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The Real Reason Why Locke & Key Moved Away From The Horror Genre

Netflix's Locke & Key was a long time coming for fans of the property. The Netflix series, which made its debut on the streaming platform in February 2020, is based on the immensely popular comic book series of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez. While the show marked the first time that Locke & Key was brought to life in live-action, it was far from Hollywood's first attempt at adapting it.

In fact, Locke & Key has had a long and troubled history in Hollywood. Fox originally tried to develop a Locke & Key TV series back in 2010 and 2011, but the network ultimately chose not to pick up the adaptation. Later, in 2014, it was announced that the comic book series was going to be adapted into a trilogy of live-action films, but those plans eventually fell apart, which led to another adaptation being developed at Hulu.

Hulu ended up passing on that adaptation, but that was, thankfully, the last time a Locke & Key adaptation failed to make it to the screen. After Hulu, the property was taken to Netflix, and the rest is, as they say, history. It looks like fans can thank one key creative decision by the show's writing team for the Netflix adaptation's success.

Why Netflix's Locke & Key is more fantasy than horror

According to Joe Hill, who co-created the original Locke & Key comic book series and serves as an executive producer on the Netflix show, there's a specific reason why the Netflix adaptation was successful where previous iterations weren't. Speaking with ComicBook.com, Hill said that it was Locke & Key showrunner Carlton Cruse's decision to lean away from the property's horror elements that made it viable as a TV series.

Hill explained that Cruse realized there were "elements of this terrific YA fantasy thing there and that the solution to the problem was to lean into that." Hill says that resulted in the Netflix series being noticeably different from the previous adaptations. "The earlier versions of Locke & Key were two parts horror and two parts fantasy," he says. "And the Netflix version is one part horror, three parts fantasy, and that seems to be the right chemical mix for TV."

Hill isn't wrong about the differences between Netflix's Locke & Key TV show and the original comic book series. The show emphasizes the story's fantasy elements far more than fans of the comic might have initially thought it would. Of course, how well that tonal difference works for fans will no doubt vary person-to-person, but it's clear that the decision has worked out well for the series. Indeed, not only is the Locke & Key team hard at work on the show's second season, but Netflix has also already renewed it for a third season.