There are some big changes afoot in LUCIFER’s third season when the show returns to Fox on Monday nights, beginning October 2. At the end of Season 2, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) – who is actually the Devil, though a very honest individual – almost got together with his true love, LAPD detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German). Then someone bonked him over the head and he woke up naked in the desert, with his angel wings reattached, even though he’d previously cut them off and burned them.
Meanwhile, Lucifer’s mother (Tricia Helfer) has moved on to her own dimension to create new worlds, as befits a goddess. However, the body she inhabited, defense lawyer Charlotte Richards, is still with us. Tom Welling joins the cast this season as police lieutenant Marcus Pierce. Behind the scenes, LUCIFER has moved from shooting primarily in Vancouver to shooting entirely in Los Angeles, where the series is set.
Tom Kapinos adapted LUCIFER from the comic book series by Mike Dringenberg and Sam Kieth, which itself is a spinoff of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN graphic novels. Executive producer Joe Henderson, who with fellow e.p. Ildy Modrovich is LUCIFER’s show runner, previews what’s in store for the series’ angels, demons and ordinary mortals.
ASSIGNMENT X: When you did the Season 2 finale with that final sequence of Lucifer waking in the desert to find that he had wings again, did you know that you were getting picked up, or was that just going to be this amazing metaphor if it ended there?
JOE HENDERSON: At that point, we felt very comfortable that we were getting picked up. When Fox tells you, “Feel free to do a cliffhanger,” you feel very comfortable doing so. But also, what I personally believe in is, every season, you wrap up that season and then leave a tease of what’s to come. I always plan on success. A big part of it was, all right, we want to wrap up the Mom story, we want to give it an ending, and then we want a tease of what’s to come. And we knew we’d be getting to a whole exploration of identity, and we just wanted to make the big swing that would force everyone to come back.
AX: Now that Lucifer has his wings back, what is he going to do about them?
HENDERSON: All I’m going to say is, if you give Lucifer wings and tell him he’s an angel, he’s going to run in the other direction. You tell the Devil he’s good, he’s going to show you how bad he is, and that’s what this season is about. The Devil is back.
AX: Are the wings detachable?
HENDERSON: That is a big question we will ask early on. And/or does Lucifer want to cut them off yet again? He’s got them off before – what’s going to stop him now? Or will he just slice them off again in spite?
AX: Lucifer’s angel brother Amenadiel, played by D.B. Woodside, has lost his wings, but when he had them, they weren’t always in evidence. So how does this work?
HENDERSON: So our angel rules are, there in your back, but they’ll come out when you expose them. They’re hidden until you want them to come forth.
AX: You’ve had some scenes where you were clearly in recognizable Los Angeles locations, but until now, you were mainly shooting in Vancouver. What’s happening with Season 3?
HENDERSON: We are now entirely relocated in Los Angeles. The first two years, we shot in Vancouver, with splinter units in L.A. And now we are shooting entirely in Los Angeles. Our Vancouver crew was amazing, they did amazing work making Vancouver look like L.A. But it’s so much fun being able to shoot Los Angeles for itself and making it a character on the show, it’s been incredible. To shoot on the Warner Brothers lot – I’ve never shot on a lot before – it’s an incredible experience to actually be home.
AX: Tricia Helfer is still a season regular, even though Lucifer and Amenadiel’s Mom has gone off to create her own universe. Does Mom return?
HENDERSON: [The character of] Charlotte Richards is still on the show. And Charlotte Richards is very confused, because she died, and suddenly woke up again, and time had passed, and it appears someone has been walking around, pretending to be her. So what we get is a wonderful opportunity to explore a character who is suddenly wondering what happened to her life, and who was this person living it, and where was she while she was dead? And part of the mystery is, was she in Heaven, was she in Hell, was she somewhere else? And that’s a question she’ll be asking herself when we finally see her again.
AX: Was it tricky to figure out how to keep her character interwoven with everybody else?
HENDERSON: Honestly, we had written a one-season arc for Tricia Helfer. And then we got Tricia Helfer. And the problem is, when you have Tricia Helfer, you don’t want to let go of her, because she is so good. And so as we got towards the end of the season, we started talking, we just started breaking stories, and started coming up with so many ideas of what to do with her character, and what to do with such a talented actress. And honestly, it was one of those situations where we loved the character, we loved the actress so much, that we kept building stories, and a lot of it came from that. The story of Mom ended, but the story of Charlotte Richards suddenly came to life.
AX: There was an episode where Timothy Omundson played a man who might or might not have been channeling Dad, aka God. At least, Mom seemed to think he was. Are we ever going to find out if that really was Dad or not?
HENDERSON: For one thing, Timothy Omundson was quite possibly the greatest guest star we ever had. We adore him. He’s recovering right now – he had a stroke recently and he’s been detailing it on Twitter in a very brave, open way, and it’s awesome. We’ve never had a guest actor come in for one episode and make such an impact on us. He’s part of the family, even though he’s only in one episode. So we would love to explore that again. Part of the question is when he becomes available again. He’s currently recovering. We are there for him, we are wishing him the best. He will recover. I am hoping when he does, he wants to come back, because we love him and he had a great experience, but honestly, what we’ll do is, we’ll work around him, and that’s a testament to his skill. He took such ownership of the role in a way that few actors can.
AX: So if that was Dad, he’s only going to manifest as the character played by Timothy Omundson?
HENDERSON: What I would say is, that’s a guy who thought he was Dad. And whether or not he had a piece of him or not is something to explore. But Dad is bigger than a single mortal being, so the full version of that is yet to be seen.
AX: Chloe’s ex-husband Dan, played by Kevin Alejandro, was involved with “Charlotte” last season, who he never realized was a deity, and now thinks is Lucifer and Amenadiel’s stepmother, rather than their actual mother. Where is Dan going this season?
HENDERSON: So a big part of Dan’s arc is, despite all of the machinations, he actually kind of fell for Charlotte Richards. But then when he found her on the beach [in the Season 2 finale], she didn’t remember him at all. So where we start is, he fell for Charlotte Richards, because she is a weird, confusing woman, but she actually seemed to care for him. And now she seems to pretend that she doesn’t even know him. So a big part of it is, who is this new Charlotte Richards, is she the woman I fell in love with, and/or is she someone I can care about? So what we’re really going to do is explore what happens when the woman that you didn’t expect to fall in love with but did seems to be a whole new person.
AX: Does this mean that Dan is over Chloe in the romantic sense?
HENDERSON: Yes. One of the things I love is, you see the two when we broke them apart. I think towards the end, in particular, when Chloe was like, “Oh, if you [marry] Charlotte, you’ll be Lucifer’s stepdad.” It felt like they were just like, “You know what? I love you, but I love you as a friend. And not only is that okay, that’s good.” I like showing that healthy version of divorce. As someone who is a child of divorce, there are very many ways to make it healthy, and to me, the two of them have healthily decided, “I love you, not in that way anymore, but I care about you.” So what we’re going to see more and more is, “Dan, be careful with your heart. Chloe, be careful with where you go. I love you in the ‘Don’t get hurt’ sort of way,” not the, “I love you, I’m jealous” way. I love being able to depict that healthy separation.
AX: Is Chloe and Dan’s young daughter Trixie, played by Scarlett Estevez, going to get curious about what’s going on? When the show started, she was so little that she matter-of-factly accepted that her mother knows somebody named Lucifer. But as she’s getting a little older, is she going to start to notice some odd things about Lucifer?
HENDERSON: For one thing, Scarlett is such an amazing actress. You get kid actors, you don’t know what you’re going to get. With Scarlett, you know exactly what you’re going to get, which is a kid who knows timing and comedy and also can do heart. But when it comes to Trixie’s character, the fun of it is, she’s the disarming character who sees through the b.s. And that’s something we’re going to lean on. But like a kid, she sees the truth but also misinterprets it. What I love about Trixie’s character is, she’s actually very similar to Lucifer. She’s a child who’s oddly adult in many different ways. So as much as she’ll understand the heart of something, she won’t necessarily be able to interpret what it means, and then I think one of the reasons Lucifer is so uncomfortable around her is, children are his equal, because they are innocent, but also have more insight than you can expect.
AX: Maze, played by Lesley-Anne Brandt, is Lucifer’s demon associate from Hell who had an affair with Amenadiel and is currently roommates with Chloe and Trixie. Maze believes that she does not have a soul. Will she have any concerns about this?
HENDERSON: One of the big things that was important to me was teeing up how demons are different from everything else. And in Episode Thirteen [of Season 3], which I co-wrote, one of the big things I really wanted to hit was the fact that Maze doesn’t have a soul. Because to me, it’s a fascinating idea on a couple levels. One, what does a soul even mean? Two, what happens if you don’t think you have a soul? What I love about Maze, and what we’re going to explore in our Maze-focused episode coming up this season is, if you don’t have a soul, then when you die, you’re just dead. So why not live every moment like it’s your last? And what does that say about you, what does that say about the way you live? To me, Maze knows she might die tomorrow and that’s it, no loss. And you know what? Not only is that fine, isn’t that healthy? Isn’t that better than living with the sort of dread of what’s to come? That argument, that debate of morality, of soulfulness, but also the question of, yeah, you’re living that way, but does that mean you don’t have a soul, or does that mean you just don’t know it? That’s our show. So that’s a big thing we want to explore is, do you not have a soul, or is it just easier to say you don’t?
AX: Chloe doesn’t seem very introspective on the soul issue. Despite the fact that she has Christian trappings, she doesn’t seem overly concerned with how things will affect her immortal soul. Dan seems maybe a little more religious …
HENDERSON: We try to make every character a different aspect of [the spiritual question]. And Chloe very definitely represents our logic side. She’s a detective – “Give me proof and I’ll believe it.” She’s not an atheist, per se, but she wants proof of things, she wants to understand things. To me, that’s the beauty of her dynamic with Lucifer. Lucifer, ironically, he’s a character derived of faith. You have to believe in him. But the irony is in front of you saying, “I exist,” but you have to believe what he’s saying. So it’s just another version of the faith versus realism debate, and Chloe very much represents the Scully side of that, if you want to use THE X-FILES.
AX: Well, you sort of want somebody to say to Lucifer, “Look, dude, you’re telling me you’re the Devil, but let’s say you are who you say you are, you look human, and you know that humans lie. So why should I believe you?”
HENDERSON: It’s funny, because to me, one of the things Chloe understands is Lucifer’s soul. But what I love about Chloe’s character in particular is, I think she’s got Lucifer pegged. And one of the things she knows is that he does tell the truth. Now, he says he’s the Devil, and she can’t quite square that. But when it comes to moral truths, when it comes to truth of the heart, when he says something, she believes him. And so I guess to me what’s so interesting is, she has faith in him. Amongst all these questions, the one thing she believes in is Lucifer’s character.
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 – Exclusive Interview – Part 1