WARNING: The following contains spoilers for It: Chapter Two, in theaters now.
Stephen King's It was one of the most iconic pop culture showpieces of the '80s. It brought to life the fictional town of Derry and painted it as a haunted spot where kids fought tooth-and-nail to find their place in the world.
Of course, this coming-of-age story turned into a full-blown horror tale of survival once Pennywise the killer clown descended on the town, as was the case every 27 years, and as expected, director Andy Muschietti packs the sequel, It: Chapter Two, with quite a few throwbacks to this setting in the real world.
RICHIE LOVES STREET FIGHTER
Arcade games are a big thing for Richie (Finn Wolfhard) in this franchise, as seen in the first movie, and in '89 he takes it to the extreme with an addiction to one of the most popular video games that year. It's none other than Street Fighter, which came out two years before but really caught fire around that time as it was just added to the Derry arcade.
Ironically, it's not just an obsession to Richie, it's something tied to self-realization as it's where he played against Henry Bowers' cousin who was visiting the town. In an emotional scene, they brushed hands with Richie offering to insert another token to play, only for Henry and the others to spot what was going on and abuse him for it. The bullied Richie realized then and there he was gay, as he really did have a crush on his fellow teenager.
EDDIE'S THUNDERCATS T-SHIRT
Throughout the film, Jack Dylan Grazer's Eddie rocks a vintage ThunderCats tee from the '80s, sporting Lion-O on the front. It's just the prince of Thundera alone, rocking his Sword of Omens and reminding us how much of a hero he was, not to mention why kids like Eddie loved him for his cool look and overall poise.
Ironically, a grown Eddie (James Ransone) tries to forget all these awkward days, only to fall back into his foul-mouthed mode of operation when he met Richie (Bill Hader) again in 2016. Eddie clearly isn't about that geek life anymore as he wants to ignore how he was bullied for it, only to get his own Sword of Omens in the end with an iron poker. He finally overcomes his fear of Pennywise, holding the poker like Lion-O did his own weapon, and chucks it at Pennywise in the finale, drawing first blood and inspiring everyone to see the clown could be killed.
RICHIE NEARLY DIES HARD
Eddie has to impale Pennywise because the demon catches Richie in its Deadlights, hypnotizing him and getting ready to feed on his soul. But just before that, though, Richie nails Pennywise with a rock to help his friends out, yelling "Yippie Ki-Yay!" just before Pennywise entrances him.
It's a callback to 1988's Die Hard starring Bruce Willis, paying homage to John McClane's iconic line when he has to kill Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber. Only in this case, Richie gets mesmerised before he has a chance to shoot out profanities. Sadly, after helping save Richie, Eddie'd be the one to pay the price as Pennywise returns the favor for the poker and impales him, causing him to bleed to death.
THE MOVIE POSTERS
Movie posters were spotted in the first film and Muschietti amps it up as he takes us back to Derry in '89. The kids are often found strolling nostalgically through the town and in their clubhouse in the woods, we see a poster stuck on the beams of The Lost Boys, the '87 movie from Joel Schumacher featuring teenage vampires hunting in California. It's Ben's way of moving past being a chubby outcast in the film, thinking the goth look is a bit cool and something he can use to impress Bev.
As for when we see the Losers wandering around town following their first victory over Pennywise at the end of the 2017 movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is seen advertised on the theater, with the kids (who usually love sneaking into adult films) ignoring it after their encounter with the clown-turned-giant-spider, probably deciding they'd had enough of monsters from other worlds.
It: Chapter Two stars Bill Skarsgård, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Teach Grant, Jess Weixler, Will Beinbrink, Xavier Dolan, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff and Nicholas Hamilton.