HBO Max to explore the origins of one of Stephen King's most iconic horrors

Pennywise in IT
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

HBO Max is developing a new prequel to Stephen King's iconic horror, It. 

According to Deadline, the show, which is titled Welcome To Derry, is in the early stages, with a writers' room just opened. 

It is one of Stephen King's most epic works and is set in the fictional town of Derry in Maine,  as are a number of King's other novels. The novel follows seven children who find themselves terrorized by an evil entity that exploits the fears of its victims to disguise itself while hunting its prey. 

Known only as "It", the entity primarily appears in the form of the terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown to attract its preferred prey of young children.

The novel, which is a whopping 1,138 pages, has been adapted twice. First by ABC in 1990 for a two-part TV mini-series, where Tim Curry gives a memorable performance as Pennywise, and second by Warner Brothers, who made two films from the novel in 2017 and 2019. 

The HBO Max series looks set to lead up to the events of the first novel and will no doubt shed some light on the origins of Pennywise. 

Andy Muschietti, director of both Warner Brothers' recent movies, It: Part One and It: Part Two, is to be an executive producer on the project, while Jason Fuchs, whose credits include Wonder Woman and Apple TV+'s new blockbuster Argylle, is to write the series. 

Is It ripe for a prequel?

Looking at the numbers, absolutely. Warner Brothers made over a billion dollars from the 2017 and 2019 movies, and, with so much of King's novel to pick through for details, you can see why it's an easy choice for HBO Max to take to series. 

Anything Stephen King is a home run, isn't it?

Not necessarily. The highs are very high, The Shining, Carrie, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, the list goes on and on, but King's work have had some ups and downs recently. 

Doctor Sleep, the long-awaited sequel to The Shining, failed to catch fire at the box office, while the lavish take on The Dark Tower got an absolute mauling. His recent HBO adaptation, The Survivor, was cancelled after one season too. 

It, however, was such a success and has such a strong brand, it seems unlikely that Welcome To Derry would struggle to find an audience...

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…