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IT: Chapter 2 – trailer breakdown and 7 key Stephen King moments


Were you left terrified by the IT: Chapter 2 trailer? Well, once you've come to terms with the return of Pennywise, you may be interested to know about the key reveals studded throughout. Here's our spoiler-filled deep dive into the terrifying world of Stephen King...

1. Mrs Kersh

Director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman return for IT: Chapter 2. The trailer throws us in the deep end by introducing us to Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as the older Beverly Marsh. We begin in media res as Bev returns to the house she once shared in Derry, Maine with her monstrous and abusive father. It's now owned by sweet old lady Mrs Kersh – or is it?

Those who've read the book will know that Mrs Kersh is Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) in disguise, and he's cast a malevolent spell over Bev to make her think Kersh and the house are unthreatening. (In the book, it's clear Pennywise confuses Bev with the surnames 'Marsh' and 'Kersh' on the front door.) And that's not tea Bev is drinking...

This scene featured in the 1990 TV miniseries starring Tim Curry, but the new interpretation looks a lot more frightening. In the novel, Bev twigged what was going on when she was still sat down, but Muschietti plays around with our expectations. For one, the shot of Mrs Kersh twitching and spasming behind Bev is a sublime example of understated terror. And her transformation back into Pennywise, although largely unseen, looks to deploy some horrifying creature effects.

Mrs Kersh in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

2. Bev's dad

From the trailer, some have interpreted that Pennywise is Kersh's father, reinforced by the photo on the wall of a man standing in the midst of the 'Pennywise Circus'. (Actor Bill Skarsgard's face has been mapped onto the mystery individual, creating an additional sense of unease.)

Bob Gray in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

Unless the film-makers have drastically altered King's mythology, this is not the case. Instead, the disguised entity is mocking Bev with the phrase "daddy's little girl", referring to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

It's an effective way for Muschietti and Dauberman to re-establish the themes of parental conflict, guilt and dread that coursed throughout the first IT movie and indeed the novel as a whole. This is where the power of the story properly resides – Pennywise and his associated forms feed off the neglect, ignorance and all-too-human evil that have been allowed to fester in the town of Derry, Maine.

Jessica Chastain as Bev Marsh in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

3. Missing Losers

Unlike the novel, which interweaves past and present throughout, both big screen IT movies play out on separate, self-contained tracks. The first introduced us to the Losers Club in 1989 (a change from the novel's 1957 setting), and acted as the children's story. The second advances forward 27 years to 2016, and introduces us to their equally haunted adult incarnations, who are lured back to Derry for one final battle with Pennywise.

Besides Jessica Chastain, the remaining adult losers are as follows: James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon, James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak and Andy Bean as Stan Uris.

Adult Losers Club in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

At the same time, IT: Chapter 2 incorporates flashback sequences to the Losers as kids. This allows for the return of the hugely popular young actors who drew so much acclaim in the first instalment. They are as follows: Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Sophia Lillis as Bev, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie and Wyatt Oleff as Stan.

Avoiding spoilers, one fleeting shot in the trailer shows the adult Losers gazing into a window, with their younger selves staring back at them (in a figurative sense, obviously). However, one can't help but notice that two of the adult members aren't present... What's the story? Well, those who've read the book will know that the final battle against Pennywise claims its fair share of victims, but not necessarily in the way you'd expect...

Losers Club members in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

4. Bath of blood

A few months ago, Jessica Chastain promised a scene in IT: Chapter two that contained "the most blood ever seen in a movie". We get a glimpse of this gory moment in the trailer as she's engulfed by a torrent of the red stuff – what could possibly be happening?

Jessica Chastain teases bloodiest scene ever in IT: Chapter 2

5. Pennywise's backstory

Actor Bill Skarsgard is promising a far more malevolent Pennywise in IT: Chapter 2, no doubt because he's seeking revenge against the Losers who defeated him in the first movie. But it remains to be seen how much Muschietti and Dauberman will delve into the evil monster's backstory.

When the first film was released, Skarsgard revealed there was a deleted scene too horrifying for inclusion. The description of said scene involves a prototype Pennywise in the 17th century who devours a mother and her baby – this may well refer to the moment when IT took human form for the first time.

This is something only fleetingly referred to in King's novel – for example, we find out that one of Pennywise's alter-egos is the all-too-human-sounding Bob Gray, who may well be the individual Bev spots in the photo in Mrs Kersh's apartment. And yet there's a brief shot in the trailer where someone, likely Skarsgard, is grasping and clawing at white make-up on their face – will the movie break from the novel's mythology and actually give us an origin story?

The first movie, as per the novel, alluded to Pennywise's true form, known as the 'deadlights'. (This comes in the scene where his head opens up in front of a horrified Bev.) The entity known as 'IT' in fact hails from the Macroverse, pre-dating our known universe, in which IT was pitted against his sworn enemy, the benevolent turtle known as Maturin (who plays a key role in King's Dark Tower book series). Whether any of this makes it into IT: Chapter 2 remains to be seen.

Pennywise origin story in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

6. The death of Adrian Mellon

There's a blink-and-you'll miss it shot in the trailer involving balloons floating beneath a bridge. This is very likely drawn from the death of Adrian Mellon, a gay man who is killed in Derry immediately prior to the adult Losers returning to the town. (Logically, that could mean we'll get this key moment at the very start of IT: Chapter 2, as the catalyst for the start of the adult Losers storyline.)

In the novel, Adrian is convinced by his partner to leave the homophobic, hateful town of Derry behind and start a new life elsewhere. Tragically, during the annual carnival Mellon is savagely beaten and thrown off a bridge into the canal, where Pennywise attacks and kills him. Although those involved are witness to Pennywise's attack, they stay quiet at the subsequent trial, another example of how the clown thrives on human weakness, spite and ignorance.

The hideousness of the attack also indicates that Pennywise is sending out a clear message to the Losers – the incident occurs 27 years to the day since his defeat at their hands, and he's re-awakened from his slumber to step up his game. It's one of the most shocking and powerful scenes in the book, and should make for an attention-grabbing inclusion in the movie. French actor-director Xavier Dolan has been cast in the role of Adrian Mellon, so the only thing awaiting confirmation is the placement of the scene in the movie.

Another important scene, only alluded to in the first movie, involves the burning down of the Black Spot, a nightclub favoured by black soldiers. King's note of racial tension is another example of human frailty upon which Pennywise feeds. In the first IT movie, it was revealed the Black Spot was burned down by a cult in 1962 – was Pennywise behind this, and will the story be expanded upon in Chapter 2?

Death of Adrian Mellon in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

7. Mike in the sewers

Mike was the last of the kids to join the Losers and became a valuable ally in the battle against Pennywise. In the novel, when the kids grow up and go their various ways, Mike is the only one to remain Derry, acting as the town's librarian. He also becomes an amateur historian, building an encyclopaedia of knowledge about Pennywise's history. (Interestingly in the first IT movie, it was young Ben who started to piece together the backstory.)

In the trailer, we see the older Mike down in the sewers with the rest of the adult Losers, which deviates from the book. We won't give away the particulars, but it seems Muschietti and Dauberman are keen for the older incarnation of the character to play an active role as things go down (literally and metaphorically). 

Mike Hanlon in the sewers in IT: Chapter 2 trailer

IT: Chapter 2 is released on 6th September. What did we miss in the trailer? Let us know @Cineworld.