Two months after Hulu opted not to go forward with its Locke & Key pilot, the project — an adaptation of Joe Hill’s comic Locke & Key from Carlton Cuse and IDW Entertainment — is in final negotiations for a series order at rival Netflix. Talks between Netflix and the Locke & Key producers started shortly after Hulu surprisingly passed on the pilot in March.
Sources said that Netflix would be licensing the rights to the IP, not picking up the existing Hulu pilot to series, and the project will undergo redevelopment, including recasting of two of the three Locke children.
It director Andy Muschietti, who helmed the Hulu pilot, is working on the film’s sequel, so he will not be available to direct the new version for Netflix. But he will serve as an executive producer on the series, along with Barbara Muschietti as well as Cuse, who has been instrumental in the project’s efforts to find a new home, via his Genre Arts production company. Ted Adams and David Ozer executive produce for IDW Entertainment.
Written by Hill, Locke & Key revolves around three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Maine with their mother Nina (Frances O’Connor), 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. Staying on from the three young actors playing the siblings is It co-star Jackson Robert Scott.
The Hulu pilot’s cast also included Nate Corddry, Samantha Mathis, Owen Teague and Danny Glover.
Locke & Key was ordered to pilot in April 2017, before the top management changes at Hulu. The surprising pass on the pilot came after Hulu’s creative team, who had supported it, had given the project a blinking green light — setting up a full writers room that produced 6-7 backup scripts and having the sets built with everyone ready to go.
This marks a happy ending for Locke & Key, which previously was adapted during the 2010-11 development season when it reached the pilot stage at Fox with Josh Friedman writing, Mark Romanek directing and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci producing alongside DreamWorks TV. Back then the pilot, starring Sarah Bolger, Miranda Otto and Nick Stahl, did not go to series, though the title has remained a cult favorite, with Hill and IDW Entertainment in 2016 announcing that they were taking a new stab at it for television. The unaired Fox pilot screened at Comic-Con in 2011.
The IDW Publishing Locke & Key comic book franchise has garnered both awards and acclaim during its ten-year run; has been translated into dozens of languages across the globe; and has sold millions of copies worldwide.