Note: Contains spoilers for It Chapter Two.
As with the first movie, It Chapter Two has an extra level of enjoyment for fans of the book and Stephen King in general.
Director Andy Muschietti has filled his masterful horror sequel with Easter eggs and references to the wider King universe. “There’s a lot… Just take a look. In every corner there’s an Easter egg,” he teased to the Toronto Sun.
“I wasn’t in an Easter egg mode when I made the first one. I just wanted to make a movie. Now, I’m more relaxed. There might be too many.”
So we decided to pick out our favourites from It Chapter Two. (We’ve avoided anything that is just straight from the book – such as the Paul Bunyan statue – as that’s not really an Easter egg.)
1. Stephen King
We’ll start with an obvious one. A Stephen King cameo is not a new thing in adaptations of his work, and he continues the trend by popping up as an antiques store owner.
Bill spots his old bike Silver in the window and goes in to buy it. King decides to set an extortionate price as he knows Bill is a famous author, even though he’s not interested in Bill signing a copy of his latest novel. Awkward.
(When he rides away, Bill also says, “Hi ho Silver, away,” in case the name of his bike wasn’t a big enough Lone Ranger reference for you.)
2. Ending troubles
Talking of that scene, it has an extra level of meta humour, as King says of Bill’s book: “I didn’t like the ending.”
It’s a criticism that King has had to deal with throughout his career, not least regarding the final third of It. His antiques-store owner isn’t the only one to dislike the end of Bill’s books either, as several characters – including his partner – tell him as much during the movie.
King isn’t the only notable cameo in It Chapter Two. Keep an eye out for the customer in the pharmacy when Eddie revisits his past as it’s none other than director Andy Muschietti.
Before Bill has even made it to Derry, we see him on the film set of one of his book adaptations. The director is played by real-life director Peter Bogdanovich and his character is simply Peter the director, so it’s not clear if he’s just playing himself.
If you want an even more meta cameo, when we first meet grown-up Ben, he’s holding a meeting and one of the people there is played by Brandon Crane, who appeared in the 1990 mini-series as the young Ben.
4. Hi, Maturin
Perhaps wisely, Muschietti’s adaptation of IT has avoided using Maturin, a benevolent, cosmic, all-knowing turtle who exists in the Macroverse.
As in the first movie, we do have a turtle reference though: we see one in the classroom of the Losers’ old school when Ben is revisiting his past. Muschietti told Yahoo Movies that there was a bigger turtle scene but it got cut.
“But it’s not the turtle in space. It’s sort of a continuation of a scene that we’ve seen in Chapter One. Where the kids are swimming and one of them is like, ‘What is that?’ ‘It’s a turtle,'” he explained.
“And they all disappear. And you don’t know what happens there. But in the longer version of Chapter Two, that you’ll probably see, you’re going to revisit that scene. The outcome of that scene.”
5. “You’ve gotta be f**king kidding”
When the Losers go back to the dreaded house on Neibolt Street where Pennywise lives, Richie, Eddie and Bill are confronted with Stan’s decapitated head, which spouts legs and attacks them.
Seem familiar? That’s because it happened in The Thing when the head of Vance Norris escaped being burned and grew spider legs. And to make the connection stronger, Richie reacts exactly the same way as Palmer in The Thing: “You’ve gotta be f**king kidding.”
Spiders are also a big thing in IT as IT’s final form (like Pennywise in the movie) is a giant spider. In the book, IT even lays eggs that begin to hatch, only for Ben to destroy them, much like movie-Ben stabs the Stan-head-spider thing.
6. “Here’s Johnny!”
Along with the King cameo, one of the most obvious references in It Chapter Two comes during the Losers Club’s final battle with Pennywise.
Beverly finds herself back in the toilet cubicle from school with various people trying to break in, including her abusive husband and Losers Club foe Henry Bowers. It’s Henry who drops often-quoted line from the movie of King’s The Shining: “Here’s Johnny!”
7. “Maybe there are just friends…”
When Bill returns home after defeating Pennywise, we see he’s working on his latest book and if the words look familiar, that’s because they’re taken straight from IT.
The paragraph on the page is taken from Eddie’s thoughts: “Maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends – maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely.
“Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that’s what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.”
8. Branson Buddinger
Mike is the only Loser to stay in Derry and he’s spent the 27 years between the two movies researching all he can about the town and Pennywise.
We see him refer to a book throughout the sequel, but it’s only in one of the final shots that we realise it’s A History of Old Derry by Branson Buddinger, the same book that Mike uses in the original IT.
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It Chapter Two is in cinemas now.