(Photo by Netflix)
In Western mythology, Lucifer Morningstar proves to be an especially resilient character, whether fulfilling his role in the Fall of Man, playing piano at a Los Angeles nightclub, or helping the LAPD solve crimes. The latter concept formed the basis for the Lucifer television series on Fox, but after three seasons, the network pulled the plug. Netflix then offered the show a second life. And then the streaming giant extended a third life with a sixth and final season, which debuts on the streamer today. And even though the program is definitely ending this time — we asked the executive producers just to be certain — Lucifer will return to Netflix sooner than you might think. More on that later.
As this set of 10 episodes represents the final volume in the Lucifer story, Rotten Tomatoes chatted with stars Tom Ellis and Lauren German, along with executive producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich, about the final chapters of Lucifer Morningstar’s time on Earth, the surprising addition to the series in its final episodes, and the series lasting legacy as one of the very few shows fans saved from oblivion.
(Photo by John P. Fleenor/Netflix)
One thing fans will notice immediately upon starting season 6 is the return of certain shots from the pilot episode. Other elements of that first episode will filter through the season as well. Henderson told us it was part of plan to honor the first season — one of the few things which fell by the wayside in season 5 even when they believed it would be the final year.
“We tried to check off every box, and then we thought we had,” he recalled. “Then starting season 6, we realized, well, there’s a bunch of things we hadn’t hit. We hadn’t hit the opening again. We hadn’t seen John Pankow’s character, Jimmy Barnes, return.”
Those season 1 call backs, mixed in with genre-bending moments like the animated sequence teased in the trailer, represent some of the unlikely choices the production team made in their unlikely final season.
“There were a whole bunch of elements, and the more we dug into that, the more we realized using the pilot as a mirror to our final season would be helpful to really get a sense of closure and create a true ending,” Henderson continued. Of course, what that means for the final episode is up to the viewer to discover when they get to the final moments.
The show might be ending on its own terms, but German could not help but feel bittersweet about reaching its true final chapter.
“I think we ended it with honor and grace,” German said. “We’re really hoping that the fans love it, but it was sad.”
Ellis added, “You could keep going with these things on and on and on and on, but I love the storytelling process and the fact that you’ve got a beginning, middle, and end. And we were privileged enough to know that this was going to be the end. We were able to write that, and that doesn’t always happen.”
(Photo by John P. Fleenor/Netflix)
Although the last season features reflections of that first year and establishes a clear ending for its characters, it will also depart in a significant way — Lucifer and Chloe will not be investigating a new crime every episode. The change, in part, follows on from the choices both made in season 5 to rule in Heaven and serve as a heavenly liaison, respectively. Those choices get a pretty fair examination early on. Their distance from the police also arrives as a consequence of the new mystery the couple must solve.
“That was such a rich thing to explore that we didn’t need to have anything else come in,” Modrovich said of the pivot away from crime of the week or the inclusion of an adversary like Micheal; that said, there will still be crimes for the characters still working at the LAPD, like Ella (Aimee Garcia), to investigate. The fact the police characters continue with their work also feeds into a growing distance for Lucifer and Chloe from their Earthbound friends even as they prepare to assume their new roles.
“There was some adversity for both of our lead characters in this,” Ellis explained. But in looking to their new situation, he added, “They really had to come together and work in a way they’ve not worked before.”
Part of Lucifer and Chloe’s new mystery involves Briana Hildebrand’s Rory, a new character for the final run. Her true nature is teased in the trailers and is something for the viewer to discover themselves, but German offered a few insights into her place within Lucifer.
“It’s almost like her problems with Lucifer are its own character and asking him to be accountable,” she said. “She wants explanations and she wants answers. [Briana] came in and just blew us all away with how talented she is, and her character gives an opportunity to see Lucifer in a whole new light. The fans and the audience have not seen him remotely anywhere around this sort of arena that he’s in with her in this season.”
And though it may seems as though the character will bring the thunder, Ellis teased a “good day in the park” with the character.
Beyond Rory providing a new dimension to the series, characters like Ella, Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), Amenadiel (DB Woodside), and Dan (Kevin Alejandro) carry on. Although, some of their stories may offer surprising resolutions for the audience. Henderson teased that Ella’s was particularly important to get right because, he said, “Ella is us.”
(Photo by Netflix)
The series is based on the comic book by writer Mike Carey and artists Peter Gross and Dean Ormston – itself based on ideas initially outlined in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman – but the program quickly struck out on its own path while keeping a handful of characters like Amenadiel and Mazikeen. Now in its full form the divergences will create a startling different experience for those well versed in the comic, particularly considering the end state of Lucifer in the comic book. Nevertheless, Henderson believes both tell stories which are, ultimately, very true to Lucifer as a character as he never stops being concerned with freedom of choice and “freedom of who you are.”
“Also, just the idea of creating your own destiny and the limitations on that, but also the internal struggle to break free of those bonds [is key],” he said. “What’s fun is to find our own angle on it through our completely different world and set up that hopefully, in the end, is complementary to what Mike did.”
(Photo by John P. Fleenor/Netflix)
Now that the series is a complete whole, all involved hope the program’s struggle to stay alive — and the fan support when it was first canceled — will always be part of its legacy. Indeed, the original Star Trek, Wynonna Earp, The Expanse, and Manifest are members of that rarified group of shows willed back into existence by its fans.
“I really hope that people remember that side of it, because that doesn’t happen a lot,” Ellis said.
German added, “It really was the fans that saved our show and that’s a huge part of our [story]. The fans are just as important as the show.” She hopes Lucifer does not “outlive that part,” but embeds itself as an aspect of the show’s history, as is the case with Star Trek and Wynonna Earp.
“I love that so much of our story is being the little devil that could,”Modrovich said.
“The show was underestimated and then the fans spoke up and fought on our behalf. I remember like it was yesterday when we were canceled, and the fans tweeted a million tweets in 24 hours, and I was like, ‘Oh, what a nice goodbye,’” Henderson recalled. Then Netflix swooped in and help the series arrived at this finish line. “I love that as our mythology because, to me, the show will only continue because of that moment, because of our fans. That’s rewarding,” he said.
“In the words of Dr. Linda, ‘We fell, but we also rose,’” Modrovich added. “It just made it that much sweeter. We were able to enjoy being [back] … it’s sort of like when you’re faced with a moment of near-death experience, you appreciate life that much more. We did for those three seasons.”
Ellis offered one more thought on the show’s legacy: “I’d also hope that people can reflect on that one day and go, ‘Of course that’s unique and it’s about positivity and people coming together, pushing in one direction, and what that can actually achieve.’”
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Although Ellis, German, and the producers have finished their journey with Lucifer Morningstar, the character already has plans to return to Netflix in the near future as part of the long-in-the-works TV adaptation of The Sandman. Played in the upcoming series by Gwendoline Christie at a point before Lucifer quit Hell, fans will see the character in a new way. Lucifer also recurred in The Sandman comics and, as it happens, his eventual decision to abdicate his domain plays a crucial part in one of the series most pivotal storylines. And as on Lucifer, he found a respite at a West Coast nightclub called Lux; of course, as we’ve already seen him retire to Los Angeles, it’s possible his next manifestation may choose a different place for his second act — or does it count as a fifth act? — but wherever he ends up, it just proves how tenacious the Devil can be.
Lucifer season 6 is now streaming on Netflix.