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Showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill Spill the Tea on ‘Locke and Key’ Season 2

LOCKE & KEY

Today, at long last, Locke and Key returns for Season 2 on Netflix! To celebrate, we spent the week sharing our interviews with the cast and crew with all of you! Today, we’re unveiling our final interview. We spoke with the extraordinary showrunners who have put this show together, Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill. To get a peek at what they had to say about Season 2, read more below!

Can you speak about the collaboration process with Joe and Gabriel on bringing this to life?

AVERILL: That’s amazing! Yeah it’s been an amazing collaboration. They’re incredible. And we feel so lucky to have had that source material to pull from, and that they’ve been so supportive of any changes that we’ve made. And are also very involved in reading the scripts and giving notes. It’s rare and lucky to have stumbled on a collaboration like Carlton and I have, and also that we have with Joe and Gabriel. It’s such a rich world to be able to pull from. And it’s incredible to hear that they’re inspired by new things we’re doing. It’s just an awesome, awesome thing!

Can you speak about how you decide what to pull from the comic and how you create original ideas?

CUSE: It’s a much more intuitive process. Meredith and I have obviously read the comics multiple times, and have digested this rich and wonderful world that Joe and Gabriel have created. And we’re telling our story. We know there are certain things that we love from the comic books and want to see those things at various points… but it’s more organic how that unfolds. We’re telling our story and we’ll say “this is a great place to introduce that key,” it’s something that’s organically evolved as we make the episodes and think about what we do next. To reiterate what Meredith said, the collaboration with Joe and Gabriel has been great and they’ve been incredibly generous in allowing us to let us make the show its own thing and collaborate and participate with us in this new iteration of the story.

LOCKE & KEY

If you could design a key what intention would you infuse it with?

AVERILL: It’s funny because it’s a question we asked our writers. We had a white board in our writer’s room that was just a list of wish fulfillment on what keys they’d want to make. And some of them end up on the show which is why I don’t want to spoil too much. But gosh. I don’t know!

CUSE: In a way the answer to that question has become embedded in the show… we sort of added keys we created or Joe and Gabriel did the work for us… I feel like the keys we created and are part of the show are the answer to the question. Anything that would be cool, or latch on to that wish fulfillment quality of the keys, we tried to put in a key and put on the show.

AVERILL: I thought of one key that’s not on the show that I’d love, is a key that removes calories from french fries… I can’t really see a storyline for that key on the show, but I can see it in my personal life.

In comic book stores, there’s a series being published now called Locke and Key/Sandman. And with Sandman now coming to Netflix, is there a chance for a Locke and Key/Sandman crossover someday?

CUSE: That is a very good question. And I think it’s a question you’d have to ask Netflix. Meredith and I love the world of Locke and Key but it would be Netflix’s call on how long we get to explore that world and in what ways Locke and Key can expand. I know the comic has gotten a lot of good reviews and they’re really interesting. Sure. There’s a really good adaptation to be had there.

How do you decide creatively how to sift through the horror elements of the comic make it on to the show, and how intense to make those elements?

AVERILL: When we first started talking about the adaptation, we both really liked the idea of leaning more into the idea of the fantasy elements of the comic and slightly less away from the horror elements. And what came out of that was that we can still have the horror elements, but you’re not lingering in them. They don’t feel gratuitous… You never want to lean too far into it or linger too far, where you’re alienating a portion of the audience. We love that this is a show that parents can watch with kids (of a certain age), but it always comes back to story. And if the story goes for a pop of horror or a pop of gore we go for it. We never want to just have a bit of horror or gore for the sake of it. For us it’s always about character and story. So it’s a tricky balance but it’s one we’ve been able to find. And Season 2 is darker than Season 1. Season 2 has a lot more of those horror elements, but has a good healthy balance of the fantasy, and the family drama, and the YA stories and romances, and all the thing we love and set up in Season 1. Those still continue in Season 2 but just a bit darker.

LOCKE & KEY (L to R) EMILIA JONES as KINSEY LOCKE in episode 204 of LOCKE & KEY Cr. AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX © 2021

If we used the Head Key on you, what would we find in your heads?

CUSE: Gosh, I don’t know. I feel like if you’re a writer, your brain is… a dangerous playground. I wouldn’t want to use the Head Key on myself. I’m not in a place of self-reflection right now. I’m good staying locked out.

AVERILL: I think mine would like like an Anthropoligie that’s been designed by Tim Burton. That’s what I see.

Do you have seasons planned in advance?

AVERILL: You learn so much by watching prior seasons. After we finished Season 1, we learned a lot by going back and re-watching those episodes. They helped inform story moving forward. So while it can be beneficial to work that far ahead, there’s something to say about taking a beat and watching the season you just completed without getting too far down the line with a particular story. We just finished filming Season 3 a month ago. And we’re in post right now. So our heads are on Season 3 at the moment. But these are characters and a world that we both love so much, and there’s much story to be mined for them. So we’d love the opportunity to continue telling these stories but we’re so heavily focused on Season 3.

LOCKE & KEY (L to R) EMILIA JONES as KINSEY LOCKE in episode 201 of LOCKE & KEY Cr. AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX © 2021

We’re exploring the origins of the keys in this season. And the show switches back between Revolutionary times and contemporary times. Were there any challenges with this this season?

CUSE: We wanted to really explore the history of the mythology. I think people were interested in where the keys come from… And kudos to our production team for being able to realize that on a costume and set level… How do we make something work for colonial times. There’s a lot of work that went into it to make it feel like there was continuity between the past and present, but make sure the period stuff felt authentic. It was fun to do and it was hard work, but I think the audience will feel very satisfied with the stuff they learn.

AVERILL: It was also shot in the dead of winter so it was some challenging night shoots. But it made for some beautiful shots.

LOCKE & KEY (L to R) BRENDAN HINES as JOSH BENNETT in episode 206 of LOCKE & KEY Cr. AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX © 2021

Was there anything you wanted to add to the show from the comics but were unable to?

CUSE: I don’t think we’ve felt like we’ve missed anything. Certainly Season 2 and Season 3, the stuff we really liked and responded to in the comics that fit into the way our story was unfolding, we stuck in there… the comics did their own thing and they’re fantastic but I think we’ve utilized them for our storytelling.

AVERILL: There are some keys we felt worked better in the comic and wouldn’t have translated as well to the screen, that we deliberately felt that wouldn’t translate to the screen. But there are elements like the Head Key that we adapted… To translate that for TV would be grotesque. You could do it, but we chose to find our own way to do that… We continue to mine the stories from the comics in Season 3 that we really respond to.


And I can safely say it’s paid off! The show stands alone as a great retelling of the classic Locke and Key stories!

Locke and Key Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix! Catch it now! And thank you for joining us for a full week of fun with the Locke and Key cast and crew!

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