If you expect Stephen King to write more books featuring Pennywise the Clown (aka THIS), don’t hold your breath. King made it clear in a conversation that as far as his writing goes, he’s done playing in the computer universe. After the success of Warner Bros.’ in two parts THIS film adaptation, it has been announced that a prequel series titled Welcome to Derry is in development for HBO Max. Naturally, this announced series has plenty of horror fans wondering if and/or how much Stephen King will be involved in Welcome to Derry. Now King is clear: he is not involved at all.
Stephen King has clarified his involvement in Welcome to Derry, as well as any future THIS projects while chatting with Bloody Disgusting’s The Losers Club podcast:
Well, I don’t have a relationship with Pennywise now,” King said. “Because I have no intention of going back to IT…it’s in the hands of the people who do this…Andy and Barbara [Muschietti] are going to do ‘Welcome to Derry’, they talk about it anyway. And they have kind of a handshake, I think, with HBO Max.”
The premise of Welcome to Derby will look back on the city of Derry years before The Losers Club encountered the demonic entity and tell how Pennywise came to haunt the city for nearly three decades. While you might think only the man who created Pennywise could tell the beginning of his story, Stephen King is looking forward to it as a fan:
“It’s an interesting possibility to do it. They talked about a prequel. Which I thought was a good idea. I’d love to see what Pennywise was doing up until 27 before the 50s. Or, I guess it would be the ’80s, because they updated the [setting]. So that would be, you know, before World War II or something. It will be interesting to see what happens with that.”
It was fair for fans to assume that Stephen King might be involved in Welcome to Derby — or work on writing material that could be adapted into the TV series. After all, King wrote a modern sequel to one of his most iconic works: the 2013 horror novel. Doctor Sleepwhich was the sequel to the brilliant. Doctor Sleep was adapted into a film by Warner Bros. and released in 2019 right after the two THIS movies. It seemed like WB was interested in jumping into a cinematic “Kingverse” of content, and Welcome to Derry is just an extension of that goal, really.
However: it will be interesting to see how the THIS the prequel show turns out, without Stephen King being involved at all.