Joe Hill’s horror comic Locke & Key might finally reach television. Hulu has ordered a pilot for the adaptation, to be directed by The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Doctor Strange filmmaker Scott Derrickson, with Lost and Bates Motel producer Carlton Cuse as a showrunner.
Hulu picked up the show after a “very competitive” sale that involved several networks, according to Deadline. Hill will write the script for the pilot (on Twitter, he announced that it has been completed), and will serve as an executive producer. If picked up for a full season, Deadline also reported that Derrickson will remain with the show to direct several episodes before reporting back to Marvel to direct a potential sequel to Doctor Strange. As streaming services have been working to create their own original content to entice viewers, Hulu has to put together a compelling slate of programs, such as the time travel miniseries 11/22/61, this month’s The Handmaid’s Tale, an adaptation of Marvel’s Runaways, and its forthcoming Stephen King and J.J. Abrams collaboration, Castle Rock.
The son of horror author Stephen King, Hill is a novelist in his own right, with fantastic horror novels such as The Fireman and NOS4A2 under his belt, and Locke & Key is one of his best works. Over the course of the six volume story, Hill and artist Gabriel Rodríguez tell the ambitious and heartbreaking story of the Locke family.
First published in 2008, Locke & Key told the story of Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode Locke when they return to their family’s ancestral home in Lovecraft, Maine following their father’s brutal murder. As they cope with their grief, they discover a number of magical keys hidden around the house, all of which grant their user a range of special abilities. As the children adjust to their new home and the adventures offered by the keys, they discover that an evil presence has been trapped at the house for decades. As it escapes, the three siblings and their friends must fight to contain it.
While this project looks promising, Hulu has yet to pick it up for a full series, and this isn’t the first time that Locke & Key has been picked up for adaptation. In 2010, 20th Century Fox ordered a television pilot, starring Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings), Sarah Bolger (Once Upon a Time), and Nick Stahl (Carnivàle). While the pilot was well received by audiences, Fox passed because of its cost. In 2013, Universal Pictures announced a film trilogy based on the comics, with Star Trek’s Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci attached to produce, but that too, didn’t go anywhere. Two years ago, Audible adapted the series as a 13-hour audio drama. Hopefully, the third time will be the charm.