Locke & Key author reflects on failed Hulu adaptation

Comic Book Writer and Writer Joe Hill Talks Scott Derrickson’s Failed Hulu Adaptation locke and key. Written by Hill and published by IDW, locke and key was released in 2008 and concluded its thirty-seven issues in 2013. The series was adapted into a Netflix series in 2020 and starred Emilia Jones, Connor Jessup, Jackson Robert Scott, Darby Stanchfield, Aaron Ashmore and Laysla De Oliveira. The series’ reception has been mixed, with critics praising the show’s handling of themes such as trauma and loss, while criticism has been leveled at the dramatic and romantic teenage subplots. locke and key ran for three seasons on Netflix, with the final season debuting earlier this month.

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IDW has made several attempts to accommodate locke and key for television ahead of the Netflix series in 2020. In 2011, a television pilot was produced by Dreamworks TV and distributed by 20th Century Fox Television. The pilot debuted at San Diego Comic-Con International 2011 and was positively received by attendees. Despite this, Fox decided not to greenlight the series, allegedly due to its dark content. In 2017, Hulu issued a pilot production order for Locke & Key, which was to be developed by Hill and Carlton Cuse and directed by Scott Derrickson. Derrickson had to step down from the production due to a scheduling conflict and was replaced by Andy Muschietti. In 2018, Hulu announced that it had passed on the pilot and would not launch the series. Whereas locke and key was eventually picked up by Netflix, some have wondered what the original Hill/Derrickson pilot would have become if the series had been green-lit.


Related: Locke & Key Forgot To Address A Persistent Season 1 Plot Hole

In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Hill opened up about his time working with Derrickson on Locke & Key, which was the first time the two had collaborated together. Without divulging too many details about the pilot, he spoke positively about his experience working with Derrickson on locke and key and was delighted to find the latter on black phone, which was based on a short story by Hill. Here is what he had to say:

I became friends with Scott when he was attached to developing Locke and Key as a TV show for Hulu. Locke and Key went through several phases of development, for a time with Fox and later with Hulu, before ending up at Netflix, and Scott was intimately involved in the development of the Hulu version, and would have helmed it if not for a conflict with other projects. The black phone, in many ways, was our makeup call and it was so awesome. Who can do this? I have to make a movie, two of my very good friends made a great movie about one of my stories, how crazy is that?

It seems Derrickson was much more involved with Hulu’s locke and key driver than originally suggested. This begs the question of how different the pilot would have been had Derrickson remained involved. Based on that, would Derrickson’s style and direction have been important enough to win over Hulu executives and greenlight the series? This question will unfortunately remain unanswered, but according to Derrickson’s work on The Black Phone, Locke & Key fans might have expected something dark, heartbreaking and twisted. One thing that’s clear is that Hill and Derrickson work well together, which could potentially lead to future collaborations.


With Netflix no longer producing future seasons of Locke & Key, there may be the possibility that Hill and Derrickson will reunite to present their collective take on the series. However, this would most certainly be a long-term production given that Locke & Key season 3 only released earlier this month, and it’s unlikely that a fourth adaptation of the series will be launched that soon by Netflix or any other streaming service/studio. Additionally, Derrickson is currently expected to lead Skydance’s The throats, which means that any collaboration with Hill will most likely be discontinued for the foreseeable future. For the moment, locke and key audiences will just have to settle for rewatching the Netflix series, but rest assured that another Hill-Derrickson team-up is certainly likely.


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