Netflix's hit television adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's bestselling comic series Locke & Key is back for its second season, with showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill at the helm. Season 2 follows the Locke family living in their ancestral home of Keyhouse. Just as the children integrate its magical keys into their daily life, old foes and new enemies surface in the small town of Matheson, wanting to steal their magical powers.

In an exclusive interview with CBR, Cuse and Averill explained what themes informed their take on Season 2's story and discussed how they upped the stakes for the core characters moving forward. The showrunners also shared how they had more fun with the series' heroes and villains, now that Locke & Key's world and its magical premise have been set up.

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Season 2 hits the ground running with higher stakes and villains are already up to no good. What made you want to open with that while building upon the foundation you laid in the first season?

Meredith Averill: I think it was exactly what you said. We had to hit the ground running. Everything is so much more heightened this season -- our family drama, our romances, our villains, our stakes. Because of where we ended with Season 1, that's what we really needed for Season 2, to build upon that. That means it's just a richer, darker, more mature season.

Season 2 opens with the Locke family the tightest and most cohesive we've ever seen them. What was it about showing the family like this in direct contrast to Season 1 where they were grief-stricken and at odds?

Carlton Cuse: You just put your finger on it: the first season dealt a lot more with the grief and the transition from the death of their father and their new lives in Matheson. With Season 2, we really wanted to explore what are the obligations that come with these keys and being the keepers of these keys. We felt like we told the grief story. We wanted to tell a different story and this story is about the cost of consequences about being the new keepers of the keys.

I'm a big fan of the comic and you do retain the horror elements and emotional rawness of it, but this is also a much warmer and more inviting story. What was it about making Locke & Key a more accessible adaptation?

Averill: We are both huge fans of the comics but, in talking about what kind of show we wanted it to make, we wanted it to be warmer and open it up to a broader audience so that more people could enjoy it. [We] still keep very much the things in the comic that are integral to it, and the story and the characters, but [we] tell it in a way that does open it up to more audiences -- adding romance and that YA element to open it up. Again, still keeping Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez very much in the fold. They're in the family and still very much involved in the show. They've given their blessing to make it very much its own thing.

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Before we even check in with the Locke family, we see Dodge and Eden plotting their next move. Now that the secret of Dodge is out, how is it cutting loose and embracing that dark side?

Cuse: We really loved this idea that Kinsey was dating the antagonist. She's our heroine and she's unknowingly involved with the worst person imaginable in the world of the show and how that was going to play out and when she was going to discover it and what the consequences were going to be of Dodge having that inside angle. Also, on a practical level, we loved the idea of Griffin Gluck, who has played a certain kind of character [before], getting to play an antagonist and showing us all his acting chops as the bad guy.

Key Chain binds Dodge in Locke & Key Season 2

Hallea Jones was someone who just came alive in Season 1. We really responded to what she had done with Eden and we decided to write a bunch more for her. She really rose to the challenge. We had so much fun with that character in Season 2. I think the audience is just going to really like it. The two of them are really fun and yet a really scary bad guy duo and how it plays out is something that I can't wait for the audience to see.

Just from a production standpoint, how is it doubling down on the magic that the keys are capable of visually? The first time we see Kinsey, she's practically in a watercolor come to life on that pond.

Averill: It's been fun to expand on different parts of people's heads, like you were saying with Kinsey's head, which we have seen before. But now we have so much more calm and confidence with the key, seeing that you can manipulate your head to look like whatever you want it to look like or play whatever music you want to play at any given time. It's kind of amazing to be able to reintroduce, not just on a visually stunning level but a character level, that this is a very different Kinsey than we saw in Season 1, who was very afraid and clenched.

When we see her again [in Season 2], she's created this beautiful, calm environment that is, of course, going to change as she goes through the season and bad things start happening but, to be able to introduce her in that world, I think was really nice for us.

If Locke & Key as a show is a warmer version of the story, Darby Stanchfield is a much warmer Nina Locke and she gets a lot to do this season: she meets someone! How was it developing her story this season?

Averill: It's so nice to see her with a new love interest! We were thrilled to be able to introduce Brendan Hines, who plays Josh, and give her that kind of connection, especially at a time when she's having this disconnect with her kids because of the fact that she can't understand what they're going through. It's nice to see her in that place where she's not so weighed down by her grief and the possibilities that come with this new relationship even though we're teasing that this new guy may or may not be a good guy.

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If the first season was thematically about how a family reacts to grief and family secrets, what themes should the audience look out for going into Season 2?

Cuse: I think the second season is about these kids realizing they now have the responsibility for these keys and learning the cost and consequences of this responsibility.

Developed for television by Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill and Aron Eli Coleite, Locke & Key Season 2 is available to stream on Netflix.

KEEP READING: Every New Key in Locke & Key Season 2 - and What They Do

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