Stephen King's IT is about so much more than a clown. Sure, Pennywise gets an awful lot of attention, likely because we all have an inherent distrust and fear of clowns. But the heart of the book, and the soul of King's cherished story, is the bond of friendship formed by a gaggle of young castoffs who come together to form the Losers' Club -- social misfits who must overcome enormous fears to protect their town of Derry, Maine from a centuries-old threat.
This September, Andres Muschietti is prepared to bring Stephen King's seminal IT to life on the big screen, and the film's first trailer (watch it here) served as an introduction to the young actors who'll play the Losers' Club for a new generation. Muschietti wisely went with unknown actors, assuming (in a Stranger Things fashion) that IT might propel them to stardom. But for those of us who've read the book, the Losers' Club is populated with special characters who we can't wait to see on screen, even if they have to endure some horrors for our benefit. These kids are like family to me, and I'm anxious to see how they are portrayed in the upcoming film.
This guide will catch you up on each kid from Stephen King's IT. Naturally, it has light spoilers in it, so if you want to go into IT completely unscathed, hop out now. But let's start at the top:
William "Bill" Denbrough
Played By: Jaeden Lieberher
Known For: His leadership qualities; his debilitating stutter; the loss of his brother, Georgie, which starts the Losers' Club down a path that will have them investigating the monster terrifying their small town of Derry, Maine.
Fears: Bill is crippled by guilt, having made the paper boat (seen in the trailer) that sends Georgie out into the rain and puts him in Pennywise's path. Bill's on a vengeance mission, of sorts, as he hopes that killing the monster that killed his own little brother will repair the emotional damage that has occurred in his close-knit family, as his mom and dad are now cold and distant, destroyed by grief following Georgie's murder.
Why They Are Important To The Group: Bill is the group's natural leader. He keeps them together when the going gets tough, and Pennywise tries to splinter the Losers' Club. Because Bill understands that their power comes from unity, and without all of them, they don't stand a chance at defeating this powerful and evil force.
Beverly "Bev" Marsh
Played By: Sophia Lillis
Known For: The only girl in the group, Beverly is also the collective "first crush" of every boy in the Losers' Group; she's a whizz with a slingshot; she comes from the poorest part of town; her hold on Bill is so strong that he ends up going on to marry a woman who's basically a similar version of Bev.
Fears: Bev is a victim of abuse, first at the hands of her father and, later, at the hands of her despicable spouse, Tom Rogan.
Why They Are Important To The Group: Bev is largely considered the glue that connects the different members of the Losers' Club. The boys often going on expeditions just to be able to spend more time in Bev's presence. And yes, in the book, Beverly's sexual attraction to all of the boys comes into play during a pivotal moment in the confrontation with It, so it will be very interesting to see if the movie touches on that subject.
Benjamin "Ben" Hanscom
Played By: Jeremy Ray Taylor
Known For: His weight issues (his nickname in the book is "Haystack"); his intelligence and mechanical creativity; he's the primary target of town bully Henry Bowers, who we see in the trailer, briefly, following Pennywise's red balloon through the streets. Henry picks on all of the Losers, but he focuses on Ben because of the young boy's portly frame.
Fears: Though Ben is the stoic emotional rock of the group, he also is terrified of bullies, having been picked on relentlessly by Henry Bowers (who blames Ben for himself failing a class and having to attend summer school).
Why They Are Important To The Group: Because Ben's a quiet genius, he often invents tools and weapons that the Losers' Club uses when confronted by various threats. His biggest contribution comes when the kids face IT in the haunted house on Neibolt Street (we see this dilapidated abode in the trailer). But to reveal how and why would be too much, so wait for September...
Richard "Richie" Tozier
Played By: Finn Wolfhard
Known For: His sense of humor; his incessant, motor-mouthed chatter (his nickname is "Trashmouth"); his Coke-bottle glasses; his impersonations.
Fears: Richie doesn't have the same level of fears as the rest of the members of the Losers' Club. In fact, in Richie's mind, he's the "coolest" member of the group (though when Pennywise comes knocking, old "Trashmouth" cowers with the best of them until it's finally time to stand his ground and put this evil menace away).
Why They Are Important To The Group: Richie's bravado empowers the group. Though they tire of his non-stop jokes -- they use the phrase "Beep Beep" as a means of shutting Richie up, albeit temporarily -- the Losers' Club relies on Richie's humor to break the tension in terribly frightening situations.
Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak
Played By: Jack Dylan Grazer
Known For: His asthma, and the inhaler that one day saves his life; his overprotective mother; his insecurities, mainly because his mom has him believing he is suffering from numerous ailments (that are mainly in his head).
Fears: Unlike Richie, Eddie is afraid of practically everything. He was raised to be terrified of the world, by a mother who was wronged, and distrusts everything.
Why They Are Important To The Group: Eddie's uncertainty, in a way, keeps the Losers' Club in check. He is the one who routinely grounds Bill, a passionate leader who can be guilty of rushing ahead without thinking things through. Eddie is solely responsible for the formation of the Losers' Club, befriending a cowering Ben in The Barrens (their hangout spot) when Bill has to race to get Eddie's inhaler refilled. If Bill is the heart of the Losers' Club, Eddie might be its soul.
Michael "Mike" Hanlon
Played By: Chosen Jacobs
Known For: Being the outsider, in more ways than one; Mike's the lone African-American child in the Losers' Club; Mike goes to a different school than the other kids; Mike's family has a deep knowledge of the history of Derry, though, and that really helps the Losers when they decide to fight back against IT.
Fears: As one of the last members to join the Losers' Club, Mike doesn't get as much character development, so we're unclear on his primal fears. He, too, is picked on by Derry bully Henry Bowers. It's during a rock fight between the Losers and Henry's crew that Mike eventually joins what will be known as the "Lucky Seven."
Why They Are Important To The Group: Mike becomes the resident "historian," digging up past encounters with IT from the Derry archives and, in the process, helping the Losers to figure out how to defeat this evil creature. Mike will become a crucial figure in the IT sequel (if that gets made), as he is the only team member who agrees to stay in Derry, Maine and track the monster, swearing to alert the Losers if IT ever resurfaces.
Stanley "Stan" Uris
Played By: Wyatt Oleff
Known For: Bird watching; being logical; the deadlights; being uptight; being buttoned-down and stiff; potentially being mildly psychic, the blood oath he makes the Losers take to stay together, no matter what.
Fears: Like most of the Losers, Stan fears the adults around him, who have either ignored him, overlooked him, or misunderstood him to such an extent that he only finds comfort in the presence of the other Losers. But Stan's inherent skepticism often prevents him from fully committing to the battle against IT...
Why They Are Important To The Group: Stan contributes logic and reason to the team. He's neat, and precise, but his inner child grew up years ago. Stan is a member of the team, but he's an outsider in a group of outsiders. Stan would be the first to tell you he doesn't quite fit in anywhere, his logical and analytical mind helping to keep some distance between reality and his rational thought. His presence balances Richie's humor, but his importance is... unclear.