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As fans of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke & Key comic book series await the Netflix television series adaptation dropping on Feb. 7, 2020, the creators revealed how it has inspired them on a whole new path of mythological storytelling in their comics.
During a press event at the Netflix HQ in Hollywood, California today, Hill and Rodriguez joined the series showrunners, Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill, to discuss all things Locke & Key including a new one-shot for IDW called Locke & Key: Battalions.
Hill confirmed he was actively writing the issue, which is set at the beginning of the 20th century. “It will take the comic in a really interesting direction — in a direction it's never gone before.”
“And then there is the plan for another six-book series called World War Key,” Hill continued. “I had an idea for it just this morning, literally over breakfast. It involves the characters from Open the Moon and Small World.”
The creative duo’s last serialized run for the Locke & Key comics universe was the Alpha & Omega arc which ended in December, 2013. Since then, the pair have only released three one-shot issues: Small World, Nailed It, and Dog Days.
Why the lack of new content considering the depth and breadth of their created mythology?
“We have been discussing concepts and ideas for new stories since the first one. And because it’s such an engaging universe, we really feel a sense of responsibility toward it. If you are going to get back to this world and these characters again, it’s because there is a meaningful story to tell," said Rodriguez. "After a process of pitching each other for years now, it’s been great to both feel we are ready to get back to this and tell something engaging.”
Hill added that it’s also taken a long time to organize as both have been engaged separately with other creative projects in television and comics: “This next standalone is the gateway to a larger story we’ve been dreaming about for years. It’s been a hell of a thing to pull together, and we’ll talk about it more soon.”
In the meantime, fans can definitely look to Netflix’s Locke & Key adaptation as the impetus of inspiration for the duo, as they worked with Cuse and Averill to help flesh out the series, and to make it similar, yet distinct from the comics run.
“I feel like the show and the comic are almost like a DNA helix,” Hill explained. A primary example being the show exclusive creation: the Mirror Key.
Without spoiling how it works, it’s enough to know that this particular key was never in the comics, and was entirely created to land the last act of the pilot episode.
Hill and Rodriguez were consulted about how it would function in the series mythology, which inspired their creative engines. “It was cool that we started with the Mirror Key because in some ways the show is a different reflection of what’s in the comic. It’s the same ideas but it’s been Rubik's Cube’d into a new configuration.”
Citing it as the perfect example of the two teams coming together in collaboration (with a major assist by pilot director Michael Morris, who came up with the intial notion), Averill says what the key opens then evolved into a place that beckons the unsuspecting. And those who fall for its siren song find a trap that’s tough to escape. Hill then added an extra layer of mystery by suggesting the “key is the prison of the self,” which everyone loved and made real in the series.
Now it's up to Netflix audiences to see if the Locke & Key world will continue to live in the television realm. But the showrunners admit they’ve already been commissioned by Netflix to develop scripts for Season 2 if the show proves to be a success. As to how many more stories, or seasons, they have planned for the Netflix series in general, both Cuse and Averill admit they didn’t come in with a traditional “five-year plan” to pitch executives. Averill says they’ve got plenty of ideas “percolating” based on unused stories from the comics, but also from their own original diversions that will become very apparent in Season 1.