Stephen King Weighs In On HBO's It Prequel Series: 'It's An Interesting Possibility'

Stephen King movies and TV shows never really went away so much as they laid low for a while before returning with a vengeance, much like Pennywise from King's 1986 novel "It" takes a nap every 27 years before feasting on the kids of Derry, Maine again. In a case of life imitating art, human muppet Tim Curry terrorized a generation of kiddos as Pennywise in the 1990 "It" TV miniseries on ABC, only for Bill SkarsgÄrd to suit up as the not-so-friendly clown 27 years later for director Andy Muschietti's highly-lucrative "It" films (which released in 2017 and 2019).

Is there anything hungrier than an ancient clown monster? Well, maybe a streaming service on the prowl for more content. Yes, as came to light earlier this year, HBO Max is developing an "It" prequel series that has Andy Muschietti executive producing along with his producing partner and sister, Barbara Muschietti, and "It Chapter Two" producer Jason Fuchs. The trio developed the story for the show, with Fuchs and a writers' room now working on the script. It will reportedly explore the origins of Pennywise, which is familiar territory for Fuchs after he wrote director Joe Wright's 2015 Peter Pan origin story film "Pan."

Although a Peter Pan prequel proved perhaps poorly purposed (say that three times fast!), King thinks there's real potential in an "It" prequel. Speaking on Bloody Disgusting's Losers' Club podcast (via Screen Rant), the author said that it's out of his hands now:

"I think that when I die I will kind of disappear from the paperback racks. But that f****ng clown is going to live forever. Well, I don't have a relationship to Pennywise now. Because I have no intention of going back to It..."

Pennywise begins

Stephen King went on to affirm that Andy and Barbara Muschietti are working on the "It" prequel series for HBO Max, under the current working title "Welcome to Derry." The show will supposedly take place 27 years prior to Pennywise's first encounter with the Losers' Club as kids, putting it somewhere in the vicinity of 1961. This would also bring the series closer to the timeline of King's original novel, which was updated for the film adaptations. Said King:

"It's an interesting possibility to do that. They talked about a prequel. Which struck me as an okay idea. I'd love to see what Pennywise was up to 27 years before the '50s. Or, I guess it would be the '80s, because they updated the [setting]. So it would be, you know, before World War II or something. It'll be interesting to see what will happen with that."

Both King's "It" novel and the Muschiettis' films (especially the second one) paint a broad portrait of Pennywise's history in Derry, going back to the settling of Derry Township near the mid-18th century. Perhaps most pointedly, they both allude to The Black Spot, a Derry nightclub for Black soldiers that was burned down by racists in a hate crime years earlier. That alone could pave the way to an "It" prequel show that explores racism in America through the lens of genre, similar to HBO's "Watchmen" and "Lovecraft Country" series. Of course, if the show does go that route, it goes without saying that it should handle such a storyline as sensitively and thoughtfully as possible.

/Film will bring you more information on the "It" prequel series as it becomes available.