- Jack Grazer as young Eddie
- Andy Bean as Stan Uris
- Wyatt Oleff as young Stan
- Teach Grant as Henry Bowers
- Jackson Robert Scott as Georgie Denbrough
- Jess Weixler as Audra Phillips
- Will Beinbrink as Tom Rogan
- Xavier Dolan as Adrian Mellon
- Taylor Frey as Don Hagarty
Check out a photo of the adult cast gathering in July 2018 as filming was about to start.
Plot news, rumors and theories
Readers know what happens: The plot is no secret to anyone who's read King's terrifying novel. The Losers' Club of misfit kids who fought killer clown Pennywise learn that he's back 27 years later, and they're the only ones who can attempt to stop him. The King novel wove the two age groups together, but the movies separate out the kids fighting Pennywise in the first film from their adult versions doing the same (with some likely flashbacks). And there were some changes to King's novel in the first film, so there may yet be some surprises, even for loyal King readers.
Two grim scenes: Screenwriter Gary Dauberman told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2019 that two disturbing scenes from King's book would be included in the film. One involves a hate crime against a gay character whose attackers are being influenced by Pennywise, and the other involves a sad chapter in adult Bev's personal life.
More about Pennywise: Back in 2017, Bill Skarsgård told Metro UK that this second film will explore his creepy character even more. "It's a different story," he said. "But I'm excited to delve in deeper to the character as there's more exploration for who Pennywise is." Specifically, the actor has discussed a disturbing scene showing a less-clown-like Pennywise in the 1600s that was shot for the first film and not used. Some are wondering if that will be included in Chapter Two.
Buckets of blood: Chastain appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in February 2019 and warned that there's a scene in the film that might contain the largest amount of (fake) blood ever spilled in a horror-movie scene. "The next day, I was like, pulling blood out of my eyeballs," she said.
Don't be like Mike: Director Muschietti said in 2017 that the character of Mike, the one Losers' Club member who stays in Derry, will be different from the novel. "My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book," he told Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Scenes we might see: After the first movie was filmed, producer Barbara Muschietti told journalists that some scenes didn't fit in the budget for that film, but might make Chapter 2. One scene in particular, a massacre at the Black Spot nightclub, may even open the new film. "That sequence with the Black Spot, we think it's gonna be a great opening for the next film," Muschietti said at the time. Whether or not that makes it to the opening scene, we will have to wait and see.
Tongue-twister: Screenwriter Daubman told Cinema Blend in September 2018 that a bizarre element of King's book, called The Ritual of Chüd, will play a role in the film. Cinema Blend explains it like this: "The Ritual of Chüd is basically a psychic battle of wills, but is translated by the author with some very odd imagery. Specifically, the idea is that Pennywise and a member of the Losers Club each extend their tongues, overlap them, bite down, and then exchange jokes until one party laughs."
Don't get a huge Coke: No confirmation for this, but one Twitter user claims that the film is "almost three hours long." Hey, after, we're all used to , right?
Turtle time: In the book, the ancient turtle Maturin is seen as the creator of the universe Though director Andy Muschietti was light on turtle references in the first movie, he told SyFy Wire to expect more in the second film. "I think in the second part, the turtle will try to help them," he said. "In the second movie, the turtle left a few clues to their childhood that they don't remember. They have to retrieve those memories from the summer of 1989, and that's how we jump back to 1989."
Heartbreaker: Screenwriter Daubman says to bring your tissues. "The ending I think will satisfy the audience and maybe break their hearts a little bit," he told Slash Film in September 2018.
This story was first published in August 2018 and is regularly updated.