Warning: Spoilers ahead for IT Chapter Two.
IT Chapter Two once again pits the Losers' Club against Pennywise, and in order to beat him each member must collect a totem from their past. The totems were crucial in initiating the Ritual of Chüd, thought to be the only way to defeat IT. The ritual didn't work as planned, but the objects still played a key role in the arcs of the Losers throughout IT Chapter 2.
In the 27 years that Mike Hanlon spent preparing for Pennywise's return, he discovered the Ritual of Chüd from a local Native American tribe. After ingesting an ancient root, Mike saw Pennywise's origin and the ritual needed to stop the entity for good. To carry it out, Mike and the others would need to look back into their past.
The totems needed to complete the Ritual of Chüd were artifacts from the Losers' childhoods. These objects were tokens that had great meaning but were mostly forgotten after Bill, Beverly, Ben, Richie, Eddie, and Stan left Derry. In IT Chapter Two, Mike sends the fellow Losers on solo journeys to find their respective totems. Here's a breakdown of each one and their significance.
- Bill Denbrough - The trouble all started when young Georgie was killed by Pennywise at the sewer. Bill returned to the scene of the crime and was given his artifact, Georgie's paper boat that led him to It in the first place.
- Beverly Marsh - Bev returned to the childhood home that she lived in with her abusive father. She was met by Ms. Kersh (Pennywise in disguise) but managed to find hidden objects in her old bedroom, including the "winter fire" poem written on a postcard by Ben, which symbolized love and warmth when she was lonely and abused.
- Ben Hanscom - Ben carried around his totem since he left Derry. It was a loose page from his yearbook that was only signed by one person, Beverly, as a reminder of her kindness and also that he loved her. Ben still went on a solo mission to the school in order to rediscover his past.
- Richie Tozier - Via flashback, Richie was shown playing arcade games in the lobby of the local movie theater. His artifact was an actual arcade token, but it held more significance because the backstory hinted that Richie was gay, with the token linked to a memory about his sexuality.
- Eddie Kaspbrak - Eddie's soul-searching in Derry led him to the local pharmacy, a place that he frequently visited as a child. After a run-in with the creepy store owner, he remembered his terrifying past encounter with IT. His totem turned out to be his trusty inhaler.
- Stan Uris - Stan committed suicide rather than return to Derry. When the Losers visited the Clubhouse, they found Stan's box full of shower caps used by the kids so spiders wouldn't get in their hair. Eddie brought one of the shower caps to serve as Stan's totem.
- Mike Hanlon - Mike wasn't shown retrieving his artifact but when they threw the totems into the fire, Mike presented a large rock. It happened to be the rock that Beverly threw at Henry Bowers when the Losers' Club first came to Mike's aid during the rock fight.
After gathering their totems, the surviving Losers traveled to the bowels of Derry to perform the Ritual of Chüd, eventually trapping IT's deadlights into a leather receptacle. IT was able to return, but that didn't mean the totem-gathering missions were pointless. While the Losers' Club searched for their totems, they each rediscovered memories they lost after leaving town.
Even though the Ritual of Chüd didn't completely work at the end of IT Chapter Two, the totems remained relevant, serving as pieces of remembrance and giving the Losers strength. For the Losers that were able to walk away after the final showdown with Pennywise, the past will never be forgotten. Derry was cleansed from the curse but the Losers' Club would have to carry around that history forever. Without any physical objects left from their fight against IT, the memories are all the Losers have left.