Like every Marvel character ever, it turns out that terror clown Pennywise will return. If Andy Muschietti’s It movie floated your paper boat last year with its horrifying scares, the good news is that you’ve only seen half the gory fun of Stephen King’s masterpiece of a horror tome. While the Loser’s Club might have sent the shape-shifting fear chameleon back into the depths of the sewers a little earlier than usual, every 27 years the monster returns and Bill Skarsgard will be back as Pennywise for another bout of terror in 2019 with It: Chapter 2.
Despite the fact that it’s currently shooting and there’s almost a year to go until it’s out - maybe read the book again to pass the time? - there’s a lot of info out there about what’s to come. Those who have read the book will know that the original story is made up of constant flicking between the Losers as adults and children, so we’ve now got full confirmation of the star-studded adult cast to compliment the kids we love from the first movie. There’s also a stack of It: Chapter 2 plot details that will definitely intrigue King fans.
It’s time to grab your flashlight and in the words of Shakespeare - and, err, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast - screw your courage to the sticking place. We’re going back to Derry. Here’s everything you need to know about upcoming movie It: Chapter 2.
- It: Chapter 2 release date: September 6, 2019
- It: Chapter 2 director: Andy Muschietti
- It: Chapter 2 cast: Bill Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard
- It: Chapter 2 writer: Gary Dauberman
When is the It: Chapter 2 release date?
Yep, we’re waiting a while. The confirmed It: Chapter 2 release date is September 6, 2019. This might feel like a long time to wait but, incredibly, there was actually no confirmation that there was ever going to be a follow up until after the original movie’s release. For the first film, Andy Muschietti and his team were working on a script that had originally belonged to writer and director Cary Fukunaga, and adapted it in a way that meant we only saw the story of the kids. This benefitted us as viewers as we got to enjoy a complete standalone tale but also the filmmaking team as it meant that even if a sequel wasn’t greenlit, the first one could exist on its own bloodied feet without the, some would say necessary, sequel. Thankfully It did so well, breaking records and kickstarting production on a slew of other great horror movies in Hollywood, that a sequel was greenlit. So just be glad you’re getting it, eh?
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The It: Chapter 2 cast is the perfect mix of old and new
Given the fact that we had to wait for the movie to be greenlit, all eyes were on the decisions for the It: Chapter 2 cast. The Loser’s Club in the ‘80s (moved from the ‘50s to make things feel more current and thus a little Stranger Things) are a ridiculously charming bunch. Sophia Lillis as Beverley Marsh is a particular stand out, delivering a nuanced and sweet performance as a young girl trying to exist in a world where the monsters are both in the sewers and at home. When Jessica Chastain’s name came up for the role of the grown up Bev, fans could barely dare to dream, meaning that when she tweeted the below image of her and Lillis together in ‘the passing of the red balloon’, the horror world happily melted.
Passing of the red balloon...@ITMovieOfficial 📸 shaunwatson pic.twitter.com/9fAJRHr5a5July 18, 2018
That’s not to say that the rest of the casting decisions haven’t been excellent. The adult Bill Denborough will be played by Charles Xavier himself and, errr, Mr Tumnus, James McAvoy. Also, fittingly, Saturday Night Live and Barry star and writer Bill Hader is taking on the role of the trashmouth Richie Tozier who, in the book, becomes a famous radio comedian when he grows up. This feels somewhat dated so might be changed to a famous job a little more current.
Other members of the grown up Loser’s Club include James Ransome as Eddie Kaspbrak, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon, and Andy Bean as Stanley Uris. Finally, the casting of Van Helsing’s Teach Grant as a grown up Henry Bowers confirms that Bowers definitely doesn’t stay at the bottom of the Derry sewers for long but isn’t going to be happy with the kids who got him thrown down there. Oh, and if it’s in any doubt, Bill Skarsgard is back as Pennywise with that terrifying bottom lip. Just look at it… *shudder*
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When can we expect the It: Chapter 2 trailer?
Given that it’s still filming, there’s no chance of an It: Chapter 2 trailer until at least early to mid-2019. Just like the original though I’d expect there will definitely be a few It: Chapter 2 posters floating around with that signature balloon from early next year to get us excited/terrified about the return of Pennywise. As with all horror movies, it will be interesting to see what’s actually released when it comes to a trailer. There were a number of traditional trailers brought out for the original movie but there was also a delightful tease of the first few minutes of the movie released exclusively in cinemas and introduced by Stephen King himself. It would be refreshing to see as little as possible of the movie before we head in but I expect we’ll get a good chunk of both the adult and young Losers just so we know what terror is coming.
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There will be It: Chapter 2 book changes, but plenty we know and love
It’s never music to a reader’s ears but there will be some changes from Stephen King’s book for It: Chapter 2. While of course there has had to be some alterations for things to make sense to a 21st century audience, there also had to be some tweaks to make sure you don’t know what scares are coming - that headless library scene in the original springs to scarred mind. For It: Chapter 2, the plot remains mostly the same as the book and time is going to be spent between the adults and the kids. The children are still vital to bringing down Pennywise in the future and their memories are key. There is, however, one big change for one of the Losers.
In the book, Mike Hanlon, the only member of the group who stays behind in Derry as the others understandably drift away from the town they grew up in, becomes the town’s librarian and is writing a history of Derry. It’s this history that means the book can delve deeper into the horrific past of the town without necessarily having to have characters to take you there.
Hanlon in the book might have to live in horrorville, USA but he’s pretty together and the one that organises the reunion of the Losers to come back and fight the evil that lurks below. For It: Chapter 2, Hanlon is coping a little less well… “My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book,” Andy Muschietti told EW. “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.”
But don’t worry, the team isn’t changing too much. The crew are clearly passionate fans of the original text, understanding that this is as much a coming-of-age tale as it is about evil clowns that pull the arms off children. There’s a heart here amidst the arterial spray. There's one scene in particular that springs to mind from the book that is absolutely vital and confirmed for the movie.
The return of the Loser’s Club to Derry as adults and settling down to a meal at a Chinese restaurant together is true King gold. While it starts out pleasantly enough with them sizing each other up after 27 years apart, things start to go very wrong and some fortune cookies suddenly don’t just have banal platitudes inside… It’s a scene that screenwriter Gary Dauberman can’t forget either. “The Jade of the Orient is such a defining and iconic scene in the book,” he explained to SlashFilm. “That was something I remember as a thing I was writing towards. It was like, ‘Okay, coming up is Jade of the Orient. That’s going to be super cool.’ It was a nice signpost to write towards which I dug.”
Also, if you’ve delved into the book or noticed the repeated shelled creature suggestions in the first movie, you’ll know about the turtle. Stay with me here but, effectively, the turtle is the representation of the good in the world of It. If Pennywise and his other many shapes is the bad, the turtle is the light that the children must use to power their quest to send him packing. It’s something hinted at by the first movie with a Lego turtle and even the Losers finding one in the water in the swimming scene. This isn’t going to stop for the sequel.
"In the book, they somehow address the turtle and say 'the turtle couldn’t help us,'" Andy Muschietti told SyFy Wire last year. "But I think in the second part, the turtle will try to help them. 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. The keys to defeating to Pennywise are left in the past, and as adults, they don’t remember."
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Take a sneak peek at the movie with these It: Chapter 2 set photos
And of course, in this world of social media and directors having Instagram, there are already a few sneak peeks regarding what horror is on the way. The It: Chapter 2 set photos already officially revealed include the blood-covered Jessica Chastain just as she finishes her shooting on the project (above), and a lovely teasery shot of the Derry Town House sign (below), the hotel the adult Losers stay in when they come back. If you aren’t already following director Andy Muschietti and his sister Barbara on Instagram, get on that for some great behind the scenes glimpses.
Other set photos that have leaked include James McAvoy riding about on a bike with James Ransome on the back. That’s no ordinary bike though. Bill and a somewhat bloodied Eddie are riding Silver, Bill’s legendary bike from his youth that he’s finally grown into. It might look insignificant but this is great news for King fans. Hi ho, Silver awaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
James McAvoy spotted on the set of IT Chapter 2 ft James Ransone. All the credits and a HUGE thank to @angel_wang_ for these as always 💌 pic.twitter.com/8tFs03ncZNSeptember 11, 2018
And finally, if you’ve been missing Pennywise, here’s Bill Skarsgard off camera having a good chat with Bill Hader as Richie. The clown definitely looks like he nose what he’s talking about. Surely, like the movie itself, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry…
Bill on set of IT Chapter 2 pic.twitter.com/y1ivVZwgnBSeptember 19, 2018
It: Chapter 2 director says it will be “scarier and more intense”
If you didn’t think it could get much more horrifying than the original, well has It: Chapter 2 director Andy Muschietti got some news for you. Giving San Diego Comic Con 2018 attendees a sneaky look at some very early footage, Muschietti revealed earlier this year that he will be making things “scarier and more intense” for the sequel. So yeah, if that giant clown with mega teeth in the projector screen did it for you in the first movie, prepare to be very scared indeed. Plus, as you can see in the below tweet, Muschietti has suggested some very specific undergarments for your first viewing. Charmed.
A bunch of peeks at Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise looking exactly as he did before: creepy as hell! Andy Muschietti says the sequel will be “scarier and more intense” and that we should wear adult diapers to the theater. #ScareDiego @joblocomJuly 19, 2018
Andy Muschietti is relatively new to the horror game. Before being handed King’s book and tearing it neatly in cinematic half, Muschietti was responsible for the terrors of Mama back in 2013. This was based on his own short film from 2008 and starred Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (yes, Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) as the foster parents of two newly orphaned young girls. Muschietti co-wrote and directed Mama which is particularly unique in the way it deals with children in horror movies. While the majority of scary films are content to tick the creepy kids box and move on, Mama literally revolves around the relationship between two sisters and a spirit and isn’t afraid to head into some incredibly dark places. Muschietti isn’t reticent to throw in genuine peril for non adults, which is precisely what makes him so perfect for It.