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Max's 'It' Prequel Series 'Welcome to Derry': Everything to Know

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Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros.

Pennywise the Dancing Clown is officially making his way to the small screen.

The villain was originally introduced in Stephen King‘s 1986 novel It, which followed seven children who get terrorized by an evil entity in the form of a dancing clown. Throughout the book, readers were offered a glimpse into Pennywise’s multiple reigns of terror since the monster only appears every 27 years before disappearing again.

In 1990, ABC adapted the spooky story into a two-part miniseries, which featured Tim Curry as the demonic clown.

“I off quite a few people here and there, one way or another,” Curry recalled to Fangoria Magazine in 2021 about his transformation. “But Pennywise turns out not to be that physical, actually — it’s mostly mental cruelty. What’s fun about him is that a clown is traditionally a very cozy, comforting kind of cheery image, and Pennywise is none of these things. I think of him all the time as a smile gone bad — that’s my image for him.”

The source material was recreated again in It and It Chapter Two, with Bill Skarsgård in the role of Pennywise.

“Tim Curry’s performance was amazing. It was such a good interpretation of Stephen King’s character in the book,” Skarsgård exclusively told Us Weekly in 2017. “We were making a new film, a new adaptation of the book. Of course, I wanted to bring something different and unique to it. Otherwise, I don’t see the point in remaking something. I hope that people can consider both performances separately and appreciate them for what they are.”

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The actor admitted that he felt some self doubt about his performance. “I think the first step was there were people who had to be convinced that I could do the job. There was a long process of getting cast. Once I got the role, I was like, ‘I got the role!’ Then I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I got the role. How am I going to do this? How am I going to live up these expectations?’” he recalled. “Andy and Barbara, the director and producer, trusted in me, and I really didn’t want to let them down. It was a mixed feeling, but ultimately, of course, I loved the whole thing.”

After the film franchise came to an end, Max announced plans to tell Pennywise’s origin story. King was fully on board with It being used as inspiration for a prequel project, saying in a February 2023 press release, “I’m excited that the story of Derry, Maine’s most haunted city, is continuing, and I’m glad Andy Muschietti is going to be overseeing the frightening festivities, along with a brain trust including his talented sister, Barbara. Red balloons all around!”

Keep scrolling for everything to know about Welcome to Derry‘s debut on Max:

When Will ‘Welcome to Derry’ Start Streaming on Max?

What to Know About 'It' Prequel Series 'Welcome to Derry'- From Plot Lines to Pennywise Details
Youtube

The series was initially set to premiere in October 2024. However, HBO and Max CEO Casey Bloys later confirmed that Welcome to Derry will be released in 2025 due to delays following the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Who Stars in ‘Welcome to Derry’?

Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Taylour Paige, James Remar, Stephen Rider and Madeleine Stowe are set to star in the upcoming series.

What Story Can Fans Expect From ‘Welcome to Derry’?

“As teenagers, we took turns reading chapters of Stephen King’s It until the thick paperback fell to pieces,” the show’s creators said in a statement in February 2023. “It is an epic story that contains multitudes, far beyond what we could explore in our It movies. We can’t wait to share the depths of Steve’s novel, in all its heart, humor, humanity, and horror.”

Who Is Playing Pennywise?

What to Know About 'It' Prequel Series 'Welcome to Derry'- From Plot Lines to Pennywise Details
Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros.

After bringing the terrifying clown to life in the It films, Skarsgård confirmed he won’t be back for the prequel. “As of now, I’m not currently involved with it,” he said during an interview for YouTube series Jake’s Takes in March 2023. “If someone else gets to do it, my advice would be: Do it on your own. Make it your own. Have fun with it. What I found pleasurable about that character is how abstract he was.”

Will the Prequel Series Connect Back to the Film Franchise?

Welcome to Derry was developed by Andy, who directed both It and It Chapter Two. He is expected to direct multiple episodes of the series, which is set in the past. His sister (and It producer) Barbara is also involved in the project.

What Hints Have Fans Gotten About Pennywise’s Origin Story?

What to Know About 'It' Prequel Series 'Welcome to Derry'- From Plot Lines to Pennywise Details
Youtube

The first It film featured a scene where Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) explained that Derry started off as a beaver trapping camp. After all 91 people in camp signed the Derry Township charter, they disappeared during winter of that year and only a bloody trail of clothes leading to the old well house was left.

Has There Been a Glimpse at the Series?

What to Know About 'It' Prequel Series 'Welcome to Derry'- From Plot Lines to Pennywise Details
Youtube

In December 2023, Max released the first look at the streaming service’s upcoming programming. Clips from Welcome to Derry introduced viewers to the show’s main friend group and hinted at Pennywise’s return.

Source: US Magazine

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