Welcome To Derry: 12 Things We Want To See In The IT Prequel Series
This article contains spoilers for "It."
Stephen King’s beloved horror novel "It" tells the story of the Losers Club, a bunch of kids who take on a murderous, supernatural clown and have to face it again as adults. Over the course of the story, we discover that the clown (aka Pennywise) has been in the place now known as Derry, Maine seemingly since before recorded history. The creature emerges every 27 years to target local children. As the Losers Club do more research, they discover that Pennywise is tied to disasters and disappearances going back many decades. The villain has a long, dark history, and that’s seemingly what director Andy Muschietti will be delving into in the upcoming HBO Max prequel series "Welcome to Derry."
After wrapping up his two-part feature adaptation of "It," Muschietti said that we had seen "the end of the journey of the Losers against Pennywise," but he expressed an interest in going back in time. "As we all know the mythology is very rich, and in Stephen King’s book Pennywise has been around for a million years — he’s been in contact with humans for at least five hundred years," he told CinePOP. "So, if you go back and back and back and back, you’ll see a lot of drama." Will the show jump through the years, pitting Pennywise against kids from different times? Will it focus on one group’s battle against the killer clown? We still don’t know what form "Welcome to Derry" will take, but here are some things we would love to see in the show.
The return of Bill Skarsgård
Bill Skarsgård won plenty of praise for his performance as Pennywise the Clown in 2017’s "It" and 2019’s "It: Chapter Two," and rightfully so. His smiles and sneers are so full of hatred and menace that you can’t help but squirm a little in your seat whenever he’s on the screen. When his eyes go dead just before feeding, he looks almost like a great white shark eyeing up a seal. The actor had big clown shoes to fill stepping into the role, but his Pennywise the Clown is more than a match for Tim Curry’s iconic turn as the character in the 1990 television miniseries.
For these reasons, we really hope Bill Skarsgård reprises his role as the clown everybody loves to fear. His elastic face is so well-suited to the morphing entity posing as a humanoid clown that at times you can’t tell whether those are facial contortions or special effects and prosthetics. Plus, if it’s going to be set during a different time period (or periods), then we might get to see Skarsgård change things up a bit. We would love to see Pennywise speaking another language, for example, or dressed up in period clothing.
Dick Hallorann and The Black Spot
In the "It" book, it’s revealed that an African American Army night club in Derry was once burned down by a white supremacist group called the Maine Legion of White Decency. Present at the club (named The Black Spot) that day was a member named Dick Hallorann, an Army cook. Of course, as Stephen King fans will no doubt know, Hallorann is the chef at The Overlook Hotel who helps Danny Torrance unlock his powers in "The Shining." In "It," Hallorann uses his gifts to save the life of William Hanlon, the father of Mike Hanlon — he has a vision of the white supremacists blocking an exit and instructs William to use a window, instead.
After he exits the building himself, Hallorann sees It, which has led to many discussions about the creature’s involvement in the heinous arson attack. "A common thread in the book is the blurred line between ITs influence and people being their terrible selves, as well as free will and contrivances of fate," u/bigbybrimble said when some "It" fans discussed The Black Spot on Reddit. "Did IT do the deed? Maybe? Maybe not. Maybe the event was going to happen anyway, and IT just made it worst by ITs presence." Interestingly, this incident makes Hallorann one of the only adults to actually see It. Could The Black Spot and Hallorann’s encounter with Pennywise back in the 1930s be shown on screen in "Welcome to Derry?" We certainly hope so.
It’s journey to becoming a clown
Stephen King has said in interviews that he made his manifestation of evil into a clown because pretty much everyone finds them unnerving. "Clowns are scary," he told Yahoo! Movies. "There’s just no way around that." However, Pennywise the Clown is just one of the many iterations of It. The creature itself came from the Macroverse, the void at the edge of the cosmos that also features in King’s "The Dark Tower" series. It came to Earth on a meteor billions of years ago and slept until humans emerged for it to prey upon. It will essentially take on the form of whatever you’re most afraid of.
If It takes on a shape frightening to children, what would that mean for Native Americans and early colonists? In a sepia image shown in the movie, what appears to be It is seen in a suit, grinning maniacally next to a very unhappy looking child. When and why does It begin to identify itself as Pennywise the Clown? Watching the villain’s journey will be captivating. Perhaps we’ll even get to see It’s first feed, if the creators are willing to go back that far in time.
Native Americans taking on It
In "It: Chapter Two," Mike Hanlon explains that the native Shokopiwah people had quite a few interactions with It and how they were able to trap the monster in a special vessel during the Ritual of Chüd. Of course, we discover that It escaped back then, and It does so again towards the ending of "It: Chapter Two" when the Losers Club performs the same ritual. Seeing the battle between It and the Native Americans of the area could be amazing — like "Prey," but with a pre-Pennywise It in place of a Predator.
Seeing the Shokopiwah warriors fight the creature would no doubt be captivating, and it would also be fascinating to see what It uses to frighten people living without all the trappings of modern life. Would It take on animal forms? It would also be interesting to see how It travels without sewers. The shadows are often the scariest places to be in the "It" movies, and life before city grids and electric lights involved way more darkness. The fear would definitely be ramped up.
Pennywise influencing politics
One of the best moments in "It" is when the Losers Club follows Pennywise into its lair by entering the sewer. Of course, the whole thing starts when Pennywise lures Bill Denbrough’s little brother to the sewer and kills him. From there, the sewers become integral to the story. Pennywise plays tricks through the plumbing on the Losers Club, and obviously it’s a great way to get around a town unseen. So why were the sewers built in a way that leads right to the demon’s home?
This is a pretty big plot hole. Sewers would likely pour into some kind of wastewater treatment facility. They wouldn’t run to a cavern that city planners are apparently unaware of. Whatever the reason, the sewers function like a superhighway that leads the creature to everywhere in the city. Did It somehow figure out urban development and bend the ears of the town leaders? It would be interesting to see It manipulating the minds of New England politicians in old Derry, indicating that the creature has the town under its control in more ways than one. We would love to see Pennywise going into politics.
Losers Club lineage
If Dick Hallorann hadn’t saved the life of Mike’s father in the "It" book, then he wouldn’t have been around to help rally his friends for the final battle against Pennywise. It’s a fascinating turn of events, and it makes you wonder how the rest of the ancestors of the Losers Club have fared over the decades. Did any of them ever see It, or possibly had the courage to confront the creature? It would be interesting to see if the bravery, curiosity, and ingenuity of the Losers Club was inherited.
Of course, we know that adults don’t seem to remember Pennywise once they leave Derry (the book implies that this is not due to blocking out childhood trauma but just another part of It’s powers). Mike is only able to recall what happened to them because he stays in Derry and dedicates himself to solving the mystery. However, most of the parents of the Losers Club stay in Derry, so is it possible that they knew more about the creature from past attacks than they let on?
It’s brother from the Macroverse
Sadly, we didn’t get to see Maturin in the "It" movies, but in the book, Bill gets to meet this divine turtle, who is essentially It’s brother and benevolent counterpart. Maturin is said to have created the universe in the most bizarre way — by vomiting it out. He resides in the Macroverse, which is where Bill is sent to when the Losers Club perform the Ritual of Chüd as kids. The advice that Bill gets from Maturin is key to the Losers Club getting the better of Pennywise in their first battle. Are there more beings like It and Maturin out there in the Macroverse, and could we see them in "Welcome to Derry?"
Other creatures like It would be interesting to follow. Are they all malevolent beings? Do some feed on something other than the fear of little children? There is a huge opportunity to further explore the overall universe that It exists in. Speaking of universes, we already know a bit more about Maturin because he’s also a big part of Stephen King’s "The Dark Tower" series. As fans of King’s dark fantasy epic will know, Maturin is one of the twelve Guardians of the Beams. It is these guardians that hold up the titular tower. We would love "Welcome to Derry" to reveal more about this side of King’s world.
More history about the Neibolt House
Stephen King has long been a fan of the small town haunted house. Naturally, there’s a big haunted house in Derry. The place frightens everybody, and for good reason. "You mean that creepy-ass house where all the junkies and hobos like to sleep?" Richie says in the movie, to which Beverly replies: "I hate that place. It always feels like it’s watching me." It’s referred to as the Neibolt House in the films, because of its location on Neibolt Street, though in the books the Losers Club call it the Well House, due it being built over the town’s original well house. When the first 91 Derry settlers inexplicably vanished, this is where the blood trail led.
We would love it if "Welcome to Derry" gave us more information about this fascinating house and its dark story. The place acts as a kind of base of operations for It, with the location providing access to the sewers. Did the builders encounter anything unusual as they erected the house right over the hideout of an inter-dimensional killer? Did people ever get the chance to live in it, and if so, who were they? Did they meet a violent end?
A peek at It’s true form
Pennywise is a Clown, but It is so much more than red balloons. The creature is capable of taking on any form. That’s made clear in both the book and the movies. What isn’t clear is the nature of It’s natural state. What does the creature look like in its resting form? It’s something fans have often wondered about over the years. "It can’t be processed by the human mind," u/PacificShoreGuy said when the question was raised on Reddit, and that pretty much sums it up.
In the book, it’s suggested that It’s natural appearance while on Earth resembles a female spider, and this was hinted at in both the 1990s miniseries and the films. However, the true form of It, as it originated far from Earth, is something beyond our wildest imagination. That doesn’t mean the creators of "Welcome to Derry" shouldn’t try to bring the original It to life in the series. Seeing It’s true form, even it was just for a moment in an opening prologue, would be a huge moment for fans.
What is It’s reach?
Pennywise is portrayed as a curse on the town of Derry and the people of that land going back to the beginning of recorded time. Derry must have grown in size tenfold since its inception, and that makes you wonder about where It draws the line. How far does the creature’s reach extend? Does it only hunt there because there’s enough food and a good situation, or does its power only work within a certain radius of the meteor’s crash site? We can only assume this is the case, seeing as the creature would be able to gorge itself ahead of its 27-year hibernation if it moved to New York City, for example. There are way more people there, and a great sewer system to boot.
Perhaps this is a topic that could be discussed in more detail in the upcoming prequel series — it’s named after the town, after all. We would love to see "Welcome to Derry" spend some time getting into the nitty gritty of the lore. Is It essentially imprisoned in the Derry area, or are there other reasons for sticking around there?
Where is Derry in Maine?
Where is Derry in Maine? It’s something that people have no doubt wondered while watching or reading about It’s exploits in this small New England town. Is it near the south, by Portland and the New Hampshire border? Or a bit further up, by Bangor? Is it by the coast? Or is it far upstate, in the wilds? Derry is a place that exists somewhere in between all of these, it seems. But grounding it in reality matters. With more time, there’s a whole lot of space to explore whether this is some port adjacent town, whether it’s a suburb of the big cities, or whether it’s really up in the middle of nowhere.
There’s a lot of open room in Maine, and a lot to consider when one thinks about the condition of Derry. Do tourists come by? Is it a forgotten, old-world place? Is it completely secluded? Being remote would explain the story a bit more. The creators of "Welcome to Derry" may want to retain a certain level of ambiguity — in many ways, Derry is meant to be seen as Anytown, USA — but we would love to get a bit of a better idea of its location.
Past clashes between Pennywise and Derry residents
We know that the Losers Club was the final group to take on It because they managed to kill the creature (although Stephen King has hinted that Pennywise may still be around in subsequent novels, so perhaps don’t rule out any more sequels just yet). However, it’s highly unlikely that they were the first group to band together in the face of It’s evil. Over the course of the creature’s long life, it must have encountered resistance on numerous occasions.
What happened the first time Derry residents decided they were tired of kids disappearing? How did the Shokopiwah deal with this? And what about the people who came after them? It stands to reason that Derry citizens of years gone by must have had their own battles with the town’s evil entity, and we would love to see another group of kids take center stage in "Welcome to Derry."