HBO Max is going back to Derry with an It prequel series

The '60s-set series will explore "the origin story of Pennywise"

HBO Max is going back to Derry with an It prequel series
Pennywise from It Photo: Mark Kolbe

The structure of Stephen King’s It and Andy Muschietti’s recent two-part movie adaptation is already based on flashbacks and seeing the years-later repercussions of things that happened in the past, and now either because of that or despite that, HBO Max has decided to move forward with an It prequel series about the events leading up to It.

Specifically, as confirmed by Variety’s sources, the streaming service is developing a project that takes place in the ‘60s before the events of the first movie (this is the new movie universe, not the book or the old adaptation, if that matters) and will involve “the origin story of Pennywise The Clown.” That bit might be tantalizing for fans of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, since—on a grand, cosmic scale—the origin of Pennywise involves an extra-dimensional turtle god who sits at the edge of one of the six “beams” that hold the universe together by supporting the Dark Tower that sits at the center of all reality, but… we don’t really expect this It prequel series to get into that wackadoo Dark Tower stuff.

Tentatively titled Welcome To Derry, with that being the town that the original story takes place in, a ‘60s setting would mean this show would take place during the previous cycle of Pennywise violence before the Losers Club teamed up to take him on in the ‘80s. For those who don’t remember the story, Pennywise comes out of hibernation every 27 years to kill the children of Derry, and since the Losers Club doesn’t stop him until they’re adults, this story would be about a time when he wins. (Grim!)

Should Welcome To Derry actually get made, Andy Muschietti will direct the first episode. It would also join a handful of other potential HBO Max spin-offs of big-screen movies, like whatever’s happening with The Batman and Dune.

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