IT Movie Timeline Explained: A Complete History of Pennywise, the Losers & Derry’s Horrors

     September 6, 2019

Be aware this timeline covers the events of IT and IT Chapter Two and there are detailed SPOILERS for both films

IT is one of Stephen King‘s most well-known, best-loved novels. Published in 1986, the story follows a shapeshifting evil, who frequently takes on the visage of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, to terrorize and eat children every twenty-seven years.

The novel covers two timeframes: 1957-1958 and 1984-1985 and follows the children – affectionately known as the Losers – as they battle IT, then sees them return twenty-seven years later to fight IT as adults. IT was first filmed and aired in 1990 as a two-night television miniseries. Tim Curry starred in the titular evil clown role, and though he was scary enough to haunt the nightmares of audiences to this day, Pennywise only appeared in about eight minutes of the four-hour miniseries. 2017’s

IT, directed by Andy Muschietti, cranks up the terror – and the Pennywise appearances. Bill Skarsgard takes on the role in this updated version, as well as in the sequel, IT Chapter Two (hitting theaters this Friday, September 6th). To prepare you for IT Chapter Two, we have put together a timeline of all the goings-on in the Muschietti IT universe. It charts the evil of IT from its first appearance on earth, all the way through the present.

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Image via Warner Bros.

Before Human Civilization

  • IT crash-landed on Earth from outer space before humans existed, landing in the ground that would eventually become Derry, Maine.
  • At some point after humans evolved, but before written language was adopted, a tribal group encountered IT and tried to defeat it using the Ritual of Chüd. They failed.

1719

  • The Derry Township was signed by ninety-one people, officially creating the town of Derry. By that winter, all ninety-one people disappeared, with only a trail of bloody clothes hinting at their remains. This is likely the first recorded incident that can be traced to IT.

April 3, 1908

  • During the town’s annual Easter egg hunt, an explosion at the Derry Iron Works killed over one hundred people, most of them children.

1935

  • The Bradley Gang massacre occurred in Derry, where five were killed.
    • (This is based on the real-life story of the Brady Gang, a quartet of bank robbers who got their start in Indiana, then robbed and shot their way across Maryland and Connecticut before taking up residence in Bangor, Maine. Al Brady and Clarence Lee Shaffer Jr. were killed in an FBI gun battle in the streets of Bangor in 1937, and became part of the local legend.)

1962

  • The Black Spot, a club for black service members, was burned to the ground by a “racist cult,” according to Ben. In the book, it was the Maine Legion of White Decency.
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Image via New Line Cinema

A Few Years Before 1988

  • Mike Hanlon watches his parents burn to death in a fire.

October 1988

  • Though it is just before the next twenty-seven year IT cycle, this is our first glimpse of Pennywise in IT Chapter One. In the opening scene of the film, young Georgie Denbrough playing with a paper boat made for him by his brother Bill. He loses the boat down the sewer and faces Pennywise when he tries to get it back. Georgie’s death at the teeth of Pennywise is the catalyst for the story of IT.

May 25, 1989

  • Betty Ripsom goes missing. Her body is never found by the adults, but the kids find her in pieces at the Neibolt house.

June 1989 

  • The last day of school. Henry Bowers, Patrick Hockstetter and their gang of bullies target Bill Denbrough, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stanley Uris.
  • The new kid, Ben Hanscom, and Beverly Marsh meet on the school steps, where he’s hiding from the Bowers Gang. She signs his yearbook — the only signature he gets.
  • On his walk home from school, Ben is attacked by the Bowers Gang on the Kissing Bridge. Henry starts carving his name into Ben’s stomach, but Ben escapes to the Barrens, where he meets Bill, Richie, Eddie, and Stanley.
  • Bev meets them at the drugstore and offers a distraction so the boys can steal some medical supplies to fix up Ben.
  • They go for a swim in the quarry and Ben tells the rest of the Losers about Derry’s dark history.
  • Patrick Hockstetter is killed by Pennywise in the sewer.
  • One by one, the Losers start experiencing “hauntings” by It.
  • Bev is attacked by hair and blood in her bathroom, after being abused by her father.
  • Bill is threatened by a zombie version of Georgie in his basement.
  • Eddie is accosted by a leper outside the house on Niebolt Street.
  • Stan is attacked by a distorted painting in his father’s office after his Bar Mitzvah rehearsal.
  • Ben goes to the library, where he writes Beverly the “winter fire” postcard and is chased by headless victims of the Iron Works explosion.
  • Mike sees visions of his burning parents and a yellow-eyed clown.
  • A few days later, they meet Mike in the Barrens, where he is being violently assaulted by the Bowers Gang. He sees Pennywise chewing on a human arm.
  • The Losers fight back against the Bowers Gang with a rock war and send the bullies running, cementing their friendship in the process.
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Image via New Line Cinema

July 1989

  • A young boy named Edward Corcoran goes missing. Part of his hand is found chewed up by the standpipe.
  • As seen in IT Chapter Two, Ben makes the Losers an underground clubhouse, where they hangout. Stan gives them shower caps to keep spiders from falling on their heads.
  • The Losers meet in Bill’s garage to discuss a plan to defeat and Ben reveals that the house on Niebolt Street is the center of everything. During Ben’s slideshow, they are attacked by It in his Pennywise form for the first time when Pennywise comes to life inside the pictures and a giant version of his head pops out of the screen.
  • Bill races off to the Neibolt house to fight It and the Losers chase after him, leading to an unsuccessful confrontation with Pennywise.
  • After being separated, Eddie is attacked by the Leper, falling through the floor and breaking his arm.
  • Richie is lead into a room by the sound of Eddie’s voice, where he finds himself surrounded by his worst fear — clowns. He looks inside a casket and sees a doll version of his own dead body when Pennywise jumps up and lunges at him.
  • Bill pulls Richie out of the room and they see a corpse-like Eddie pop out of a mattress and spew black ooze. The run and encounter three doors labeled “Scary,” “Very Scary,” and “Not Scary at All.” They run towards “Not Scary at All” and see Betty Ripsom’s severed torso. Bill insists that it isn’t real, opens the door, and there’s nothing there.
  • Eddie is attacked by Pennywise, who contorts out of the refrigerator and gets ready to feed until Bill and Richie burst in. Pennywise attacks and Beverly skewers him in the head with a fire poker.
  • Pennywise retreats, but not before gouging Ben in the stomach (where Henry also cut him) and thoroughly terrifying the Losers, after which, the kids have a fight and “break up.”
  • At this point, IT Chapter One has a time jump to August. We learn what happened to the Losers during the gap in IT Chapter Two.
  • During their time apart, the Losers have new terrifying encounters.
  • Beverly’s 1989 memory is another confrontation with her abusive father. He tells her how she reminds her of his mother and how he can still smell her perfume. He sprays Beverly down with her mother’s perfume and sniffs her, holding her inappropriately close.
  • Richie is playing in an arcade with Henry Bowers’ cousin. When he runs out of money Richie asks him to stay and their hands touch, but the Bowers Gang shows up and mocks Richie’s sexuality. He leaves and goes to the park, where the giant Paul Bunyan statue comes to life and attacks him.
  • Ben is at school after class when Beverly sits down with him. When he tries to kiss her, her friendly demeanor quickly turns sour and she starts to mock him for his weight before her headlights on fire and she screams “January embers,” chasing him down the hall. He hides in his locker until Pennywise pops up behind him and he tumbles out into the hall, where a janitor breaks the illusion.
  • Richie attends Stanley’s Bar Mitzvah, where Stan makes a stand for himself and rebels against his father, shouting “I know I’m a loser no matter what and I always fucking will be.”
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Image via Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema

August 1989

  • Henry kills his abusive father. At least part of Henry’s state of mind can be blamed on Pennywise as the clown appears on a television show in the background chanting “kill them all, kill them all.”
  • Bev is kidnapped by Pennywise. The rest of the Losers reunite to rescue her, heading back to the house on Niebolt street and climbing down into the sewers.
  • Henry Bowers attacks Mike before he can make it down the well, but Mike gets the upper hand and sends the bully flying down the well.
  • The “final battle” takes place in the cistern, where they all confront their fears again together. Beverly gets caught in the deadlights and floats dead-eyed into the air, but Ben revives her with a “true love’s kiss. “Bill successfully fires Mike’s bolt-gun into Its head, despite the fact that it’s not loaded, proving the power of belief.
  • Together, the kids defeat IT… or at least they think they do.
  • Back in the sunny Barrens, the Losers make a pact to come back and fight Pennywise if It ever returns, sealing it with a blood oath.
  • Beverly says she had a vision of them as adults returning to the cistern once again.
  • The Losers go their separate ways, but Beverly and Bill share a kiss before parting.
  • Henry Bowers washes up in the Barrens and is subsequently arrested for the murder of his father and locked up in a mental asylum.
  • Mike stays in Derry while the rest go their separate ways. During their time away from Derry, they forget everything that happened there.
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Image via New Line Cinema, Warner Bros.

2016

    • Adrian Mellon and his boyfriend are assaulted in a hate crime after leaving the Canal Days Festival. After violently beating both men, they throw Adrian off the Kissing Bridge, where he falls into the water and is pulled out by… Pennywise, who takes care of murdering him on the other side. This incident is the start of IT’s next twenty-seven-year cycle.
      • (The Mellon murder is based on a real incident. In 1984, in Bangor, Maine, Charlie Howard left an LGBTQ potluck dinner. He and his friend were spotted by a group of bullies, who chased him, beat him, and threw him over the bridge into the river. Howard wasn’t found until the next morning. He had drowned to death in three feet of water)
  • Mike, the only Loser who remained in Derry, goes to the crime scene and sees “Come Home” scrawled all over the bridge in blood and recognizes this as a sign of Its return. He calls the other Losers, who have no memory of Derry or Mike or IT.
    • Bill is working as a successful screenwriter and married to an actress named Audra. He’s got a reputation for great stories with bad endings. They all agree to return.
    • Eddie is a risk analyst who married a woman just like his overbearing mother. He crashes his car when Mike calls
    • Richie is a successful standup comedian, still telling juvenile jokes full-time. He throws up when he gets Mike’s call.
    • Stan lives with his wife in a beautiful home, his occupation is never disclosed.
    • Bev is a fashion designer married to an abusive man, jealous and controlling like her father, but much more overtly violent. She survives a violent fight with him on her way out and leaves her wedding ring on the bannister.
  • Stan kills himself in his bathtub rather than return to Derry to face It again.
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Image via New Line, Warner Bros.

  • Henry Bowers sees a balloon float by the window in his mental hospital and follows it, meeting the corpse of Patrick Hockstetter, who gives him back his knife and helps him escape. Henry murders his way out of the asylum, steals a car, and drives back to Derry with the undead version of Patrick.
  • The other Losers return to Derry and meet for dinner at the Jade of the Orient. Over the course of the meal, their memories begin to return and It makes the first attack with monstrous creatures birthing from the fortune cookies.
  • When they’re leaving the restaurant, a young boy named Dean stops Richie and quotes a line from his standup. Later, the boy becomes a Georgie surrogate to Bill.
  • Terrified of dying, the Losers start to break up and get ready to leave town.
  • Beverly calls Stan’s wife and learns about his suicide — which she already knew about before she was told.
  • In another Georgie callback that parallels his death in the first film, six-year-old Victoria is lured beneath the bleachers by Pennywise, who eats her.
  • Beverly confesses to Ben that she’s seen all of them die — a side-effect of looking into the deadlights — and she knows what horrific fates wait for them if they try to leave Derry without defeating It.
  • Mike doses Bill with a hallucinogenic root so that Bill can experience visions of the Ritual of Chüd, as Mike did in his research. The Ritual of Chüd, as shown on a vase, allegedly reveals how to kill It. Bill see’s It crash-landing on Earth and the subsequent terror It reigned down on the native tribe.
  • Mike describes It as a virus that’s been growing and metastasizing for 27 years, he also explains that all things must live by the rules of the shape they inhabit, meaning that It is vulnerable to the weaknesses of the forms he’s inhabiting.
  • The Losers return to the clubhouse, where they remember the summer of 89 and find Stan’s shower cap.
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Image via New Line, Warner Bros.

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