After the 2017 film adaptation of Stephen King’s It absolutely hammered at the box office, with sequel It: Chapter 2 seeing similar success, it seems the next stop for this long-running horror property is a prequel series on HBO Max. Based on Andy Mushchietti’s two-part film franchise, which collectively has grossed more than $1 billion at the global box office, the HBO Max It prequel series will reportedly be titled ‘Welcome to Derry’ and involve writer Shelley Meals (Shadow and Bone) as well as Muschietti who will serve as producer alongside his sister Barbara Muschietti.
The news was confirmed by Variety back in March, with rumours recently picking up via social media, revealing more details about the It prequel series and what it may entail as HBO Max attempts to recreate the ridiculous success of the films. How successful? Well, the first chapter is currently the third highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time with a global box office of US$700 million (~AU$1 billion).
Discussions around the series indicate that HBO Max wants to explore Pennywise the Clown in the 1960s, setting up an origin story for the child-killing antagonistic clown. This will be the first time Pennywise’s history has been explored on the screen, adapting parts of Stephen King’s classic horror novel which was published in 1986 and was first adapted into a successful 1990 miniseries with Tim Curry portraying Pennywise.
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Little is known about how many episodes will be featured in the It prequel series but Welcome to Derry should include enough scope to track Pennywise’s origin as well as the events leading up to the first chapter and his showdown with the Stranger Things-esque Losers Cub, which in the 2017 film was made up of Bill (Jaeden Martell), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Stanley (Wyatt Oeff), Mike (Chosen Jacobs) and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer).
It Chapter One became such a big deal for Hollywood that the 2019 sequel featured an all-star ensemble playing adult versions of the kids, with Jessica Chastain as Beverly, James McAvoy as Bill, a show-stealing Bill Hader as Richie, James Ransome as Eddie, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike, Jay Ryan as Ben and Andy Bean as Stanley.
Both modern film adaptations starred Bill Skarsgard as the murderous clown. And although the cast has not been confirmed for the HBO series, it’s unlikely Skarsgard will reprise his role for the series.
Warners Bros. Television is the studio behind the new It project, which makes sense seeing as WB produced the two modern film adaptations as well. It’s still unknown when the series will begin filming, but if production begins this year then we should be seeing the series debut on HBO Max sometime next year.