Joe Hill Reveals How a Failed Hulu Adaptation of ‘Locke and Key’ Led to Making the ‘Black Phone’

Published 08/21/2022, 12:30 PM EDT

Season 3 of Locke and Key was released earlier this month. It was the final season of the show, based on author Joe Hill’s comic with the same name, published by IDW Publishing. The first part of this comic series came out in the year 2008. This 37-part comic was concluded in the year 2013. Later on, in the year 2020, this comic series was adapted into a show by Netflix. The series received mixed reviews from critics. Some praised how it handled complex subjects like trauma and loss, while others criticized the adolescent drama and romantic subplots.

But did you know the show had quite a history before landing on Netflix? Let’s dig deeper!

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Hulu first produced Locke and Key

Before Netflix’s 2020 series, IDW made many efforts to bring Locke and Key to television. The pilot episode was produced in 2011 on 20th Century Fox Television, which Dreamworks TV distributed. The pilot episode had its world premiere at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International. Despite this, Fox ultimately opted not to give the show the green light, citing the show’s “dark nature.” Hulu ordered a pilot for Locke and Key in 2017, with Joe Hill and Carlton Cuse as showrunners and Scott Derrickson as director. Here’s the trailer of the pilot episode produced by Hulu.

Derrickson had to leave due to a schedule difficulty, and Andy Muschietti was brought in to take over. Moving forward, in the year 2018, Hulu finally gave up on the series. They didn’t see much potential in adapting the comics and hence, gave up. This is when Netflix came into the picture and picked up the show. It took the platform and makers 2 years to bring it to our screens. But finally, the show was released in the year 2020.

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The story behind the making of Black Phone

Joe Hill spoke about his experience on Locke and Key, the first project on which he and Derrickson had worked together. The show had already faced rejections from two platforms. When Netflix finally took over, Hill said that he thought Derrickson would be directing the project. But Derrickson had to give up despite of his extraordinary emotional investment in the Hulu series.

Hill was disappointed about Derrickson’s lack of involvement due to the friendship the two formed over the course of Locke and Key development for Hulu. However, the two came to collaborate once again in Universal’s recent release, Black Phone, which was adapted from a short tale by Hill.

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The Black Phone, in a lot of ways, was our makeup call, and it was just such a blast. Who gets to do that? I got to make a film, two of my really good friends made a great film on one of my stories. How wild is that?” shared Hill with Screen Rant.

At present, Derrickson is set to direct Skydance’s The Gorge. Thus, his work with Hill will likely be put on hold for the time being and there may not be more of the Locke family going forward, owing to its cancelation. Fans of Locke and Key will have to make do with repeat viewings for the time being, but another collaboration between Hill and Derrickson is almost probably in the works.

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Have you watched the season finale of Locke and Key? If not, watch it now only on Netflix!

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Radhika Deshmukh

820 articles

Radhika Deshmukh is a writer at Netflix Junkie. She has completed her Bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Mass Communication from Educational Multimedia Research Center, DAVV, Indore and is currently pursuing Masters in the same. Radhika has a keen interest in cinema and writing.

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