HEAT VISION

Will 'It Chapter Two' End Like Stephen King's Novel?

The new trailer offers hints as to how the film will handle one of the most divisive aspects of the book.

“For 27 years I dreamt of you. I craved you. I’ve missed you,” Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) says in the latest and final trailer for It Chapter Two. While our wait hasn’t been nearly as long, we’ve missed the Losers Club just as much. It’s only been two years since Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It left audiences nervously glancing at sewer drains out of the corner of their vision, and cautiously unclogging their sinks. But the hype It (2017) built up as an event horror film the likes of which we hadn’t seen in decades, making the sequel one of Hollywood’s most anticipated upcoming releases. That first film made $700.4 million worldwide and became the biggest R-rated release, and the biggest horror release, of all time. 

It Chapter Two not only has the hook of concluding the story, but also promises to be more frightening than the first film, if you can believe it. The trailer opens with narration from Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), the only member of the Losers Club to stay in Derry, and to remember the havoc that Pennywise reaped 27 years ago. Much like King’s novel, which went back and forth between the Losers’ Club as kids and adults, the present day narrative sees Pennywise reemerge with the death of Adrian Mellon (Xavier Dolan). Screenwriter Gary Dauberman, who managed to successfully bring to life King’s complex narrative in the first film, looks to be doing the same here by adapting moments that the 1990 ABC miniseries scrapped. Even if the order of events has changed, the spirit of the book remains there. And while the latest trailer favors glimpses over extended scenes, fans of the novel can spot key elements like the Losers Club’s reunion at a Chinese restaurant (one of the scenes shown at last night’s ScareDiego panel), the mentally distrubed Henry Bowers (Teach Grant), and the bloody bathtub scene that marks the end for one club member. These are things we expect, musts, for a great adaptation of It. But what makes this film look scarier than the first are things we aren’t expecting.

The carnival, mentioned at the beginning of King’s novel with the death of Adrian Mellon appears to be a more prominent set piece in the movie, with Bill (James McAvoy) encountering Pennywise in a hall of mirrors. Just as the first film altered a number of the scenarios in which the Losers' Club encountered Pennywise, as well as the forms he takes, Chapter Two looks to employ the same tactics. This means that even King’s constant readers won’t know which way to look in the dark for upcoming scares. Actor Javier Botet, who appeared as the leper and the lady from the painting in the first film, is set to return in It Chapter Two in a yet undisclosed form. With Muschietti and Dauberman hyping up both the increase of scares and gore in the sequel, there’s no doubt that he’s going to provide plenty of new nightmare fuel in some of Pennywise’s alternate forms.

One of the biggest aspects of the films that has us guessing is how Chapter Two will handle It’s infamous ending. King’s cosmic ending for his novel has proven divisive over the years and while it arguably worked well in print, it’s a bit too internally driven for film. The 1990 miniseries tried to stay true to it with Pennywise emerging in his true form, as a giant crab-spider creature, but that can’t compare to the sheer power of Bill Skarsgard’s performance. There are glimpses of alien-esque caverns in the trailer which suggests that the Losers’ Club might be journeying further beneath Derry and into the home Pennywise has carved out for himself over the past 27 years. There’s also a number of visuals, like one of the Losers' Club members falling through a door at the end of a pit, and Mike screaming within what appears to be a yellow membrane that point to Chapter Two taking on a surrealism to some of its horror. It seems unlikely that the film will have the same finale as King’s novel, but I'm expecting something just as strange and moving, if not more alarming.  Ultimately, the new trailer for It Chapter Two provides viewers with just enough details and imagery to make us count down the days until tickets go on sale, while keeping fans in the dark so that scariest moments will sneak up on us in the theater.

It Chapter Two opens Sept. 6 from Warner Bros. and New Line.

  • Richard Newby
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