In Part 2 of our exclusive interview about Season 3 of LUCIFER (Monday nights on Fox Network), executive producer/show runner Joe Henderson talks series mythology, the addition of Tom Welling to the cast as a series regular, and more.
ASSIGNMENT X: What will Tom Welling be doing as LAPD lieutenant Marcus Pierce?
JOE HENDERSON: This man is so talented. Here’s what I love about Pierce. We haven’t had an authority figure on our show. Our characters run around, they solve cases, but no one’s come around and said, “How are you guys doing this? What are you doing?” So when Lieutenant Marcus Pierce shows up, he’s like, “Wait, what exactly is going on?” Ella [the police coroner played by Aimee Garcia] and Dan [the police detective played by Kevin Alejandro] and Chloe [police detective and Lucifer’s true love, played by Lauren German] and Lucifer [played by Tom Ellis], they’re getting along now. There will always be fights, but there’s a rhythm. This is the character who comes in and blows it all up. This is the character who comes in and goes, “What are you guys doing?” And to have a character who can be – “antagonist” is the wrong word, because he’s just trying to figure out how this stuff works. He’s just trying to lead the precinct. But to have someone who’s coming in, going, “How do we run this well when you guys are doing this crazy stuff,” that’s a fun toy to play with. And Tom Welling is such a joy and such a nice dude. And he just immediately melded with the cast in a way that was a relief and a joy.
Pierce has got an eye on Chloe, or at least will eventually. So what’s fun is, you’ve got the super-handsome dude showing up, and then you’ve got the Devil showing up, and then you’ve got the thing of like, “Oh, hey, you’re the big guy coming in, swinging his everything.” And Chloe might be frustrated at first, but in Season 2, we pushed the will-they/won’t-they of Lucifer and Chloe. In Season 3, we really want to explore a love triangle. Pierce is a tough guy, but a good guy. Lucifer is a lech, but a good guy. We want to play, Pierce is much more Chloe’s rhythm. He’s a cop who believes in the rules implicitly. He can be very difficult in very different ways, but he much more follows Chloe’s moral path than Lucifer does. So who do you choose? And really exploring that duality is a lot of the fun of the season. We will definitely get into more mythological stuff as we go on, but right now, the idea was, really explore a love triangle in this police world.
AX: How much is Season 3 going to be procedural, and how much is it going to be serialized?
HENDERSON: We are going to try to replicate the formula of the last year, which is, every episode will have a serialized element, we will always have a case of the week, and honestly, I like the cases, because Lucifer makes every case about himself, so every case is an opportunity for Lucifer to explore whatever he’s going through. The fun of it is, is the case appropriate, or is it not, but does Lucifer make it about himself anyway? So that’s the fun to me.
AX: Are we going to get any more mythology this season as far as how angels and demons work?
HENDERSON: To me, our show always has to be balanced. And I love the mythology – I’m a mythology guy, always balance the mythological with the case. So there will always be a case of the week, but there will always be mythology. For example, I may have slowly snuck in one of my favorite characters from LUCIFER, who will be slowly seeded into the season. Will we see this character? Maybe, maybe not, but we are laying the breadcrumbs. There are mythological elements that will always be on the show. We have a demon from Hell. We are not going to run away from that. We have a character who can go to Hell at times. These are our toys, but we try to use them carefully, we try to use them when the characters demand it. That’s both the fun and the challenge of our show, but we will never walk away from the mythology. That is what makes the show sing.
AX: Last season, Lucifer’s therapist Linda, played by Rachael Harris, ended up in trouble and it looked like she was going to lose her license. Is that storyline continuing into Season 3?
HENDERSON: I love Rachael Harris, and I love what she’s done with the character. And the first two seasons, Linda was very much the bouncing board, like, let’s use her to dig into other characters. But very slowly, we tried to also dig into Linda and show the cracks. And her near-death experience will be our beginning to really show the cracks and really dig into the character of Linda. One of our big goals in Season 3 is to learn more about who Linda is, but also break her apart a little bit and put her back together, because Rachael Harris is such a good actress. Also, that character is so rich. So many times, you get the therapist who lets everyone bounce off them, but their story could be the most interesting one. You just don’t know [that], because they’re always listening. And it’s time for her to stop listening, and time for us to start listening to Dr. Linda. And that’s one of the things we want to do.
AX: Any thoughts of bringing in Peter Bogdanovich as Linda’s shrink, the way he played the therapist for Lorraine Bracco’s psychiatric professional character on THE SOPRANOS?
HENDERSON: Oh, my God. You have no idea how many times we have wanted and discussed bringing Peter Bogdanovich in. Peter, if you’re listening or reading, please call us. How great would it be to do something like that? We’re a phone call away.
AX: And is Amenadiel, Lucifer’s angel brother played by D.B. Woodside, going to continue to pine for his ex-lover, the demon Maze, played by Lesley-Anne Brandt?
HENDERSON: These are great questions. So Amenadiel’s arc in the last two seasons was very much a challenge of faith, and very much, he failed, because he didn’t believe his Father [God, had confidence in him], and then his Father proved that actually, Amenadiel was his favorite son. So Season 3 is all about Amenadiel going, “You know what? I got test after test – I failed it. I’m not failing again. Now I’m going to stand up, now I’m going to prove that I am actually deserving of this.” Season 2, we deconstructed Amenadiel. Season 3, it’s all about him proving why he should be the favorite son, but we’re going to make it really, really hard on him.
AX: And is LUCIFER ever going to mention the son of God who was apparently here and left after thirty-three years?
HENDERSON: [laughs] We are taking a page from the comic book [LUCIFER is based on a series of comics by Mike Dringenberg and Sam Kieth, which itself is a spinoff of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN graphic novels], which is, do not open that can of worms. Mike Carey actually wrote a forward to one of the comics, where he very smartly said that if you bring up Jesus, it just unravels everything on your mythology, but if you don’t bring him up, you’re fine. So we’ve just come to the philosophy of, we’re just not going to deal with that right now. If we ever find a way to do it, we’re interested, but right now, we’re telling our Old Testament story. That’s not to say he didn’t exist – obviously, he did, [as illustrated by] Father Frank and other things, but it’s not a story we’re telling right now. The comic book was very smart about it, and we will follow their lead.
AX: SUPERNATURAL has gone twelve seasons with God and Lucifer as sometimes onscreen characters and gotten around that issue, so …
HENDERSON: Right? And by the way, we should all be so lucky and do it so well. We shouted out to SUPERNATURAL, who shouted out to us. I don’t know if you saw, but they have Mark Pellegrino, who plays Lucifer, a couple years ago, they did a shout-out to us …
AX: SUPERNAURAL’s Lucifer had a line about, “What am I gonna do, go to L.A. and run a club?”
HENDERSON: That was very nice of them, I really appreciated it.
AX: Even though you are shooting Season 3 in Los Angeles, you actually shot several episodes earlier this year in Vancouver that haven’t aired yet. John Billingsley was in one of them …
HENDERSON: Yes. First of all, John Billingsley was amazing. So what happened was, we thought we were doing eighteen episodes, and then we found out we were doing twenty-two. They [Fox] said, “Listen, we only want to make the eighteen-episode arc, but we want to order more episodes, and if we find room in our schedule, we’ll air them in the spring, but more likely, they’ll air in Season 3.” So those four episodes are airing in Season 3. so we have these four episodes, and we’ve laced them through the top of Season 3. Towards the end, we knew they were going to be in Season 3. So what we did is, we wrote the episodes early, and we made them standalone stories. For example, the third episode to air [in Season 3] is one of our standalones, but I doubt you’ll be able to tell, because it’s a Maze-centric episode that really starts off her story for Season 3, because we knew this would be one of the things we’d be doing. John Billingsley is in Episode 2:21, which is airing early in Season 3. It might be one of the best episodes we have made. That is our weird, slightly bizarre TWILIGHT ZONE episode. And he’s fantastic.
They have some L.A. shoot in them, because while we shot in Vancouver, we also shot L.A. splinter. So we have an episode which is a flashback episode, when Lucifer first came to L.A. And a very big amount of it is in L.A. That was part of our challenge for the first two seasons is, we always shot some in L.A., so you’d be like, “Wait, I thought this was Vancouver, but that’s definitely L.A.” That was the challenge and fun of the show was, we would try to get a scene or two per episode to make you feel like you were there. But now, this season, every shot, you are there.
AX: Which studio are you shooting at?
HENDERSON: We are on the Warner Brothers lot. We are in the largest soundstage on the Warner Brothers lot, and it is awesome. It is so exciting, there is a single soundstage which has the Warner Brothers logo – that’s ours. We are proud to bring production back to L.A. I’ve never shot on the L.A. lot before – I could not be more thrilled.
AX: What else should we know about LUCIFER Season 3?
HENDERSON: Here’s what I would tease. Lucifer got his angel wings back. He doesn’t like that. If Lucifer is told to go left, he goes right. If he has angel wings, he re-embraces his Devil side. So the fun of it is, Chloe’s been a good influence on Lucifer. And he’s getting nicer and nicer, and part of him wonders, is that part of the reason that Dad [God] gave me these wings back, assuming it’s Dad? Maybe it’s time I go in the other direction. So we’re going to see the Devil re-embrace a bit of who he used to be, and we’re going to play with the toys that we already have.
AX: If it’s not Dad, is there somebody else it might be?
HENDERSON: In Lucifer’s perspective, it’s always Dad. But someone knocked him over the back of the head. Someone on Earth did this. So in the premiere, the question is who. And that becomes the big string that we pull at the top of the season. So that’s the big examination – “I know it’s Dad, but was it Amenadiel? Was it someone else? Or, if it wasn’t Dad, was it something darker?”
We [Henderson and fellow executive producer/show runner Ildy Modrovich] are on Season 3 of a show that we love. We have almost the exact same writing staff that we had – even though we’re redoing our crew, we have the exact same cast that we had. We have hit our groove in a way that makes me so happy. So right now, all we’re focused on is getting this show done, and honestly, I love it so much.
This interview was conducted during Fox Network’s portion of the Summer 2017 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.
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Article: LUCIFER: Showrunner and executive producer Joe Henderson on Season 3 and mythology – Exclusive Interview – Part 2