‘Lucifer’s’ Tom Ellis, Lauren German and Showrunners Break Down the Twists and Message of the Final Season
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched the sixth and final season of “ Lucifer ,” streaming now on Netflix.
After a Fox cancelation, Netflix revival, a planned ending and then an unexpected second revival, “Lucifer” has come to an end — albeit with plenty of twists.
Though the series ended where showrunners Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich intended — with Lucifer ( Tom Ellis ) and Chloe ( Lauren German ) rehabilitating doomed souls in Hell — the unexpected sixth season led to the arrival of one of the biggest twists of the series: Rory (Brianna Hildebrand), the time-traveling grown daughter of the duo.
With Rory enraged over her father’s apparent abandonment, and Lucifer insisting he would never repeat what his dad did to him, it allowed the series to dive deeper into the relationship between Lucifer and Chloe, as they tried to figure out what happened.
Ultimately, Rory realized Lucifer’s ability to positively influence the seemingly damned was something he needed to pursue. She made him promise to go to Hell and continue helping people — and to also not change anything about her upbringing, so she could be the person she grew into.
The series concluded with Rory going back to her future timeline, in time to say goodbye to a dying Chloe. In the aftermath, Chloe was greeted by Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), now God, and was taken to Hell to reunite with Lucifer.
Here, Ellis, German, Henderson and Modrovich break down the final season’s biggest moments, the unexpected milestones, and saying goodbye to the series.
Previously you shared that Season 6 was Act 6 of the planned finale, just “completely explored and blown up and examined in a very, very detailed manner.” What elements of the series finale were always a part of your endgame?
Ildy Modrovich: The whole notion of Lucifer deciding to go down to Hell to turn it into kind of a rehab center, that was the the Season 5, Act 6 notion that we landed on. Also, Amenadiel becoming God and just a lot of the main endings for our characters. But the big final chapter of Rory, and Chloe and Lucifer discovering they have a daughter, that was the new part that we realized was the final chapter we needed to tell. If, in this journey of father-son, God and Lucifer had found resolution — really the start of resolution in Season 5 — the final chapter really of Lucifer’s journey would be, what does it feel like to be God or to be the dad to the child who feels hurt, who feels abandoned?
Joe Henderson: The challenge of it was, to Ildy’s point, we wanted to get to the exact same ending, but we found this opportunity of what if Lucifer becomes his own father? But if he becomes his own father, or feels like he becomes his own father, that means he has to abandon his child. And so we were like, “OK well, how could that possibly happen?” And that simple question is what unspooled the entire Rory story. That was our ending, the very end, the whole time. Obviously, there’s a lot of different steps to get there.
Tom and Lauren, how did you feel about this new piece of the story?
Tom Ellis: The notion of Lucifer actually having learned something through this whole experience of walking with humanity and implementing it in some kind of calling was where we were headed. How we got there was enriched by this Rory storyline. It was something that I didn’t really, truly realize until performing it, but the notion of Lucifer being a dad, and what that means to you, what it brings out of you — feelings that you’ve never experienced before — I think that enriched that journey to getting to where we wanted to get to. So, even though it wasn’t a chapter that we thought we were going to tell, when it became apparent that was the chapter we were going to tell, it made the end of the book even more satisfying.
Lauren German: I love that Chloe gets to be with Rory and live a life with her daughter [after Lucifer goes back to Hell]. You understand by the end what all of Rory’s problems with Lucifer were — that feeling of abandonment, which, they, on their journey, get to rectify. But Chloe gets to be a mom and watch Rory grow up. And then the spin with that is that the people that want to see Chloe and Lucifer together, they get what they want as well. And that last knock on the door saying, “I thought you could use a partner,” that was such a smart way that the writers’ room and Joe and Ildy and Tom — they all collaborated. There’s such a beautiful mix of saying goodbye to Lucifer, being heartbroken over that, but also getting to be there for Rory and then that cherry on top with Chloe getting to spend eternity with Lucifer, helping people.
In your mind, was Lucifer able to look in on Chloe and his family during the time that they were apart or was it really a total separation from the point he left until Chloe’s death?
Henderson: I think it’s a little interpretable. To me, it’s the beauty of the sacrifice. There’s one line that Rory gives where she’s like, “Don’t change me,” and, to me, that is such a fascinating thing for Lucifer to hear because as someone who’s always wanted to be his own person, that simple request, that heartfelt desire — I like who I am, I like who I become — her asking that of him, I feel like he would honor that, despite how much it might hurt him, despite how sad he would be. But also, he knows that Chloe and Rory have had a good life and are happy together. And there is that beauty of speaking to the single parent and the daughter who come together and live a good life. And I think all of that is a wonderful thing to explore.
Modrovich: I think that the nugget was to go from this selfish character to, again, parenthood being almost the most selfless feelings that you get where you just want them to be happy. And I think both Lucifer’s character and Rory’s character realizing that through all the trials and the tribulations and the pain comes who you are today. And I think that’s the message that we all can relate to: not wanting to necessarily change the bad things that have happened to us because then we wouldn’t be who we are. And I think that was the loudest message of Season 6.
What was the collaboration process like in crafting the dynamic between Lucifer and Chloe with Rory, especially given the time travel elements?
German: To be honest with you, there were times where I was truly confused. [ Laughs. ] But the great part is usually someone in the scene would be explaining it, and I just felt like an audience member for a good deal of Season 6. Because it’s trying to keep track: she knows what’s going to happen, but we don’t; we’re learning through her. But what the writers and Tom did so brilliantly is just tying in all of these elements of what really makes this secret child, played by Brianna Hildebrand — brilliantly — what makes her tick? Why is she here? What’s the through line, what’s the subtext? And a lot of that answer is abandonment. And so, through Rory’s abandonment, Lucifer can actually access his abandonment, which he’s talked about both on-and-off, consciously-unconsciously the entire series.
Ellis: I think, by nature, Brianna is quite a shy person. It feels like an achievement when you draw a smile out of her. And I felt like my natural trying to impress myself upon Brianna was actually paralleling what Lucifer was trying to inject himself into — trying to find out, “What do you want? What is it you want from me?” And at the same time, slowly falling in love with this person, and feeling responsible for them. And trying to work out why the hell he would abandon them, because he’s absolutely adamant himself. Because of [his history], he would never abandon anyone; it’s ridiculous, preposterous. And coming to the realization of why that happens and why it has to happen and all of those things was great. But Brianna, she was a gift. She was another gift that we were brought from the universe when making this show; it was great. It was really simple actually, in that regard.
Henderson: One of the things we wanted to do is we wanted the time travel to be out of the way as much as possible, so that we could dig into the family dynamic. So [it’s a] closed loop paradox, very simple: she came back, she was here, she goes back to the future, it always happened. We didn’t want Season 6 to be about time travel, we wanted it to be about a daughter. And so being able to do that would allow us to just focus into everything that Lauren and Tom were talking about, which is just, get out of the way and let this unspool slowly. [We reveal] “I’m your daughter” at the end of Episode 3, [then] “I’m the daughter of both of you” and then “I’m from the future.”
Though Chloe and Lucifer have always been at the center of the story, Season 6 was an even deeper dive into their relationship.
Henderson: To me, Season 6 is a love letter to the entire show, but in particular it’s a love letter to the love between Lucifer and Chloe, and the relationship that had formed the crux of our show. So much of this season was going back to the pilot and going back to those early moments — even having the scene with [Lucifer] the the patrol cop [he met in Season 1]. When we had the abridged ending, we knew that we were going to split them apart and then bring them back together. And so, when we had a Season 6, we were like, “Let’s tell the story of them being together before we end them; let’s tell the Deckerstar story that we want to watch because we are the biggest fans of this show.” [ Laughs .]
Modrovich: With a lot of shows, when your two will they/won’t they characters finally get together, I think there’s a worry that, “Oh it’s going to be boring” or “Oh no, the chase is the fun.” But we knew that we wanted to do it like a real relationship, which is there are still ups and downs, there are still problems, there’s still things you have to tackle. Some of them, they’re tackling together, which is like, “Let’s go get our daughter back.” And then there are some — Chloe’s addiction story was something she was going through entirely on her own. And Lucifer dealing with his feelings of being the abandoner was something he was going through on his own. And they can help each other through those. So, it wasn’t just this happy, happy, happy, happy [couple]. But hopefully it kept it deep and rich.
After spending so many years playing these characters, what was the most rewarding part of really diving into the nitty-gritty of this partnership?
German: Normally just Chloe toting her badge and her gun and worried about Lucifer. But in this season, there are so many fun things to play. Lucifer and I are more or less on the same page now — we’re together, we’re saying “I love you,” we’re supportive — but we still have issues. Obviously Rory comes in and all that. But the rod addiction storyline was really, really fun because Lucifer and I get into it. We fight at the penthouse and then I have that really fun fight with Lesley-Ann [Brandt]’s Maze, where we go at it. And then there’s this deeper layer of love and commitment that you get to see with Lucifer and Chloe, more of, “A life’s going to come at us, but we’re doing this together. We’re a team. I love you, I believe in you.” Even when Lucifer expresses his insecurities about, “I don’t know if I can be God, I don’t know if I’m good enough.” And I’m saying you, “You died for me.” [ Laughs. ] “What’s a better example of selfless love than that?” And so the love, I feel, is really earned and there. In regards to the love between Lucifer and Chloe, we finally got there, so you get to see them trying to more or less navigate their worlds in this way as a couple.
Ellis: I found them in a place where they were so in love with each other, and they earned this moment of being together, that they wanted to ignore the rest of it. And by ignoring the rest of it, they didn’t really talk about the details about what this means being together and all of these things. And then Lucifer was off doing his thing trying to work out what he actually wants to do. Chloe is becoming addicted to Amenadiel’s rod — understandable — and they’re in love with each other and they’re together, but they’re also not paying attention to each other, really. And then it’s Rory’s presence that brings them back together and unifies them, not only as a couple, but as parents. That’s an interesting dynamic to see them work together as a parenting team. They all felt like natural progressions. We’ve spent five years earning this moment of Chloe and Lucifer of being together. But we’ve talked about before: What does that mean, Chloe and Lucifer being together, because one of these people is mortal and one is immortal? Where does that live? And what are we talking about [with] the future? There’s so many questions that still needed to be answered, but their love for each other and their trust in each other is the thing that really kept them on track.
There was an extended animated segment in the final season. Though the show is no stranger to bending genres, how was it portraying these characters in an entirely new format?
German: Oh my gosh, the best. You go to work in your pajamas. You just have to talk into a microphone. The animated world for actors is a cakewalk. We went to this place in Burbank, and what was really cool — thank you Joe and Ildy, and whoever else was involved — they let us record [together]. We were COVID-friendly, but we were in two sound booths with a glass wall between, so we could still look at each other and move and respond off of each other. And then Tom did the devil voice, as well, which was so fun to watch. And, yeah, Joe, you killed it with that episode. It was great.
Ellis: It does certainly go down as one of our more bonkers episodes. I remember, on a FaceTime with Joe, when we were talking about Season 6, we were talking about things we could do. And there was a show that had just come out [and] they were doing their final season completely animated, and we both went, “Hold on a minute.” And we started running with that idea. And then finding ourselves — me and Lauren — in a sound booth, voicing these characters and only having really, really — at that point — rough sketches of what the animation was, but just the reference of it’s kind of like that Hanna-Barbera, old school cartooning. It was, again, just one of those moments where you go, “Are we’re still making the same show that we used to make?” [ Laughs. ]
Henderson: We got the the “Harley Quinn” animators, who were in between seasons. And so we were so, so fortunate because they brought so much to it, and they just had a blast being able to work with Lauren and Tom and what they gave them it was. It was just an amazingly awesome experience.
German: Yeah, shout out to them, honestly, that whole team who worked on the animated episode. They did a great job. I [recently] saw some screenshots. The animation’s beautiful; they killed it. I mean, Tom does have a chin that looks like Goliath’s scrotum, but other than that…
Henderson: And kudos to Tom for letting me add as much butt as possible. I think you actually pushed me for the more butt-like design.
To go back to Amenadiel’s ending, at what point in developing the end did you land on that? And in your mind, how did that decision impact how much he was able to be there for his son and chosen family?
Modrovich: We knew we wanted Amenadiel to take the throne at the end of Season 5. It was a pretty clear-cut decision for us because we knew the angel who wanted the power the least was the one who should wield it. It also felt like a perfect end point for his character. Amenadiel started off as an angel full of hubris and pride who had always looked down on humanity, but by the end of Season 6, he was the one with the most sympathy and appreciation for us mere mortals. Who better to watch over us? And being there for his own son and family wasn’t a problem in the context of Amenadiel’s new system. Since he planned to turn the Silver City into more of a democratic group endeavor, he knew he’d have plenty of time to spend with Charlie.
Outside of Chloe/Lucifer/Rory, the majority of the characters had their real story end come ahead of the final hour. What led to that decision, and can you speak a little to how everyone ended up where they did?
Henderson: The Season 5 finale was such a celebration of the family Lucifer had built on earth — almost everyone coming together to fight alongside him. For this season, we wanted the series finale to highlight the new family Lucifer discovers — his daughter Rory. We wanted it to be intimate compared to the bombastic Season 5 finale — a mother and a father fighting for their daughter. On top of that, we wanted to have an entire episode dedicated to saying goodbye to the characters we loved so much. Those two dovetailed together when we realized we could see Lucifer say goodbye to everyone except Chloe in the second to last episode, and then leave our devil and our detective more vulnerable than we’d ever seen them — without their wonderful support system.
As for the characters’ endings — we knew we wanted Maze and Eve riding off into the sunset. And we all loved that their sunset was beating up bad guys while making out a bunch. For Linda, we wanted her to be right back where we left her — helping people, but so much stronger and wiser for the experience of Lucifer having been in her life, and continuing to raise that beautiful baby. We always wanted Ella finding out the truth, but boy we were all thrilled to also finally let our girl with the broken picker end up with a good guy. And Dan / Charlotte — I mean, how could you not? We always knew we’d end up with Dan in Heaven but being able to get Tricia back one last time made it so very perfect. Also, one last pudding joke — how could we resist?
Ella (Aimee Garcia) finally learned the truth about Lucifer being the literal devil in the final season. How did that change the dynamic, both in writing and performing, to have the whole ensemble in on the secret?
Modrovich: That was just always a discussion because she is our one character of faith. We’ve always gone back and forth with does she need to know, because she knows in her heart that it’s real and it exists and God is real. And so we battled ourselves a lot on it, and realized that the fun thing to do for her and what we hadn’t done, is for somebody to actively find it out. To actively solve the mystery. And so we wanted to give her that extra story about finding out and also to not be like, “Wait, what? It’s God? The devil?” Because that was how most people would react. But to go, “OK yeah, I know, but the fact that you didn’t tell me…” To be hurt by it — to be hurt that her friends didn’t let her in on a secret. And of course, Lucifer was like, “I’ve always told you.”
Henderson: Bringing her into the secret, we got to shoot a scene where everyone was together for the first time, with the [Eve and Maze] wedding. That was the first time the entire cast has ever shared a single scene. And it was COVID, so it wasn’t as kumbaya and everyone hugging as you wish, but it was wonderful to be able to culminate the series in that.
German: People would never know this, but we had these very aggressive loud drones constantly over the wedding party — over the chairs and over the the walkway. And [director] Nathan [Hope] would yell out with his little megaphone, “Incoming!” And we’re like, “Thank you, we could hear it 9 miles away.” We shot that at the Disney Hall. Beautiful, beautiful venue. And we shot the interior of that as well where [Ella] has her drunken wedding moment. [ Laughs. ]
Henderson: Those are the things you find when you finish the season and think you’re done. I mean, Lucifer versus Chloe, we hadn’t done that the entire time, and at the end of Season 5, we realized Chloe, in theory, still is super strong. And it’s like, what an incredible story. Just the the iconography of the two of them fighting and mano a mano and it’s an even fight was amazing. Yeah, these are the things where it’s like you get to an end and you find beginnings.
As you look back, is there a particular moment that means the most to you?
German: I would say the last day of shooting. Tom and I went from the being on the throne, kissing, to Chloe walking to the piano, saying goodbye. That day was so beautiful and exemplary of our show and the kindness of our crew and our writers and our cast. Really a lovely set to be on; I can say that confidently. And watching our whole crew on that last day, just everybody had a part in what we were shooting. That just a brought it all home for me: what a lovely show, what lovely people we had the opportunity to work with for so long. And just people half-crying and weird COVID hugging all day long. We had a champagne tiki bar; it was a magical day. [ Laughs. ] And then Tom and I got to finish the day with the last scene of the show, which is just beautiful. Then we all shared a hug, and Tom and Ildy and Joe gave lovely speeches. I’ll never forget that day,
Ellis: There’s so many memories, but I think I really will never forget, and what will always sum up kind of the spirit of the show as well, was when we got saved. We all really deeply cared about it. And to find out how many other people in the world deeply cared about the show that we deeply cared about and they actually watched it and really loved it and didn’t want it to go away, was so overwhelming. And so vindicating, so just energizing. It was really special and that doesn’t always happen. And certainly for shows to get canceled and come back doesn’t always happen. And for a show to get canceled and get come back and then become even more popular after they’ve come back certainly wasn’t [expected]. So, that good feeling, that not giving in, that positive, “If we believe this can happen, then it could happen.” The hope that surrounded the show was always there.
Modrovich: Yeah, it was kind of like that Peter Pan moment, where you just wish for something and then it happens. You’re in your own corner in the world, doing something like, “Well, we get it. I guess, maybe nobody else is getting it, but we get it, we love it.” And then suddenly you’re like, “Other people like it, too?” It was very affirming and inspiring.
Henderson: We got to make a show that was fun and beautiful and with great people and have fun doing it. That is a gift.
Modrovich: Once in a lifetime.