One year ago when New Line Cinema arrived on Comic-Con Eve for their perfectly named “Scare Diego,” It Chapter Two had only been shooting for about a week. Hence the only footage was from the first scene director Andy Muschietti shot of the Losers reuniting as adults. “What’s up, Losers?” Bill Hader practically cackled in a sizzle reel that would barely qualify as amuse-bouche. This year though, it was a five-course meal for the Comic-Con faithful lucky enough to get in and watch three extended clips unveiled in all their glory… although some may lose their appetite after seeing what that Chinese restaurant was serving.
Indeed, Muschietti was on-hand along with all of the actors playing the adult Losers’ Club—Hader, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa, and Jay Ryan—to introduce the audience and host Conan O’Brien to the township of Derry. And even if you’ve seen the new trailer already, the level of depravity each clip ends on cannot be understated.
The first is the one Stephen King fans will be the most familiar with: it seems to be the complete Chinese restaurant sequence where all of the Losers are reunited by Mike (Mustafa), the only Loser who stayed in Derry. The scene is both faithful and slyly re-inventive of King’s material. It begins with adult Bill (McAvoy) being the first of the Losers to show up for Mike’s reserved dinner party room. It is nighttime when he enters, and Bill is only now remembering they called themselves the Losers’ Club when he starts talking to Mike. “A promise is a promise,” Bill says with a thick New England accent that also slightly echoes a guy named Dennis in McAvoy’s Split… but there’s something off. He clearly doesn’t remember what he promised. In fact, none of them do. Mike tells Bill that the more time they spend in Derry, the more they’ll remember what happened but none of them remember Pennywise or what It did to poor little Georgie.
Before that is revealed, however, the first warm reunion is outside of the restaurant between Beverly (Chastain) and Ben (Ryan). It takes Bev a moment to recognize who the gorgeous stranger is standing behind her (he’s clearly lost weight) and she goes in for a sweet hug as they both remember she used to call him “New Kid on the Block” back in ’89…. Then Hader’s Richie comes up behind them and ruins the moment by making his own. “Wow you two look amazing,” he deadpans. “What the fuck happened to me?”
It’s a good laugh line that is immediately smash-cut with Richie banging on that Chinese gong again and beginning this meeting of the Losers’ Club. The montage that follows is about characters lowering their barriers but also what horror comes with they let their hair down and examine the past. At first, it’s six strangers, but soon they’re old friends with a hazy shared camaraderie and a lot of food and drinks in front of them. Then comes dessert.
It’s around the time the fortune cookies show up that they realize Stanley isn’t coming, and at first Richie just shrugs and calls him a coward. But shortly afterward, Richie confesses that he had an anxiety attack when Mike called him and asked they return to Derry. He doesn’t know why. Eddie (Ransone) then admits he can top that: When Mike called him back to Derry, he had a car wreck. “It’s fear,” Mike explains to them. “Something happens to you after you leave this town. The farther away, the easier it all gets.” Bev is the first to remember It’s name. She’s the first to utter “Pennywise.”
Things take a darker turn after that which would give too much away, but let’s just say you’ll become a whole lot wearier aroudn fortune cookies.
The next scene is an extended version of the final scare from the new It Chapter Two trailer: McAvoy’s Bill follows a child into a fun house to protect him… it doesn’t go well. In the extended scene, we see that the funhouse is already infected with some kind of evil when a simple bouncy bag dressed like a clown swings into Bill like a sledgehammer. But it gets worse in a hall of mirrors. The audience sees Pennywise’s shape running through the endless reflected halls before Bill does. But Bill still sees It before the young child they’re both following. In fact, Bill runs to grab the boy like a real hero, except the kid is trapped on another side of glass. At first the lad understandably is creeped out by the adult man chasing him in a funhouse, but then he sees what Bill does behind him: Pennywise with an oversized tongue licking the glass.
Pennywise then continues to smash his face against the glass between him and his prey, literally flattening his head like it was dough. Bill impotently kicks his own glass barrier without making a dent. The scene ends just as Pennywise, in full monster mode, now breaks into the trapped cell with the little boy.
It’s a terrifying sequence that McAvoy reveals after the screening was not scripted. Muschietti had a sequence in which Pennywise gets a child in a funhouse that wasn’t working and then realized if he put Bill in the scene, it becomes about Bill’s guilt of not saving Georgie. We don’t think the kid’s going to make it then.
The third clip then at last brings us to the Neibolt House. In a sequence that is clearly taken from the third act, history repeats itself. All of the Losers corner Bill outside the door of the Evil House where young Eddie once saw what he thought was a leper back in ’89. Except now instead of Bill having to beg them to come with him, Bill is begging them to stay out of this. He says when they last went in that house “I only cared about finding Georgie.” He still feels guilt, first for letting Georgie get eaten and now also for dragging these other Losers into this blood pact.
However, Bev picks up the old metal arrow she once shoved into Pennywise’s skull and leads all of the Losers back into the fray. But inside the house, Bill’s guilt is made further explicit still when they confront something truly vile. Perhaps to say more is to give too much away, but I will say that it includes an homage to John Carpenter’s The Thing. In fact, Richie’s “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” reaction in the scene is a direct easter egg to the Carpenter flick. And Hader, like a good movie nerd, asked Muschietti if he could add in the line.
No, Richie, It’s not kidding you, and judging by all three clips there will be plenty to nerd out about (and cover your eyes over) when It Chapter Two closes the book on its story in September.