Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ graphic novel Locke & Key has been on the path to being adapted for television for close to a decade, but for some reason or another always falls through.
Now, Locke & Key may finally have found a network — and director — willing to take the project forward. The Hollywood Reporter first made the announcement yesterday, confirming that Lost’s Carlton Cuse would be on board as executive director and showrunner. Scott Derickson, best known for directing Marvel’s Doctor Strange, will also join the project as an executive producer and will direct the pilot.
Locke & Key, a graphic novel that first debuted in 2008 and ran through 2013, tells the story of a New England mansion referred to as the Keyhouse. The Keyhouse has a number of doors that open to different worlds. Long ago, a locksmith created a series of keys used to lock the doors and prevent monsters from other dimensions passing through. It has been described as a macabre, strange and funny series. Since its debut, Locke & Key comics have sold millions of copies.
Following the report, Hill tweeted the confirmation yesterday. He added that work was already underway and he was expecting the series to go through.
We got a great team on the show. First script all written - everyone seems to like it. I'm expecting @scottderrickson to Rocke & Roll.— Joe Hill (@joe_hill) April 20, 2017
Pilot orders happen all the time and, in an age of geek dominance, it shouldn’t be too surprising that a celebrated graphic novel would be picked up by a streaming service. But unlike Marvel’s series on Netflix and DC’s shows on the CW, Locke & Key has had a hard time making the move from graphic novel to TV.
In 2010, Dimension Films acquired the film and television rights to Locke and Key, but only a few months later the studio lost the rights to Dreamworks. Under the new banner, writer Robert Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond) and producer Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek: Beyond) were enlisted to work on the film adaptation. In August, Steven Spielberg joined the production and it became a television series instead of a feature film.
With an A-list team of writers, directors and producers, Locke & Key should have been an easy fit at any network. This was just before the era of comic book stories began to dominate television, but right around the time that Marvel’s Cinematic Universe kicked off and had managed to redefine what the modern blockbuster looked like.
Dreamworks’ Locke & Key landed at Fox in 2011, with the network ordering a pilot for the show. But just a few months later, Fox confirmed it would not move forward with picking up the series. The pilot debuted at San Diego Comic-Con where it was well received, but despite the positive feedback from fans, Fox tried to move away from the series. That same year, Fox executives tried to sell the rights to Locke & Key to a buyer, but despite the show building up some hype within the community, none of the other networks or studios made an offer.
In the past six years, Hill has moved away from trying to make a deal happen, even with fans asking if there was a chance a TV adaptation could still come to fruition. It wasn’t until last year that Hill confirmed he was working on another script for a potential pilot. Now, with Hulu trying to build its own library of original series to compete with Amazon and Netflix, Locke & Key seems like it’s finally in the right environment to actually succeed. Hulu reportedly outbid Amazon and Netflix in a bidding war for the series, making the show’s future even more certain than before.
There is no estimated premiere date for the show at this time.