Warning: SPOILERS for Stephen King’s IT and, thus, possibly IT: Chapter Two.
At the peak of Stephen King’s multi-medium renaissance, IT: Chapter Two is dodging spoilers brilliantly. Between unexpected deaths, surprising returns, and admittedly bizarre backstories that lean closer to science fiction than classic horror, next year’s second and closing chapter to director Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of King’s epic novel IT is prime spoiler territory for anyone who hasn’t read the novel or seen the original made-for-TV miniseries with Tim Curry.
From the surface, the plot of IT seems relatively cut and dry. Kids in a small New England town do battle against a child-eating creature that lives in the sewers. With Stephen King’s touch, however, the classic horror tropes set up a complicated, layered exploration into the transition from youth into adulthood, the loss of innocence, and the devastating effects of fear – whether brought on by a shapeshifting, inter-dimensional monster or more grounded experiences like abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress. In IT: Chapter Two, the Losers’ Club reunites 27 years after partially defeating the creature known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (or It) to face their literal demons once and for all. And, though they might have grown wiser over the years, their fight may well be even more dangerous the second time around, with unexpected, even fatal, consequences.
Related: IT: Post-Credits Tease Explained
As it so happens, though, the grownup Losers aren’t the only one’s facing challenges in the IT universe, as the filmmakers behind the scenes are faced with the greatest monster of all: spoilers. Given the massive, record-breaking success of the first movie, avoiding spoilers is an art all its own, and in the year leading up to IT: Chapter Two’s release, it’ll take careful online navigation to avoid discussions, photos, or references to major plot developments to the 32-year-old-book. Thankfully, its filmmakers are doing their best to keep certain details under the radar.
- This Page: The Spoilers IT: Chapter Two Is Hiding
- Page 2: Why This Marketing Approach Is Brilliant
IT Chapter Two Is Playing With Dead & Dying Characters
Despite the high body count in IT, the main characters make it out alive. Some might come close to a fatal end against Pennywise – like Stan Uris (played by Wyatt Oleff) having his face nearly chewed off and Beverly Marsh (played by Sophia Lillis) being captured by Pennywise itself – but they ultimately come out on top. As anyone who’s read the novel knows, however, the Losers’ lucky break doesn’t extend to their adult life when they face Pennywise for the second time. In fact, one of the earliest moments in IT depicts Adult Stan’s suicide. After Adult Mike Hanlon (played by Isaiah Mustafa in the sequel) summons the Losers back to Derry 27 years after their first encounter with the shapeshifter, Stan is so overwhelmed with fear that he cuts his own wrists in the bath, writes the name “IT” on the wall in his own blood, and dies. Adult Eddie Kaspbrak (played by James Ransone in the sequel) also dies in the novel. He’s killed during a valiant attempt to kill Pennywise, incidentally also dying from blood loss – though, in his case, the blood loss isn’t self-inflicted but stems from having his arm bitten off.
These are both big deaths and one of them comes shockingly early on. However, there is a sense that Stan’s death won’t be treated in the same was as Georgie’s was in the first film – used as the crux of the marketing. Andy Bean, who plays Adult Stan Uris in the sequel, has shown up in early behind-the-scenes footage as casually as any of his other co-stars, so it begs the question of whether or not IT: Chapter Two is either straying from the source material or simply toying with the audience’s expectations in order to dodge spoilers.
This curious approach even extends to the fate of Henry Bowers (played by Nicholas Hamilton in the first movie and Teach Grant in the sequel). The end of IT suggested that Henry had died, falling down the well at the house on Neibolt Street. This would have skewed drastically from the source material, given Henry’s role as an adult, but it also suggested that the filmmakers might have been consolidating some of the characters, possibly even handing Adult Henry’s narrative over to Beverly’s abusive husband Tom Rogan (played by Will Beinbrink). However, with Henry Bowers confirmed to return in the sequel, Warner Bros. has made speculation over the direction in which IT: Chapter Two will take that much more unpredictable to book readers.
Page 2 of 2: Why IT Chapter Two’s Marketing Approach Is Brilliant
Why IT Chapter Two’s Marketing Approach Is Brilliant
There is a curious blurring between book and adaptation, and whether Warner Bros. is doing this on purpose to confuse fans or not, it’s working. Even if they don’t end up changing major plot points or character fates, their approach to early marketing is certainly keeping things interesting. Whether they’re being deliberate or not is another point entirely.
So, what’s going on? What is Warner Bros. motivation for its lack of predictability? On one hand, they might be making changes – even changes as big as keeping certain characters alive who don’t make it out alive in the book. On the other hand, however, their lack of transparency might be a side-effect of spoiler-phobia. With social media – and just the internet, in general – avoiding spoilers is no easy feat; so, throwing audiences off might be IT: Chapter Two’s clever way of keeping novel plot points quiet and the sequel feeling fresh and unexpected (even if the final product is literally by-the-book). Truth be told, they wouldn’t be alone in this approach.
Avengers & Spoiler-Phobia
Like IT: Chapter Two, Marvel Studios will be facing a unique marketing challenge for Avengers 4. Audiences are aware that the characters who were killed from Thanos’ finger snap will undoubtedly make their triumphant return (multi-million dollar properties like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the entire Guardians of the Galaxy team aren’t just going to literally disappear), but their deaths are still meant to represent the devastating toll that Thanos left. So, with that being the case, it’s fair to assume that these characters won’t be showing up in any marketing material for Avengers 4. It’s possible that they might make appearances, sure, but unlikely. Their return is meant to mark the triumphantly impossible return of heroes in the face of adversity, and given that most of Avengers 4 will focus on the surviving Avengers, as well as other characters who were left out of Avengers: Infinity War, like Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and Wasp, Marvel will be tip-toeing around the dead Avengers with a surgeon’s precision.
For this reason, the MCU and IT: Chapter Two really aren’t so different. They include a band of hopeless heroes battling an omnipotent force, they both explore the far reaches of the universe, and they’re both being incredibly careful about the sort of information they reveal to the public in hopes that audiences won’t stumble upon any overt spoilers. The biggest difference is that IT 2 is doing all that when the source is right there on bookshelves ready to be uncovered.