It’s been a long road getting here, but the acclaimed IDW comic series Locke & Key is finally coming to the small screen — and series’ co-creators stopped by San Diego Comic-Con to drop some fresh intel on the Netflix adaptation.
Comic co-creators Joe Hill and Gabe Rodriguez led the Locke & Key Spectacular panel at SDCC. The Eisner-winning comic follows the children of a family who return to their mysterious family estate, only to realize the house is hiding magical keys and dark secrets.
Hill revealed to fans that shooting has wrapped on the first 10-episode season, though he could not reveal when the live action adaptation will actually drop on Netflix. But, after so many false starts, fans were thrilled to hear the season is actually, finally in the can.
The path to bring Locke & Key to live action is almost as wild and sprawling as the saga itself. Fox commissioned a pilot all the way back in 2010, but passed. A film trilogy was then plotted around 2014, but it also failed to materialize. Hulu stepped in and ordered a pilot in 2017, but also passed on the project. Finally, Netflix stepped in with a series order to bring the comic to life.
"[Producer] Carlton Cuse picked up Locke and Key after it fell apart at Hulu, and Netflix said they love this story and they'd love to get us a shot to do it," Hill said. "The show is wrapped, all 10 episodes have been shot. I've seen the first eight episodes and it's like TV crack. It just runs really hard... . The best thing that could've happened is Hulu not going through with the show. Every time we've gone back to the drawing board the show has become more itself, more tapped into the spirit of what's going on in the comics."
As for potential changes from comic to TV, Hill said fans will notice a few tweaks to the story — though a few of those changes are actually adjustments he advocated for along the way.
"We talked about a couple of changes, and I suggested a few to keep readers of the comic off balance," Hill said. "It's true to the spirit of the story, true to the spirit of the characters. I don't always want everyone who read the comics to always think they're going to know what's going to happen."
With the franchise still bouncing around in the public consciousness, and primed for a resurgence thanks to Netflix, Hill and Rodriguez teased fans could see even more of the story return to the comic page soon. A new 10-page comic in the story has just dropped, the first in six years, and the creators showed off some pages and panels from that latest tale. Hill said he's wanted to do a new Locke & Key story pretty much since the original series ended, so he was excited to find some new stories to tell within this world.
Rodriguez noted this new story helps set the stage with a new Keyhouse for future stories, bringing the narrative back to the family story fans know and love. He teased the house will be "quite different, but quite familiar" when the story continues.
Hill teased plans for a "World War Key" saga that would take place in both the present day and future, looking back at the role the Locke family played in the Revolutionary War up to the present day. He also teased a few characters might also make a literal trip to hell.
"It'd be about the idea that the past is never gone... and I think a lot of ghost stories are about ways the past keep bleeding through to the present," Hill said. "We'll visit the Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War II to show how those past events have had lingering effects on our heroes today."
Looking back at the Keyhouse itself, Hill said he never really gave much thought to the layout of the house itself when writing his story — a fact that drove Rodriguez crazy along the way. That's also why they introduced a full map of the original Keyhouse into the comic canon, which Hill joked was mostly a reference page for himself. As for the new-look Keyhouse, Rodriguez said he's already 3D modeled the layout, and he plans on sharing those blueprints with Hill — though a few parts of that map have remained undefined to give some leeway for future stories. It was also confirmed at least one new story will hit before the end of this year.
Hill also revealed plans for a new comic titled S.T. Holmes, the Insulting Detective, in... Dying Is Easy! a throwback type of comic story that feels more like a Bruce Willis-style action romp. He's working on the 'book with Martin Simmonds.
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