[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the series finale and final season of Lucifer. Read at your own risk!]
After a six-year journey, Netflix's popular fantasy police procedural Luciferhas come to its bittersweet conclusion. The road to Hell hasn't always been easy for the Lucifer saga as the series' cast and crew navigated their beloved characters through cancellation, a social media-fueled revival, and a surprise extra season renewal.
"So much of the show is about choice and free will vs. fate," co-showrunner Ildy Modrovich told TV Guide. "Ultimately by the end of the series Lucifer really realizes that they are linked. We choose our path and that becomes our fate. I guess you can kind of say the same for our involvement in the show. Odd things happened along the way, [but] I feel like every kind of setback the show has had, has been a really great thing in the end. And has led the show in a direction that maybe it wouldn't have gone."
The direction of Season 6 sees Lucifer (Tom Ellis) choose to deal head-on with the leftover issues of abandonment, self-doubt, and maturation of love for the family and friends he's made during his 10-year stay on Earth. The finale unearths the lingering pain, secrets, and most importantly asks our characters what sacrifices they are willing to make in order to get to their happy ending.
For Maze (Lesley Ann-Brandt) it was finally figuring out how to lower her defenses and combat her self-sabotaging behavior before her wedding night with Eve (Inbar Lavi). In Ella's (Aimee Garcia) case, it was maintaining faith and courage even if you are more susceptible to being hurt by those you love. Dan (Kevin Alejandro) and Linda (Rachael Harris) dealt with the crushing contemplation of feeling their own self-imposed (and false ) inadequacies while trying to make peace with themselves to find their higher purpose. In Season 5, Amenadiel (DB Woodside) decided to stay on Earth with his son and join the police force in order to combat injustice, but Season 6 deals with him coming to terms with Lucifer's hesitance to take the throne and his own acceptance with becoming the new ruler of Heaven instead.
And lastly, the ultimate series finale sacrifice came from Lucifer and Chloe (Lauren German); losing each other. Even if it is a temporary blip in Lucifer's eternal existence, the gut-punch still remains when Chloe and Lucifer make the decision to live their lives separately for the sake of their time-traveling daughter from the future, Rory (Brianna Hildebrand).
In the last remaining 15-minutes of the bittersweet finale, we saw Chloe and Lucifer saying their goodbyes and going their separate ways; Chloe remained on Earth as the LAPD's new lieutenant while also doubling as AmenaGod's correspondent and Lucifer realized his true calling is rehabilitating Hell's wayward souls up to Heaven. It wasn't until Chloe lives out the remainder of her human life (and dies!) that she is finally reunited with her (now literal) soulmate. As if Deckerstar didn't suffer enough by dying in the Season 5 finale, the writers of Lucifer threw a lifelong separation into the mix.
Though the case is closed for Lucifer and the gang on Earth; there is something comforting about knowing that in Hell, reigning with Chloe by his side, there is a hell loop full of never-ending cases to solve. TV Guide talked to both showrunners Modrovich and Joe Henderson about Deckerstar working together in the afterlife, the end of the journey, and crafting that heartbreakingly beautiful series finale.
How close was this to your earliest idea of how the show would end?
: The very final scene with Chloe going to Lucifer and saying "I thought you could use a partner," is how [the second half of Season 5] was going to end. So that scene remained intact. How we got there was a huge difference.
In previous drafts did you explore Chloe gaining immortality or Lucifer losing his immortality? Or Amenadiel not becoming God, but sticking to Lucifer being God instead?
Joe Henderson: We always wanted Amenadiel to be God, that always felt right. I always felt like that was the end of his journey. Amenadiel being God's favorite son who was so proud and then learned humility only to realize he didn't want to be God anymore. Which in turn, made him perfect to be God because if you don't want to be something, but are also good at it, that feels like a great mixture of capability, but also humility. We talked at times about exploring Lucifer being mortal and things like that, but we were pretty set on exploring the bittersweet angle of Chloe living her life, and Lucifer living his life and realizing they both had their own paths but that they'd be together in the end.
Modrovich: The difference between [Deckerstar] and another couple is that we had immortality to play with. So we knew they would be together forever, no matter what. And we kind of like to reside in the bittersweet and gray areas. A resounding happy ending just felt wrong, but so did something tragic. So the ending was our sweet spot by having them sacrifice something, but to then ultimately end up with each other.
Why was it important to bring Rory in as an adult instead of having the traditional means of Chloe being pregnant with a baby and having Lucifer come to terms with his lingering parental anxieties that way?
Henderson: To me, it was because we wanted Lucifer to face himself. And what better way for the eternal teenager to face that and have this rebellious young adult who sort of represents him in a very different way? You know, the rebellious youth who is mad at her father. We really wanted to lean into the parallel of Lucifer becoming like his dad and having to deal with a different version of himself having to understand what his father was like, but also see himself from a completely different perspective.
Modrovich: As cute as babies are, you can't really have that deep of a conversation with them.
Now that Chloe reigns with Lucifer in Hell, do you imagine the others being in Heaven with AmenaGod setting up lunch dates with everybody, assuming they can travel back and forth between the two realms in the afterlife?
: I think AmenaGod is in Heaven while Lucifer and Chloe are in Hell for the most part, but I guess they only have to be there until they catch up to the end of the paradox. So sure, probably!
Henderson: We haven't gotten asked this one before so… In my headcanon, Amenadiel created a meteor shower in Los Angeles that brutally murdered all of his friends so they would come up to Heaven sooner and hang out with him. That's my headcanon
Talk to us about choosing a Maze and Eve wedding over a Deckerstar wedding; and how will you live with your decision after it airs publicly?
Modrovich: I think a Lucifer and Chloe wedding felt too syrupy sweet to us, and also not necessary. That wasn't what Lucifer and Chloe were about. They've been anything but traditional. Maze and Eve just felt right, because Maze is also anything but the type to walk down the aisle, but we felt that with Eve it could be fun and hopefully a fresher way to do a wedding.
Henderson: Lucifer and Chloe are partners, that's what we've always said. To me, their partnership almost transcends a wedding. They are partners for eternity and I think that's what makes them unique and beautiful.
Both of you have spoken about whether or not you all wanted Ella to ever find out about the celestials in her life. At what point did you decide that she should know? The breakdown that she has in front of everyone in Episodes 7 and 8 is just gutwrenching...
Henderson: The fact that she was the last character to find out was such a fun toy and it came down to; how do we earn [the reveal?] How do we take this character of faith who we've kept from knowing— because we appreciate the fact that she doesn't need to know—and dramatize it? When we settled on the idea that Ella is the ultimate FOMO character who always wants to be in on the secret or at the party. We then explored how hurt she would be, how emotionally devastated she would be, and how she would feel like being left out reflected an inadequacy for her where she was lesser in her mind. Then all of a sudden the opportunity to really dig into her character in a whole new way appeared. We also never had a character put the pieces together on their own before, and of course, our brilliant forensic scientist would be the one to do so while also discovering an impending apocalypse.
Lucifer has been struggling with his ability to control his invulnerability the entire series, but more specifically in Season 5, fans thought it was solved. However, it crops back up in Episode 8 as Lucifer feels Linda, Chloe, and Rory don't believe in him anymore. How did this manifest itself again toward the end of the series?
Henderson: We had one last psychological roadblock for Lucifer, which was leftover from Season 5, which was Lucifer's invulnerability. And we knew it was the last sort of thing to explore with him finally self-actualizing to the point where he could finally control that one thing he couldn't control. Through dramatizing Linda's frustration of thinking she's a failed therapist, Rory's frustration because she doesn't know if she can trust her father loving her, and Chloe's frustration because Lucifer seems to self-sabotage and not control his own emotions, we then had all of these storylines coalescing around one simple thing; someone being afraid to be vulnerable. So you've got all these dynamics and it's just a very simple emotional crux. And so building them towards that was extremely satisfying because so much of our show has been a linchpin on this idea of Lucifer being vulnerable around Chloe. And when we took that away in Season 5, it was very important for us to find a way to speak to it in the most emotionally relevant manner.
"Yabba Dabba Do Me" foreshadows this concept of what happens in the end, but was it always the plan going into Season 6 to end with Lucifer becoming the therapist of Hell?
Henderson: Yeah, the fun of that episode was basically [seeing] this could be its own show. Lucifer and Chloe in Hell going around and detective-ing while trying to figure out the emotional issues and guilt of [souls in Hell] and then finding the truth and sending them up to Heaven. It's something we played with a lot. Then we realized [we could make an] episode to give people a sense of what Lucifer and Chloe are up to in the afterlife.
Modrovich: There were a lot of things that came together in the final season; one of them was the fact that Dan ended up in Hell. We knew he didn't deserve to be there. And then we knew that Lucifer had his own special skillset; he knows what it's like to fall and rise. That's what he brings to the table. While being God might be the pinnacle of celestial existence— it wasn't Lucifer's calling. So we kind of knew that Dan's predicament and Lucifer searching for his [path] kind of tailed together.
Let's talk about the impact of choice in your own lives and on the show. You both chose to leave your respective locations to become writers; you both chose to stay on even though production moved from Los Angeles to Canada; you both championed the show during its cancellation and joined the #SaveLucifer movement. And you chose to continue the story for a final season when you didn't have to. Now you've got this giant pop-culture icon of a show on your hands… I mean how are you all feeling as it comes to an end?
Modrovich: It was the best decision we ever made, all of them. And you know so much of the show is about choice versus free will versus fate. I think ultimately by the end of the series Lucifer really realizes that they are linked. We choose our path and that becomes our fate. And I guess you can kind of say the same for our involvement in the show. Odd things happened along the way, and I don't necessarily believe in " things happen for a reason," but I do believe that you can make lemonade out of lemons. I like that old adage. And I feel like every kind of setback the show has had, has been a really great thing in the end. And has led the show in a direction that maybe it wouldn't have gone. Lucifer getting canceled definitely made us appreciate the show so much more when the fans helped bring it back.
Henderson: I love and agree with that. I think so much of our show is defined by fighting for it; us fighting for it and the fans fighting for it and embracing the curve balls and the twists and the turns. And so much of the fun of this has been sort of being in the trenches with people, fighting for a show we love and not knowing whether or not other people would find it, not knowing whether or not it would be a hit, but knowing we loved it.
Modrovich: It also helped story-wise, especially when we thought Season 5 was our final season and we came up with an ending, and then we got the offer to do a Season 6. We thought 'oh, this is terrible!' We didn't want to stay too long at the party, you know? And we thought we had found a really satisfying ending, but digging back in, we realized that there was so much we hadn't done. And I do feel like this ending is much more emotionally satisfying for our audience than it would have been. This season is cathartic in so many ways for all of our characters too.
And finally, let's talk about that ending, and what is sure to be one of the most iconic Deckerstar kissing moments; the beautifully devastating 360 piano and Hell throne hybrid shot …
Modrovich: It's funny, because this moment was also just a microcosm of what happens a lot of the time in our show where we're told we can't do something, and then something better somehow comes out of it. We were told we didn't have the budget to do what we wanted to do, because there were so many VFX in that final episode, even more so than the Season 5 fight finale. So we were like 'how are we going to do this?' It ended up being such a group effort. The entire crew came up with this plan to do the scene practically. Where the only VFX we ended up needing was to literally drop a background [of Hell] on a green screen. So what we did was we build like a Lazy Susan for the piano bench. And then, manually the crew would swap the piano for the throne. So a bunch of crew members were holding the top of a piano as the camera panned over it, and then more crew members would race over and replace it with pieces of Lucifer's throne while Lucifer and Chloe were going around in that 360-pose; it was like a ballet.
What do you hope fans get out of this?
Henderson: I hope they appreciate the fact that we tried to tell a story that both gives them the ending that we all want, but was also earned. I think it's important to us to tell a story where ultimately Lucifer and Chloe are together, but also shows that life isn't easy. It's never been easy for our heroes. And we wanted to make sure that they earned their happy ending. And we feel like this story did that. And we're just grateful to the fans for going along on the ride with us.
Modrovich: We're the little Devils that could. I hope fans feel emotionally satisfied. I hope that they don't feel like it's an end, but more that it's kind of a beginning for Lucifer and Chloe to ride into the proverbial hellish sunset.
Lucifer is now streaming on Netflix.