A live-action adaptation of the award-winning horror comic Locke & Key is finally getting made. Netflix is taking the comic-book-based project straight-to-series — ordering 10 episodes of the series before even seeing a pilot. This ends eight years of developmental hell that made many fans wonder if they would ever get to see a television interpretation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s horror masterpiece.
Eight years ago, producer Alex Kurtzman (Xena: Warrior Princess, Star Trek: Discovery, Alias) just wanted to make a Locke & Key movie. But after failing to get traction for a motion picture, he switched gears and pitched the comics as a TV series for Fox.
Fox bit in 2011 and ordered a television pilot.based on the comics The completed pilot starring Miranda Otto, Mark Pellegrino, Jesse McCartney and Sarah Bolger debuted at San Diego Comic-Con to thunderous applause and widespread praise.
Fox passed on the series.
Universal snatched the rights next intent on developing the books into a movie trilogy — Only to see the project once again sputter and fail before making it to the screen. (One rumor was that Fox threatened to air their unseen pilot as a TV movie — spoiling major plot elements and “diluting the brand.”)
Time passed. Then IDW Entertainment CEO Ted Adams and president David Ozer partnered with Circle of Confusion (Walking Dead) to prepare a new pitch for television in May of 2016. Streaming service Hulu won the bidding war and ordered a new pilot with showrunner Carlton Cuse (The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Lost) — beating out Netflix, HBO and FX in the process.
The pilot arrived two months ago — and Hulu passed.
Hulu chief content officer Joel Stillerman (who picked up The Walking Dead at AMC) and senior vp Craig Erwich (who ordered the pilot) wanted to pick up the project, but new CEO Randy Freer overrode their recommendation and torpedoed the project.
Which brings us full circle to today. Netflix has bought the rights to the comics away from Hulu, who kept the writers room going long enough to complete scripts for seven more episodes. Cuse is staying as showrunner along with comics writer Joe Hill, but they are completely recasting the show and filming a third pilot based on a new script from Hill and Cuse.
Here’s a series synopsis via Variety:
[Locke & Key] is a horror/fantasy series that revolves around three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities. Little do they know, a devious demon also wants the keys, and will stop at nothing to attain them.
And here’s the trailer for the original pilot from way back in 2011: