Locke and Key went through a lot of different versions before it finally landed on Netflix. In fact, a pilot was created for Fox back in 2011 that was ultimately scrapped after it was shown at a Comic-Con, and another pilot was created for Hulu that was ultimately scrapped too. (At least one actor from the Hulu pilot, which has never been publicly shown, also ended up in the Netflix series.) Here’s a look at scenes from the Fox pilot along with other details we know about the Locke and Key series that never were completed.
Here’s a Look at Scenes from the Fox ‘Locke and Key’
Locke and Key was originally supposed to be on Fox, then Hulu, before finally residing on Netflix. It was supposed to originally be on Fox in 2010-2011 with Josh Friedman writing and Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci as executive producers. A pilot was filmed but it wasn’t given a series order. It was screened at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. You can see scenes from the pilot in the video above.
The full pilot is out there online, but it’s frequently taken down. Some people who have seen it say it’s not anywhere close to as good as what we got on Netflix. In a Reddit discussion about the Fox pilot, one person wrote: “I think it was actually quite good, but the Netflix version will have better production values and be more cinematic. this was very much the broadcast network version of it.”
The Reddit discussion is based on a video that’s long since been taken down, but the comments are intriguing. One person wrote, “I’m 20 minutes in, and I agree. Pilots always suck (except LOST), but I’m sure the second episode would have been much better! Edit: the last 5 minutes was pretty lame, too. But I liked the bit in the tree.”
Another person wrote: ” Maybe it’s because I read the comics or that we have progressed a lot since the pilot was filmed, but that was boring. I understand the tameness because it was on fox, but man it was boring.”
For the Fox version, Jesse McCartney was going to play Tyler Locke.
Miranda Otto was going to play Nina Locke, the mom. She’s now Aunt Zela on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and had played Eowyn on Lord of the Rings.
Sarah Bolger was going to play Kinsey Locke, and Skylar Gaertner played Bode. Gaertner was six when he filmed the role for Fox, which was the same age as the character in the comics, Decider reported.
Nick Stahl was going to play Duncan Locke, the brother. From the scenes above, it seems like he would have done a great job.
Ksenia Solo was going to play Dodge for the Fox version.
Creepy Sam Lesser was played by Harrison Thomas.
Rufus wasn’t cast for the Fox series, that we know about.
Mark Pellegrino from Lost was going to take on the role of Rendell Locke.
In 2014, Universal Pictures planned to produce a feature film trilogy.
A Pilot Was Also Filmed for Hulu That Was Scrapped
In April 2017, Hulu announced that it had a pilot order for the series with Carlton Cuse and Joe Hill developing. By March 2018, Hulu had passed on the pilot and did not order a series. Then negotiations began with Netflix, with the Hulu pilot being discarded.
The Hulu version is much closer to what we ended up with. The actor who played Bode was in both versions.
Cuse said that with the Hulu version, the series started with the dad’s murder, but he felt that was “overweighted,” ScreenRant reported. The Netflix version, instead, was more of a coming-of-age story that shared the murder through flashbacks. Hulu’s show emphasized adult characters more, but for Netflix they leaned into the kids since they’re the ones who experience the magic. For Hulu, they had been given a green light and had a writers room that created six to seven scripts, along with sets, by the time the show was canceled, Deadline reported.
For the Hulu version, Frances O’Connor was playing the mom, Nina Locke.
Also involved were Nate Corddry (Duncan Locke) (he went on to play Larry Wilson on For All Mankind and Det. Art Spencer on Mindhunter), Danny Glover (Joe Ridgeway), Megan Charpentier (Kinsey Locke), Jack Mulhern (Tyler Locke) (who went on to play Grizz on The Society), Owen Teague (Sam Lesser) (who’s playing Harlod Lauder on The Stand TV series), and Jackson Scott (Bode Locke.)
It seems only Jackson returned for the Netflix version in the same role. Thomas Mitchell Barnet, who played Sam Lesser on the Netflix series, was going to play Bode’s sweet friend Rufus for the Hulu version.
As far as Danny Glover’s role, that was taken over by Steven Williams when the show moved to Netflix.