Locke & Key Season 3 Will End The Series

One of the best graphic novels of the past two decades is Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's "Locke & Key," a horror drama inspired by Lovecraft, Stephen King, and more, set in a magical world full of danger, horror, and teenage hijinks.

In addition to being just a perfect comic, "Locke & Key" was long considered unadaptable. First, there was a TV pilot from Fox that never got greenlit (and the pilot episode, screened at San Diego Comic-Con, has never properly resurfaced), then there was a film trilogy announced with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci producing. Then there was an audio drama from Audible — which was surprisingly great — and which was followed by another pilot, this time on Hulu and with Andy Muschietti directing. 

When the streamer passed on the show, Netflix decided to try their hands at adapting the show, with uneven results. But all things must come to an end, as Netflix announced that "Locke & Key" will end with its upcoming third season.

A respectable, but uneven adaptation

According to Netflix, this was not a premature cancellation, but part of the plan from the very beginning. Executive producers and co-showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill said in a joint statement that they "three seasons was the ideal length to bring the story of the Locke family and their Keyhouse adventures to a satisfying conclusion."

This is rather interesting, because the third season of the show moves away from the original source material into brand new territory. Though the show has a fantastic cast, and nails many things from the comic, it also suffers from crucial differences, especially its tone. 

The original comic is much darker, and horror inspired, focusing on building a sense of dread as we follow three siblings who move to their ancestral home following their father's murder, and discover the house is full of magical keys, along with an ancient entity hellbound on collecting them. The Netflix adaptation, however, takes a much lighter tone, more whimsical than scary, with "Harry Potter" being a bigger inspiration than something like "It."

Still, the live-action adaptation managed to justify its tone by distancing itself from the source material in plot too, telling its own unique version of the story with impactful and surprising twists and new storylines. The problem was that season 2 tried to have its cake and eat it too. It tried to change fundamental plot points that seemed to led to a show-only ending (which can work, like with "Fullmetal Alchemist") while still rushing to adapt the entire back half of the comic in a single 10-episode season.

Ending "Locke & Key" with season 3, which is entering uncharted territory with a brand new villain, could end up working great for the adaptation. Kevin Durand is a fantastic actor and a menacing presence, so he could be a good follow-up to the evil Dodge. Still, having just one season to wrap up all the show-only ideas that were barely starting to be introduced last season feels ill-advised, especially when the comic's finale was universally acclaimed.

There's no release date yet for season 3 of "Locke & Key."