All of the hidden meanings in the new ‘It: Chapter 2’ trailer

The first glimpse of the sequel features multiple references to Stephen King's original horror novel

Warning: this article contains spoilers

It: Chapter Two is set to spook out cinemas on 6 September, and in the brand new trailer, there are plenty of hints about what to expect from the next instalment of the horror film.

Adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name, It tells the story of seven children in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. All of them are terrorised by a monstrous being who is able to take the shape of their worst nightmares. Most frequently, It takes the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and comes to Derry every 27 years to feast on the town’s children.

After working out they’re all being preyed on by the same shapeshifter, the kids start The Loser’s Club, and realise that the monster was responsible for murdering Bill Denbrough’s six-year old brother Georgie. Together, The Loser’s Club go to confront It.  

When we leave The Losers Club at the end of Chapter One, it’s uncertain if It has been defeated forever. During a vision, Beverly Marsh sees her friends together again as adults fighting Pennywise.  Bill, Beverly, Ben Hanscom, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Stan Uris, and Mike Hanlon all go their separate ways, but swear a blood oath to return to Derry to defeat It again.

What’s the creepy old woman all about?

The opening sequence of the trailer for It: Chapter Two plays more like a conventional film scene. Here, we meet The Loser’s Club member Bev as an adult, wearing a necklace that bears an uncanny resemblance to the keys she wore around her neck in the previous instalment. Twenty-seven years later she returns to Derry to honour her pact, and returns to her abusive father Alvin Marsh’s home. In the trailer, she has bruises covering her arms, which are most likely from her violent husband (who features in Stephen King’s It novel)

When Bev knocks it’s clearly labelled with the correct surname – Marsh – but when the front door opens, she’s greeted by an old lady called Mrs Kersch instead. The scene is filled with subtle links to the content of Stephen King’s original It novel: for starters, the birds adorning Mrs Kersch’s shirt, mantelpiece, and walls. In the book, Mike is chased by It in the form of a bird – it’s an ominous warning that all is not what it seems.

The links to the novel continue. The postcard Bev finds while Mrs Kersch is in the kitchen has the same poem that Ben wrote for her as a child scrawled across the back in the original story, and she also finds an old picture of It taking the form of circus ringmaster Mr Bob Gray. It’s another event from the novel which hasn’t yet been explored in the film; the Bob Gray persona is a reference to the serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

It: Chapter Two

Backed by an ominous record, and six flies eerily buzzing around the window – a reference to the number of adults in the Loser’s Club, perhaps? – Mrs Kersch shouts from the kitchen, and asks Bev this question: “What about you, are you still his little girl Beverly?” The quote is a reference to events in the novel and previous film; when It takes the form of Bev’s abusive father,  he asks her “are you still my little girl?”

Though we only see a brief flash of Mrs Kersch attacking Bev – It has been hiding in the form of an old woman – King’s novel gives a few more details. Bev has nightmares about the witch from Hansel and Gretel, and this is the form It assumes to terrorise her. There are several subtle nods to this in the trailer: Mrs Kersch is eager to feed her up with cookies, and complains about the heat.

Missing members of the Losers Club

Along with the six flies buzzing around the window, several shots of the Losers Club are missing members. The first time we see them all as adults, Eddie Kasbrak is missing, though he appears later on by a fish tank at the Chinese restaurant Oriental Jade. In another shot from the same restaurant, the gong is moving slightly behind the Loser’s Club, suggesting that it has just been hit to signal an important group meeting.

IT film

Stanley Uris is also missing from the Loser’s Club, for a specific reason which is explained by Stephen King’s book. Stop reading now if you’d rather not spoil it, but in the original novel, Stan can’t face the thought of returning to Derry to fight It again, and commits suicide.

We might well still see Stan in Chapter Two regardless – it looks like the sequel will feature numerous flashbacks that fill in the gaps Chapter One didn’t address. When the adult Losers Club see themselves as children in a window reflection, an ice-cream shop is visible behind them. Could it be the Derry Ice Cream Bar, where The Bowers Gang fight Ritchie in the novel? That plot might well feature in the film.

A huge reference to the novel’s opening passages

Much of the action in the It: Chapter Two trailer centres around a carnival, where we see a glimpse of a statue of Paul Bunion. In the book, this statue ends up playing a role in the narrative, and its presence in the trailer is another big hint about what might be explored in the sequel.

We also see a bridge surrounded by thousands of red balloons, which appears to nod back to another event that happens early on in the It book. In that passage we see minor character Adrian Mellon leave a carnival with his boyfriend, and on his way home, he’s attacked by three homophobic teens, and thrown from the bridge. Pennywise captures and kills him below, and the balloons in the trailer are a direct reference to this particular scene.

We’ll learn more about several victims from the novel

When The Loser’s Club return to Derry the town is littered with missing child posters blowing across the deserted town, and a tiny headline on a stand says “body found in barrens”. This is most likely a reference to Dennis Torrio, who Pennywise kills in this manner in the book.

The trailer closes with a young girl being lured by Pennywise, and It’s deadlights – the monster’s true form – are visible in shot. The girl is walking around underneath what looks like bleachers in a sports ground, suggesting that this is Dawn Roy from the novel.

It is stronger than ever

The trailer also shows that The Loser’s Club haven’t figured out how to defeat It just yet. Bill continues to see visions of his murdered brother Georgie in the storm drain, and Bev can be seen drowning in an entire room of blood. It’s far worse than the original blood hallucination from It: Chapter One…