‘Gomorrah’ and ‘Crime Novel’ TV Series Set for Prequels as Sky Italia Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Sky Studios is developing prequels to “Gomorrah” and “Crime Novel,” the two widely exported Sky Italia original crime series that are considered Italian TV milestones.

News that Sky and ITV-owned production company Cattleya are looking to reboot these two shows with origin stories was announced as Sky Italia celebrates its 20th anniversary with a big bash in Rome.

Sky Italia first ventured into Italian TV production in 2008 with “Romanzo Criminale,” as “Crime Novel” is known in Italian, which is centered around a real Roman heroin-dealing gang. Besides being a hit in Italy, the story also traveled widely. “Gomorrah” (pictured above), which is based on Roberto Saviano’s bestselling Neapolitan mob exposé, launched in 2014. From the outset, this gritty show brought audiences inside the belly of the real Neapolitan criminal underworld, thanks in part to being shot almost entirely in the actual places it portrays. Besides attaining megahit status in Italy, “Gomorrah” has traveled to 190 countries, including on HBO Max in the U.S., which dropped the fifth and final season of the Neapolitan gangster saga last year.

The origin story of the “Romanzo Criminale” series will focus on the years before the rise of the Banda della Magliana criminal gang depicted in the two seasons of the original series, tying in the narrative with the stories of its original characters. Giancarlo De Cataldo, who wrote the novel on which the series is based, as well as the series bible, is on board for the prequel.

The “Gomorrah” prequel will recount the criminal rise of Neapolitan mobster Pietro Savastano, “from when he was just a kid on the streets to becoming the most important and ruthless boss in Naples,” according to a statement. Leonardo Fasoli and Maddalena Ravagli, who served as the show’s head writers, are back on board.

“‘Romanzo’ and ‘Gomorrah’ rewrote the rules for Italian TV series,” said Nils Hartmann, EVP Sky Studios for Italy in a statement. “What’s more, if the classic drama has now become a TV series, in Italy, it is thanks to ‘Romanzo,’ which took a completely new path,” he added, noting that “Gomorrah” took the same path but went even further. 

“With these two new projects, we will expand upon the worlds of these two beloved stories, going back to our most defining roots but with an eye on the future,” Hartmann said.

Cattleya founder Riccardo Tozzi said that “going back to the origins of ‘Romanzo’ and ‘Gomorrah’ means exploring new opportunities to tell a story that is tonally somewhere between an epic and a realistic piece with a contemporary look from the point of view of its style as well.”

Tozzi went on to call the prequels “a return, but with the same desire to innovate.”

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