A screen adaption of acclaimed graphic novel Locke & Key has been a long time coming. In 2010, producers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci scored a deal with 20th Century Fox TV to turn the supernatural comics into a TV series. But even with writer Josh Friedman (writer on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds) at the helm, the series never made it past its pilot stage. Then, in 2014, Universal announced a film trilogy with Kurtzman and Orci on board to write and produce. The rights to the films have since lapsed.
Now, Locke & Key writer Joe Hill is taking matters into his own hands, overseeing a new TV version of his gripping graphic novel. Hill, working with IDW Entertainment, will team up with producers David Alpert and Rick Jacobs from Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead) to write the pilot and serve as the show’s executive producer. Once the show is in development, Hill will then pitch it to various cable and streaming companies.
David Ozer, President of IDW Entertainment, expressed hopefulness that the Locke & Key TV show would be a success (owing to Joe’s indispensable role), with the following statement (via IDW's press release):
“Having Joe at the helm of the pilot ensures that the series will hold true to the brand that fans around the world have come to love. Locke & Key is a true global franchise.”
Hill also issued a statement that expands on his personal ties to the supernatural story (see below). No doubt the sentiment is a driving force behind his decision to finally realize a screen adaption of his beloved graphic novel, following the two failed go-arounds with networks and studios:
“I love this story. The seven years I spent working on Locke & Key was the happiest creative experience of my life, and there still isn’t a day when I don’t think about those characters and miss visiting with them. The six books of the series are very like six seasons of a cable TV series, and so it feels only natural to bring that world to the little screen and to see if we can’t scare the pants off viewers everywhere.”
IDW Publishing released the 37-issue Locke and Key graphic novel, written by Hill and illustrated by Gabe Rodriguez, in 2008. It follows the story of Nina Locke and her three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, who, after the murder of the children’s father, attempt to rebuild their lives at the Keyhouse, a mysterious mansion in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. There (and in keeping with the haunted house subgenre), they discover magical keys that open portals to another dimension. But what lies on the other side is far from friendly.
Given the scope of the graphic novel, it makes sense that its writer would opt for a small screen adaption versus a feature-length film. By nature, the medium isn’t rushed, allowing for more creativity and time spent on narrative devices, such as plot, theme, and character development. I therefore wouldn’t be surprised if a streaming giant like Netflix, which thrives on the kind of creative freedom that can only operate outside the bonds of network television, ultimately picks up the adaption. Even if people have never read the graphic novel, the popularity of panic-inducing shows like American Horror Story demonstrates that there is an audience for it.
We will continue to update you on Locke & Key as the show’s development continues.
Sources: IDW Entertainment