Pennywise Actor Reveals if He’s Set to Return for IT Prequel on HBO Max

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, IT, HBO Max logo

As the IT universe is set to expand, one key actor from the movies is not likely to return in the upcoming prequel show, Welcome to Derry, under the HBO Max banner. 

Welcome to Derry will further explore the world of Stephen King's IT universe, with its official description, via Variety, stating that it "expands the vision" of Andy Muschietti's two feature movies, IT and IT: Chapter Two.  

Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti, and Jason Fuchs developed the project for television, with Fuchs confirmed to write the teleplay of its first episode and act as showrunner alongside Brad Caleb Kane and Andy serving as director for multiple installments.

Pennywise Actor Reacts to HBO Max's IT Prequel Show

Speaking as a guest on Jake's Takes, Pennywise actor Bill Skarsgård, who portrayed the evil clown killer in 2017's IT and 2019's IT: Chapter Two, addressed if he will return as the iconic horror character in Welcome to Derry.

When Jake Hamilton of Jake's Takes asked about his potential comeback, Skarsgård first confirmed that he is "not currently involved" with the IT prequel show: 

"Yeah, yeah, we’ll see what they come up with and what they do with it. I’m, as of now, not currently involved in it."

If a new actor portrays Pennywise in Welcome to Derry (which is likely), the John Wick: Chapter 4 villain actor offered solid advice to his successor, telling him to "do it your own, make it your own, [and] have fun with it:"

"And if someone else gets to do it, my advice would just be: do it your own, make it your own, have fun with it, you know what I mean? What I thought was so pleasurable about that character was how incredibly abstract he was. If you start reading Stephen King’s cocaine-binged book, you just go like, ‘What the hell?’ I mean there’s so, so many weird tantrums and abstractions that you can kind of sit, and decipher, and that’s what I did with the character, and I really enjoy that aspect, and then inform the character."

Skarsgård then shared that "all the clues" in playing Pennywise can be found in Stephen King's novel: 

"And the book is really a gift that way, so if someone would take it on, it’s just, go through the book, and find all the clues, and they’re so out there that you can kind of make your own conclusions to them.”

In King's IT universe, Pennywise is a shapeshifter that can assume the form of its victim's fear, meaning that Skarsgård's evil clown persona is not required to appear due to Welcome to Derry serving as a prequel. 

How Bill Skarsgård's Pennywise Can Return in Welcome to Derry (Theory)

Given that Bill Skarsgård's portrayal of Pennywise in the IT movies received widespread acclaim from fans and critics, it's unfortunate that he is not involved with Welcome to Derry. Still, there is a chance that the actor might make a surprise appearance in the show, most likely during its season finale. 

Welcome to Derry presents many storytelling opportunities, with the show poised to explore how Pennywise came to be. In IT: Chapter Two, a glimpse of the clown's horrific origin story was revealed when Jessica Chastain's Beverly met the villain's human form in a vision. 

The sequel's brief but important Easter egg about Pennywise's human form could hint at Welcome to Derry's endgame. 

It's possible that the prequel series will cover a good chunk of how It arrived on Earth, touching on the aspects of the Macroverse and the Deadlights. 

Welcome to Derry could then explore It's first kill while also explaining the dreaded 27-year curse, including multiple time jumps that leading to how the character became inspired by Pennywise the Dancing Clown. 

Doing this would allow Skarsgård to return, ending the show with It's transformation into Pennywise. 

IT and IT: Chapter Two are streaming on HBO Max.

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.