The highly anticipated IT Chapter 2 is going beyond the Stephen King book. The sequel comes two years after the 2017 adaptation of the novel that starred Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, a character who taunted a group of kids known as the "Losers Club." The sequel takes place about 30 years later, and the kids are all grown up, and still dealing with Pennywise's cruelty.
One of the biggest variations in the film from the book edition is (SPOILER) a diversion in character Richie Tozier's sexuality. Played by Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) in the first film, Richie is played by Bill Hader in the sequel, and his character has gone through a lot in the years since. Is Richie gay in IT Chapter 2? Details on the secret the character has throughout the film, and how Pennywise tries to use it against him.
Is Richie gay in IT Chapter 2? SPOILERS ahead.
The movie is based off the second half of Stephen King's nearly 1,000 page novel, but there were some differences between the book and the final cut for the film script. One of the changes made is that Richie harbors a huge secret about his feelings for one of the other characters.
In IT Chapter 2, Pennywise has control over Richie because he knows that he is in love with Eddie Kaspbrak (who is played by James Ransone in the sequel). There are scenes of Richie being bullied for showing the slightest bit of interest in a boy at an arcade, and he's even seen carving his and Eddie's initials into a tree in flashbacks.
As a successful stand-up comedian, Richie is terrified at the prospect of someone revealing his hidden sexuality. The movie slowly reveals hints of him being gay, and he even mentions several unsuccessful relationships with women in the movie. He has left the town of Derry behind, and his feelings for Eddie are reignited when the Loser Gang reunites.
When something happens to Eddie in the movie (we'll spare you that huge spoiler), Richie is devastated, and his love becomes more public than he had ever anticipated. The fear of being outed is what drives him throughout the film, but it's also what he comes to grips with eventually.
Was Richie's sexuality in the book at all?
The idea of Richie being gay is not completely absent from the book version of IT. Stephen King did hint at Richie's sexuality subtly throughout the text, but it was screenwriter Gary Dauberman's decision to make it more of a storyline in the movie. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gary talked about how he decided to make Richie's secret about his sexuality.
"It just felt like a natural part of his character," Gary said of the storyline. "But, I love that love story. I think that is a special part of the movie and a special part of the character. Because it felt like it was part of his character."
If you're wondering if Stephen is okay with the changes made from his book to the script, Gary claims that he is. "He has said very nice things," Gary said.
See Richie's character evolution in IT Chapter 2, which is in theaters now.