Joe Hill’s ‘Locke and Key’ Series Revived With Scott Derrickson and Carlton Cuse at Hulu
Maybe the fourth (or fifth…or sixth…) time’s a charm for Joe Hill’s Locke & Key. The author’s acclaimed fantasy-horror graphic novel series has come absurdly close to making the leap from page to screen on more than one occasion, but that was back before streaming services began producing their own original content, giving a home to riskier, more ambitious projects — stuff like, say, Locke & Key, which is once again in development as a TV series, this time at Hulu with Carlton Cuse (LOST) serving as showrunner and producing alongside Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange), who will also direct several episodes of the first season.
Deadline reports that Hulu has given an official pilot order to Locke & Key, which is being developed as a one-hour horror drama based on the IDW graphic novel written by Joe Hill, author of The Fireman (and son of Stephen King). Hill, who developed the series alongside Cuse, wrote the spec script for the pilot, which will be directed by Scott Derrickson. The director is expected to helm numerous episodes for Season 1 before returning to direct Doctor Strange 2 for Marvel.
Locke & Key featured artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez and centers on the Locke family — mother Nina and children Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, who move into their family’s historic home, known as Keyhouse, following the tragic death of their father. The kids soon discover various magical keys, each of which bestows unique powers to the holder, hidden throughout the house, while the youngest, Bode, unwittingly unleashes an ancient demonic force. The series has elements of horror, fantasy and dark humor, and the fascinating origin story of the keys (supplemented by illustrations in the back of each book) could serve as a fantastic season of television on its own.
The latest attempt to bring Hill’s story to television sounds like the most viable version yet, though somewhat surprising given Locke & Key’s bumpy development history. Dimension originally acquired the rights to produce a film adaptation. When those rights lapsed in 2010, Locke & Key went to Dreamworks, where Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci began plotting a TV series with Steven Spielberg producing and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) scripting.
Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) directed the pilot episode, which starred Miranda Otto, Sarah Bolger, Nick Stahl, Jesse McCartney and Ksenia Solo (Orphan Black). Despite positive reactions to the premiere at Comic-Con in 2011, the pilot failed, and FOX tried to sell the project to other networks before ultimately scrapping the series altogether. You can watch a preview of the pilot below:
As recently as 2014, Hill was developing a film trilogy based on Locke & Key with Kurtzman and Orci still involved as producers. In 2015, Hill revealed that the film adaptation was off the table, but a TV show could still happen. Two years later, it looks like that’s the case, and with a streaming service more inclined to take risks and a director coming off of a hit Marvel film, the future of Locke & Key looks bright.