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Locke & Key showrunners explain how Harry Potter inspired finale's twisty cliffhanger
Netflix's adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's Locke & Key featured plenty of recognizable elements for fans: the house, the keys, the kids. Sure, there were a few new additions, like the Mirror Key, to add a bit of unexpected fun to the proceedings, but the rug got pulled out from under comic readers (and everyone else when the show got to its twisty, shocking finale). Now co-showrunner Meredith Averill has broken her silence on the first season's wild ending.
**WARNING! This story contains massive spoilers for season one of Locke & Key**
**We are NOT KIDDING, these are the BIG spoilers!!**
Ok, now that those that haven't yet unlocked the full potential of Locke & Key's first season have left, everyone can agree that finale was crazy, right? Not only did the demonic Dodge not get trapped in the sea cave portal, but the villain is still at large masquerading as Gabe (Griffin Gluck), a new character to the show! And now, it's not alone thanks to whatever is possessing Eden Hawkins (Hallea Jones)! That's all pretty different from the source material (not to mention a huge secret to hide all season), so how and why did its adaptors change it?
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Averill explained it all. "We loved the story in the comic of Lucas coming back and Zack Wells going to high school," she said. "But the issue with it is that [in the comics], Zack still looks like Lucas, so people are constantly recognizing him, and he just has to kill them because of it. We reimagined it as, well, what if Dodge was hiding in plain sight this whole season? What if the audience and our characters both didn't know it? It serves the same function."
Gabe introduces himself as a member of Kinsey's friend group (the "Savini Squad"), but, surprise, he was just another form of the shapeshifting Dodge all along. That retroactively makes Dodge a lot scarier. "Dodge is trying to embed himself/herself into the Lockes' world, specifically Kinsey's world. For Dodge, it makes a lot of sense to do that," Averill said. That also made the scripting for the show a very complicated affair in order to make sure the twist was both secretive and logically sound.
"We knew right away from the beginning of the writers' room that Gabe would be introduced in episode two," the co-showrunner said, "because that's after Dodge has been released from the well, and we would lay in all of these subtle clues: Gabe is also new to Matheson, Gabe seems to be hungry all the time in the same way as Dodge." Those probably weren't enough breadcrumbs alone for fans to pick up on the twist, but it goes even deeper — into the very editing of the show.
"We had to be careful to never cut from a scene where Dodge appears in the form we call 'Well Lady,' directly into a scene where Gabe is already in the scene," Averill said. "We need to play fair with the audience and we need to allow there to be time for Dodge to leave a scene, use the Identity Key, and go back to turn into Gabe. It was really fun to craft that montage at the end, that basically shows you how he/she did it." That montage, which basically flashes back to all the times Gabe turned into Dodge and vice-versa, took a lot from one very famous film about secret identity: The Usual Suspects.
"We referenced [The Usual Suspects] quite a bit," Averill said when asked about the "Kobayashi mug" moment in the finale. "There were some Voldemort references, too," she said. "Harry Potter was referenced in the room all the time, specifically with that part. The moment where Griffin as Gabe is riding his bike and he has this devilish grin, he really sells it. It's such a great moment when you realize he's been Dodge all along." Presumably, Averill is referring to the reveal at the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when Harry finds that Professor Quirrell, not Snape, was in league with (and shared a head with) Lord Voldemort.
That's a heck of a twisty cliffhanger to leave fans on when the streaming show hasn't even been renewed for a second season, but fans shouldn't be too worried: the showrunners told SYFY WIRE that they've already written more than half of season two already.