Following their 2017 horror smash, director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman now adapt the second half of Stephen King's weighty tome. This means a battle between the older Losers Club members and the resurgent Pennywise – here's what we learned from the trailer...
1. Mike's memories
The elusive nature of memory and the lingering stench of the past are popular themes throughout King's work. And for all its horrifying aspects, the real reason It resonated was for its coming of age qualities. We can all see ourselves in the tormented personas of the Losers, as they're forced to grapple with their personal demons made flesh in the form of the dreaded Pennywise.
As per the novel, the burden of the past is most keenly felt by the older Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), who has remained in the haunted town of Derry, Maine while his friends have up and left. He's now the town librarian and also the gatekeeper of all the memories shared by the Losers, as the act of moving away has caused the other members to let go of the trauma.
That's all about to change, however, as 27 years after their initial conflict, the Losers are summoned back to Derry for one final battle with Pennywise.
2. Losers reunited
In addition to the aforementioned Mustafa as Mike, we get James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh, Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom and James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak.
This is the critical scene where Mike reminds his old friends about the price they paid in the battle with Pennywise, and the oath they made to defeat him again should he ever come back.
If the chemistry between the adult players is half as good as that between the younger Losers actors (who appear in this movie in flashbacks), then we should be in for an emotionally powerful experience. And yes, there's one significant absence in this scene: Stanley Uris (Andy Bean), whose fate we couldn't possibly spoil here...
3. Pennywise at the funfair
This looks like a new and horrifying addition to King's story, as Bill attempts to rescue a child from Pennywise at the funfair. It's a suitably ghastly reunion with the brilliantly unsettling Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, whose physical mannerisms (including that infamous wonky eye) are all present and correct.
Of course, the ensuing hall of mirrors scene has metaphorical resonance as well. In pursuing the child, one can imagine Bill is pursuing the spectre of his deceased brother Georgie, whose death at the hands of Pennywise in the first movie set the plot in motion.
It goes without saying that McAvoy is one of the UK's finest actors, so fingers crossed the movie will give him plenty to work with.
4. Henry Bowers and Pennywise
This is a fleeting moment but an important one, as former town bully Henry Bowers (played as an adult by Teach Grant) is revealed to be alive and incarcerated in a mental institution.
It remains to be seen how he survived the events of the first movie after he was pushed down a well – this didn't happen in the book, but Chapter Two looks loyal to the general conceit of him becoming Pennywise's puppet. In the trailer, we see Henry driven crazy by the sight of balloons floating outside the window, a sign of how he's co-opted by the evil clown to return to Derry and torment the Losers.
5. The death of Adrian Mellon
As previously reported here on the blog, Chapter Two is set to reinstate one of the most disturbing and provocative scenes from Stephen King's book. We're referring to the death of gay man Adrian Mellon, whose beating by a homophobic gang and subsequent murder at the hands of Pennywise signifies the clown's return after a 27-year slumber.
The shot in the trailer showing balloons floating under a bridge presumably comes when Mellon, having been attacked and thrown into the canal, is then picked off by Pennywise. Chronologically speaking, it would make sense for this to be the opening scene of the movie, a hair-raising and frightening intro to an emboldened and enraged Pennywise who is now actively seeking revenge against the Losers.
6. "Carrie on steroids"
Not our words – the words of Jessica Chastain herself, who has gone on the record describing a gore-splattered scene in the movie (she's referring to Brian De Palma's bloody adaptation of King's first novel).
It's rumoured to contain the most blood ever used in a movie sequence, although we're yet to grasp the context. It appears to happen in a bathroom, which calls to mind the spectre of her abusive father whom she fought against in a bathroom in the first movie.
7. Georgie's legacy
There's that L word again – no mere fright fest, Chapter Two actively looks at the damaging impact of the past, and how one comes to terms with loss. (The ghoulish presence of the dilapidated Niebolt house and its refrigerator from the first movie are unpleasant reminders.) This is chiefly embodied in the form of Bill, whose yearning for his dead brother Georgie is at the heart of King's story.
The sight of the spectral Georgie, forever destined to remain a youngster in his yellow rain slicker as the fallible Bill advances further into middle age, resounds with both terror and poignancy.
8. The ritual of Chud
One of King's more controversial sequences was cut out of the first It movie, involving the younger Losers as they actively transition from childhood to adulthood in a manner deemed by many as explicit and tasteless.
Through their bond, they establish themselves as an emotional and psychological force, as well as a physical one. And the second instalment tips further into weird mysticism as the adult Losers engage in the Ritual of Chud, a psychic battle of wills that gets underway during their second attempt to defeat Pennywise.
Not glimpsed in the trailer: the frankly loopy mythology involving the creation of the universe, and the eternal conflict between gods. In the first movie, Pennywise's head opened up to reveal his life force known as the 'deadlights', and his great nemesis is the wise turtle Maturin. Will this feature in the movie?
9. Becoming Pennywise
At least, that's what we're assuming is happening here. It was reported that, in the first movie, a horrific deleted scene was cut out showing a creature in the early stages of transforming into Pennywise, consuming a mother and baby in the process.
Let's not forget the clown is but one persona adopted by the evil entity, so there has to have been a moment where said persona took hold. Is that what we're seeing here? In King's novel, the name of Bob Gray is another alias used by Pennywise, so perhaps all of those souls he has consumed over the centuries are rattling around in there somewhere.