‘Locke & Key’ Finally Finds its Home at Netflix

The comic book adaptation few thought would happen, lands on the DGAF streaming platform.
Lock And Key
By  · Published on May 30th, 2018

The comic book adaptation few thought would happen, lands on the DGAF streaming platform.

After years of “maybes” and several “nos,” the television adaptation of Locke & Key is finally a reality.  According to Deadline, our great savior Netflix is in final negotiations to bring the series to order. With a seemingly bottomless pit of money at their disposal, the streaming service dares to accomplish where others wavered. Someone may need to pick author Joe Hill off the floor.

Way back in 2011, FOX passed on a pilot for Locke & Key despite a soaring reception from fans at the San Diego and New York Comic-Cons. The episode was directed by Mark Romanek and starred Miranda Otto, Sarah Bolger, and Nick Stahl. MTV was briefly interested in bringing that version to their network, but they eventually chickened out as well.

A few months ago, hope was reignited. Hulu shot their own Locke & Key pilot. This time directed by IT helmer Andy Muschietti and starring Nate Corddry, Samantha Mathis, Owen Teague, and Danny Glover. Despite having already given the series a greenlight, and staffing an entire writer’s room, Hulu paused all their pilot orders. Hill and producer Carlton Cuse started banging doors at Amazon and Apple, but it was Netflix who answered.

What is so difficult about this project that negates television studios from pulling the trigger? While the comic book series never brought in an audience to rival caped crusaders like Batman, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez’s horror saga inspired a fervent fanbase. The story encompasses several timelines and stretches over forty issues. Those that bothered to give it a whirl were hooked eternally.

The Locke family attempts to put their lives back together after a knife-wielding maniac murders their patriarch. They move into the historic Keyhouse, a New England mansion famous for its many passages and doors, some of which lead to diabolical dimensions when opened with the appropriate key. Certain keys can even unlock special abilities for their user. Cosmic, Lovecraftian nightmares lurk around every corner.

What begins as a simple, single-set spook story quickly escalates into an epic battle between good versus evil. The special effects budget would increase dramatically as they discover new keys and doors. A psycho killer brandishing a knife yields unnamable monstrosities and landscapes beyond human means of description.

A pilot may be easy to greenlight, but I would imagine scripts for Season 2 and beyond could make a suit think twice. Netflix laughs where services like Hulu and Apple might balk. They’re looking for challenges right now, and Locke & Key will deliver the goods.

Since Netflix has the most money to burn right now, they are the only ones with the confidence to back this family horror plot. Andy Muschietti is neck deep in IT: Chapter Two preproduction and will not be able to return to Locke & Key. He is remaining on board as Executive Producer alongside his sister Barbara Muschietti. The assumption is that Netflix will go back into development, and recast the series to their liking. Hopefully, one day, all these various false-starts will be collected on a real banger of a special edition.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)