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Welcome To Derry Cast, Showrunners, Director, Possible Plotlines And More Details

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People have gotten bad vibes from clowns for a long time, but it was Stephen King who took coulrophobia to the next level. In 1986, the King of Horror introduced readers to the terrifying Pennywise with one of his all-time novels: "It." The massive tome focused on a group of young outsiders — the Losers Club — who are forced to band together to face a very old and very hungry force of evil.

Creepy, controversial, and full of clown-related horrors, "It" would inspire two separate adaptations — the 1990 TV movie starring Tim Curry and Andy Muschietti's two-part film series starring Bill Skarsgård. Of course, everybody knows that it's incredibly hard to kill ol' Pennywise. The Dancing Clown always finds a way to come back, and now, the shapeshifting creature is returning to the small screen with the prequel series "Welcome to Derry."

So what scares does the Max show have in store? Will Bill Skarsgård be back to slap on the white makeup? And when exactly will the story take place? Well, thrust your first against the posts and stay away from those sewers because here's everything you need to know about the "It" prequel series "Welcome to Derry."

When will Welcome to Derry be released?

We first learned we'd be heading back to the scariest town in all of fiction — Derry, Maine — in March 2022. And if you want to visit that freaky little city, you'll be able to watch all the horrors play out on Max, formerly known as HBO Max. But when exactly will the prequel series hit the streamer?

Well, Warner Bros. was originally hoping to release the show for Halloween 2024. In fact, filming for the series began in May 2023, which we learned courtesy of an Instagram post from director Andy Muschietti. The photo showed the front door of a police station, complete with writing that reads "Clint Bowers, Chief of Police."

Fans of "It" know that the Bowers family is an important yet dark presence in Derry. Henry Bowers is the vicious bully who nearly kills the Losers Club. His father is the abusive Butch Bowers, who winds up murdered at Henry's hands. How this new member of the Bowers family will play into the story, we aren't sure ... but it's a safe bet to say he won't be a good guy.

However, let's get back to our original topic. When will we see "Welcome to Derry" on Max? Well, HBO and Max chairman/CEO Casey Bloys revealed in a November 2023 press event that the horror series has been delayed due to the now-concluded writers' strike and actors' strike, saying it's likely we'll return to Derry in 2025.

What is the plot of Welcome to Derry?

First things first — yes, "Welcome to Derry" will be directly connected to the 2017 and 2019 "It" movies. As the official logline puts it, "Set in the world of Stephen King's 'It' universe, 'Welcome to Derry' is based on King's 'It' novel and expands the vision established by filmmaker Andy Muschietti in the feature films 'It' and 'It Chapter Two.'"

It's been reported that the show will delve into Pennywise's origins, although we're unsure if that means we'll be exploring how It decided to take on the appearance of a clown or if we'll be getting the cosmic origins of the evil entity itself. Perhaps most interestingly, the series will reportedly be set in the 1960s — about 27 years before the first "It" film, where Pennywise rises from the sewers to hunt down the Losers Club.

Now, if the first movie takes place in 1989, subtract 27 and you get 1962. Interestingly, something pretty significant happened that year in Andy Muschietti's "It" universe. As discussed by the original film's pint-sized protagonists, 1962 was the year a group of racists burned down a Black night club called The Black Spot. In the book, King dives much deeper into this tale, discussing how The Black Spot was patronized by Black soldiers and that the Maine Legion of White Decency incinerated the building, killing almost everyone inside.

King also reveals that Pennywise was there that night in the form of a giant bird, feasting on sorrow, fear, and human victims. Is it possible that "Welcome to Derry" will focus on this tragedy? As the show has cast a number of notable Black actors — especially compared to the movies' nearly all-white cast — it seems very likely.

Who is starring in Welcome to Derry?

Every iteration of "It" has featured some big-name talent. The TV movie starred the likes of Tim Curry, Seth Green, and John Ritter, while the Andy Muschietti movies featured talent such as Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Finn Wolfhard. Similarly, "Welcome to Derry" boasts quite the impressive line-up of actors, although we're not exactly sure who they're playing just yet.

First up, there's Taylour Paige, who starred alongside Chadwick Boseman in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and who portrayed the viral Twitter star Aziah King in "Zola." She'll be joined here by Jovan Adepo, who's no stranger to Stephen King fare, as he played Larry Underwood in Paramount+'s "The Stand." You'll also likely recognize him from projects such as "Watchmen" and "Babylon." They'll both be accompanied by Chris Chalk, known to fans of the mystery genre for portraying police officer Paul Drake in HBO's "Perry Mason" series.

Additionally, keep an eye out for James Remar, a legendary character who played Dexter Morgan's adoptive dad in the famous Showtime series. The series has also cast Madeleine Stowe — who played the main villain in "Revenge" and who's appeared in big-deal movies such as "The Last of the Mohicans" — and Stephen Rider, known to Marvel fans for playing District Attorney Black Tower in the "Daredevil" series. As more cast members are announced, we'll be sure to keep you updated.

Is Bill Skarsgård playing Pennywise in Welcome to Derry?

Look — you can't have a show set in Derry, Maine, without the evil entity known as It. And if this series is set in the world established by the Andy Muschietti movies, does that mean Bill Skarsgård will reprise his iconic role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown?

Well, sadly, we have some bad news for all the Skarsgård superfans out there. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in April 2023, the actor revealed, "As of now, I'm not currently involved with [the series]. If someone else gets to do it, my advice would be: Do it your own. Make it your own. Have fun with it. What I found pleasurable about the character is how abstract he was."

After such a memorable performance, it's hard to imagine someone besides Bill Skarsgård playing Pennywise. Of course, we were all saying the same thing when Tim Curry was the one and only killer clown. So it's possible that some other actor out there might have a unique spin on the Stephen King character. It's also possible that Skarsgård is taking a page from the "Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire aren't in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'" playbook and that he actually will emerge from the shadows with a handful of red balloons.

Or perhaps Pennywise won't show up at all. After all, It can take many forms. It plays on our worst fears, appearing as the thing that will scare us the most. Across the books and movies, he's taken the form of a giant bird, a creepy painting, and a freaky mummy, among other horrors, so who knows what terrors await us in "Welcome to Derry?"

Who is showrunning Welcome to Derry?

Drawing inspiration from the wonderfully twisted mind of Stephen King, "Welcome to Derry" was created by the combined forces of Andy Muschietti, his sister and producer Barbara Muschietti, and Jason Fuchs. In fact, Fuchs is serving as showrunner along with Brad Caleb Kane.

So who exactly are Fuchs and Kane? Well, Fuchs penned the screenplay for "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and Joe Wright's "Pan." He also helped Zack Snyder and Allan Heinberg develop the story for Patty Jenkins' "Wonder Woman." Perhaps most importantly, Fuchs helped write the script for "It Chapter Two" (he even had a small part in the film, portraying Richie Tozier's manager). In addition to showrunning, he'll be penning the first episode of the show.

Speaking about the series, Fuchs said, ""To be able to return to the world of my all-time favorite horror novel and help build upon the singularly brilliant cinematic universe created by Andy and Barbara is more than the opportunity of a lifetime, it's a dream come true — or, maybe more appropriately, a nightmare."

As for Kane, he's served as a writer and producer on series like "Warrior," "Lode 49," "Black Sails," and "Tokyo Vice." He's also done quite a bit of acting work, providing the singing voice for Aladdin in multiple Disney properties, including the original 1992 film. We also know that Fuchs and Kane will be joined in the writers room by Shelley Meals, who serves as an executive producer on Netflix's "Shadow and Bones."

Who is directing Welcome to Derry?

Andy Muschietti and his sister, Barbara Muschietti (who's produced all of Andy's projects), are heavily involved with "Welcome to Derry." They helped develop the series, and they're both serving as producers. Of course, Andy Muschietti will also be lending his acclaimed filmmaking skills to the show, as he's directing a handful of episodes — including the first one, which will kick off all the horror "Welcome to Derry" has in store. 

In a statement released to promote the upcoming series, the Muschiettis said, "As teenagers, we took turns reading chapters of Stephen King's 'It' until the thick paperback fell to pieces. '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."

Where to watch the It movies

While we're waiting for "Welcome to Derry" to hit Max, it might be a good idea to pull a Mike Hanlon and investigate the town's terrifying past. To do that, you'll need to check out 2017's "It," which pits a group of 1980s teens against a clown hungry for human flesh. You can rent "It" on sites such as Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.

To see what happens next in the epic saga of good vs. evil, you'll need to check out "It Chapter Two," which picks up 27 years after the events of the first film. The members of the Losers Club are all grown up, and they're trying to move on from what happened back in Derry. Unfortunately, Pennywise has returned, setting up one final showdown. You can stream "It Chapter Two" on Hulu or rent it on platforms such as Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.

Lastly, if you want to go old school, you can check out the 1990 TV movie. Spread across two installments, the film tells the same basic story as Andy Muschietti's movies, although you'll get to compare and contrast Tim Curry's take on Pennywise to Bill Skarsgård's. "Stephen King's It" is available to stream on Hulu and rent on sites like Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.