The Journey of Locke & Key to the Big Screen

Posted: November 23, 2019 by Ian Gaudreau in Comicology - Comic Books, IDW, Movies & Television
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Locke & Key, IDW Publishing

Locke & Key is a wonderful story by Joe Hill (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (artist) that tantalized the hearts, minds, and imaginations of countless comic readers. But is the series staying as a comic? Locke & Key has gone through a number of big announcements, and in our latest article, we explain its [long and changing] journey:

The first issue of Locke & Key was released February 20th, 2008, published by IDW Publishing. Since then, there have been six Locke & Key story arcs: Welcome to Lovecraft (#1-6), Head Games (#1-6), Crown of Shadows (#1-6), Keys to the Kingdom (#1-6), Clockworks (#1-6), Alpha (#1-2) & Omega (#1-5), and The Golden Age (#1-6). Each story arc starts at issue #1, but in reality, the true first issue of the series was #1 of Welcome to Lovecraft. The subsequent issues should be read numerically in the story arc order listed above. Technically, the final story arc, The Golden Age, is still not finished. The Golden Age features six one-shot standalone stories that provide more history into the world, and only three of the six issues have been released up until this point. For diehard Locke & Key completionists, we wanted to mention the adult coloring book as well.

This is where the confusion begins for many fans. FOX quickly picked up the series to be made into a television show. A full-length pilot episode was shown at San Diego Comic Con in 2011. The details are a little vague, and the full episode was never released outside of the one-time SDCC showing, but FOX abruptly decided that they would pass on the show shortly after SDCC.

However, not long after the pilot episode was screened at SDCC and before the official cancellation, a trailer released, which sheds some light on what the show could have been (likely not very good):


Then a bigger announcement occurred after the television show cancellation at SDCC 2014. Universal picked up the Locke & Key title and was producing a movie trilogy! Albert Torres was reportedly hired to write the script, and other contributors included Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Bobby Cohen. However, this, too, was cancelled in 2015 before getting very far.

In 2015, the series returned…sort of…as an audiobook! This was a direct adaptation of the comic book series, except in audiobook form. The audiobook series can be viewed here.

Then, finally some good news. In May 2016, it was reported that IDW Entertainment was taking the reigns of a brand new Locke & Key television show. Fans of the comics were ecstatic to hear that Joe Hill would be writing the pilot, and Hill later announced during a book tour that he was helping with several other episodes in addition to the pilot. Other planned contributors to the show include Ted Adams, David Ozer, Rick Jacobs, and David Alpert. It was rumored that the six comic arcs would be translated into six televisions reasons, but details of the show have been quiet since the initial announcement.

In further development, it was announced in April 2017 that Hulu would be picking up the show with the same creative group listed above. Details continued to remain under wraps, but they announced that Director would be Andy Muschietti.

Just when fans thought Hulu would be the Locke & Key platform (and after an alleged pilot had been created), Hulu dropped the title and it was then picked up by Netflix, the current home for the upcoming show. Netflix has apparently scrapped the progress Hulu had made, which included a full re-casting for the show.

UPDATE November 2019: Netflix has officially completed its 10-episode Season 1 of Locke & Key. During a book tour featuring a collection of short stories (not related to Locke & Key), Full Throttle, Joe Hill spoke of a “2020 release date”. Although he did not say it specifically, Joe Hill made it sound like it was in the earlier part of 2020 opposed to later.

For those that have never read the series, we highly recommend it. Collected versions of the story arcs are readily available here. In the excitement of the upcoming show, Hill and Rodriguez announced in August 2019 that more comic book Locke & Key is on the way!

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