Warning: SPOILERS for IT Chapter Two are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you’re not going to want to see what we’re floating down here. So bookmark this piece and come back once you’ve returned from Derry.
Two years after Andy Muschietti’s IT reimagined the horrors of Pennywise the Dancing Clown and his torment of Derry’s Losers’ Club, it all ends with this weekend’s release of IT Chapter Two. Much like its predecessor, there were changes made to the narrative of the concluding chapter that distance the film’s story from that of Stephen King’s original novel.
In particular, there’s a lot about the final battle between The Losers of Derry and the entity that is known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, or “IT,” depending on how you look at things. No matter what name it goes by, the danger is still the same. However, the method of defeating the monster varies wildly from what was presented in the 1986 novel.
And it’s those differences, as well as a couple others, that we’ll be going over. But first, let’s sum up the ending of IT Chapter Two and what exactly happens in the film’s version of events.
What Happens At The End Of IT Chapter Two
After IT resurfaces in Derry, Maine, 27 years past its supposed defeat at the hands of The Losers’ Club, Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) summons each of his old friends to come home to Derry. All but one return, with Stanley Uris (John Bean) choosing to kill himself rather than face IT again.
Bringing everyone back together was the first step of a larger process, known as “The Ritual of Chud,” a process that requires two more steps to be successful. The second step is the bulk of the movie, with each Loser gathering a personal token of sacrifice, leading up to the third and final step of burning those tokens and chanting to put Pennywise into a containment vessel.
Mike’s instructions don’t turn out to be the simple fix he was hoping for, as the failure to capture Pennywise leads to the revelation that Hanlon lied about the ritual’s past success with the local Shokopiwah tribe. With his friends angry with him, Mike makes the important claim that the reason it failed previously was that the Shokopiwah tribe didn’t believe in the ritual enough to conquer Pennywise.
Each member of The Losers’ Club is forced to fight through illusions based on their individual traumas, as Pennywise is trying to confuse them/make them fearful enough to quit. All the while, the clown is parading around in his true, gigantic spider form.
Ultimately, the Losers weaken Pennywise physically, with Eddie Kaspbrak (John Ransone) hurling a piece of metal fence through IT, presumably finishing the job. Unfortunately, Eddie is impaled by one of IT’s spidery appendages and thrown to the side. This leaves the rest of the Losers to figure out their final strategy.
By bullying Pennywise, they are able to turn him into a smaller, decrepit version of himself. In this form, Mike is able to rip his heart out, which the Losers then gather around and destroy collectively. Before fading away, IT remarks how grown up the group of them look. Their task complete, the group now sets off on their own paths.
Ben (Jay Ryan) and Bev (Jessica Chastain) are now in love, while Bill (James McAvoy) goes home to write a brand new novel, which hopefully has an ending that doesn’t suck. Most poignant, though, are the endings for Mike and Richie (Bill Hader), as the former finally leaves Derry for the first time in 27 years, and the latter carves his initials with Eddie's, as a way of mourning an unrequited love.
The final twist of the tale comes when it’s revealed that Stan sent everyone letters before he committed his eventual suicide. He knew that every member of The Losers’ Club needed to be on hand to truly defeat IT, and in his own words, he “took himself off the board” in the name of everyone else’s successful bid.
In the end, Mike and Bill remark how this time, they remember their adventures in Derry; as well as each other. With the scars on their hands gone, their oath is now fulfilled. As far as they’re concerned, IT is truly dead once and for all. A bittersweet ending, for sure; but there’s a lot that was changed in the offing of this great success.
How IT Chapter Two’s Ending Is Different From The Book
Perhaps the greatest difference in the ending of It Chapter Two is the fact that The Ritual of Chud is radically changed in its cinematic form. For starters, it takes place within the mind of Pennywise himself, taking things to a different plain of existence. Instead, the movie centers its action in the same sewer-bound setting that The Losers’ Club traveled to in order to close out the events of 2017’s IT.
Not to mention, in Stephen King’s book, the final fight with Pennywise is way weirder. Like, Bill literally fighting his way through Pennywise’s body to attack his heart weird. Which leads to another major change to the ritual: the actual method of combat.
Novel-wise, The Ritual of Chud is more of a battle of wills, with specific ties to silver ingots being believed to be the magic weapon to kill Pennywise. Drawn from the lore of the classic movie monsters that The Losers Club of the 1950s were known to fear, their believe led silver to be the trick that defeats IT once and for all.
In IT Chapter Two, they basically drop the element of silver actually being used as a magical/physical weapon against Pennywise. Instead, we see the active Losers basically bully Pennywise into a weaker form that allows them to pluck his heart from out of his feeble chest. This time around, words win the war, leading to a finale that definitely differs right down to its bittersweet ending.
With the book taking out a huge section of Derry’s downtown area, after a huge storm symbolizes the battle and defeat of Pennywise, the town is supposedly in the final throes of its evil influence.
The fates of the Losers is slightly different in IT’s literary form, with Mike Hanlon actually being hospitalized, which prevented him from taking part in the final fight, and Richie’s crush on Eddie not being spelled out in the pages of the King narrative. Also, much like their first time leaving Derry, the group starts to forget their time in the town, as well as their fight with IT. Though their scars still disappear in this version as well.
One final change is the final scene of IT Chapter Two, which sees Mike driving out of town and Richie carving those initials, acting as the huge emotional beats that close out the film. This final change marks the deletion of a pretty substantial subplot that involves two characters we could have seen more of in this particular film: Bill’s wife, Audra, and Bev’s abusive husband, Tom.
As fans of the original book will tell you, Audra and Bill were pawns of Pennywise’s, as Tom was convinced to capture Audra and bring her to the sewers of Derry to lure The Losers into fighting Pennywise. While Tom dies after seeing IT’s true form, Audra merely goes into a state of shock; one that sees her and Bill riding his bike Silver at the very end of the book, which magically wakes her from this trauma.
There’s a lot that was swapped, switched and altered when it came to IT and IT Chapter Two’s two-part narrative, and there’s a chance that some of this might be altered yet again. With the great big supercut looking to be more and more of a possibility as the film’s box office results pour in, there’s material that director Andy Muschietti is looking to put back into the pot, as well as some more scenes he wants to film to finish off the project.
How those new moments and edits will change the film’s loyalty to the book is yet to be seen, but for now you can see IT Chapter Two’s current incarnation in theaters now.