'Locke & Key': Inside the Beloved Comic's Decade-Long Path to Netflix

Locke & Key Production Still - Publicity - H 2020
Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

Locke & Key, the beloved horror comic from Joe Hill, has finally unlocked the mystery of television.

First published in 2008, the award-winning title from Hill — the son of Stephen King — and Gabriel Rodriguez makes its debut Feb. 7 on Netflix with a series that has taken more than a decade to make it to a screen.

The drama revolves around the Locke family and their ancestral home of Key House, a mysterious manor filled with locked doors and magical keys. The comic was nearly a feature film and a Fox and Hulu pilot before Netflix wound up actually taking Locke & Key over the finish line. Star Trek's Alex Kurtzman took two stabs at the title: a feature film for Universal and the Fox pilot. Hulu, too, took a shot with it via Lost co-creator Carlton Cuse, before the streamer bailed and Netflix swooped in.

Below, The Hollywood Reporter charts Locke & Key's wild, decade-long path to the screen, complete with the various networks, actors, writers and directors who have tried their hand at cracking it.

September 2010: After Dimension loses rights to the property, Fox announces that Locke & Key is in the works. The network hands out a series commitment for the drama. It's a sizable order that was virtually unheard of at the time — today straight-to-series orders are common. Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek) and his then-producing partner Roberto Orci are on board to exec produce via 20th Century Fox TV. Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) is attached to write. DreamWorks TV, with Steven Spielberg, board as producers. The drama would officially be picked up to pilot a month later.

November 2010: Casting for the pilot begins. Miranda Otto lands the leading role as Nina Locke, a mother who, with her three children, attempts to rebuild their lives in the mysterious Key House. By February 2011, Jesse McCartney, Sarah Bolger and Skylar Gaertner are cast as the kids, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, respectively, with Fox's original plan to launch in summer 2011 now moved to the fall. (Check out the trailer for the Fox pilot, below. The full pilot, which leaked on YouTube years ago, is no longer available.)

February 2020: Cuse and Averill, in an upcoming interview with The Hollywood Reporter's podcast, TV's Top 5, say they have a multiple-season plan in mind for Locke & Key, and, while a formal renewal has yet to come in for the series, are already working on scripts for a potential second season. (Hear more from Cuse and Averill in the Feb. 14 episode of TV's Top 5Listen and subscribe here.)