“Lucifer” Showrunners Ildy Modrovich and Joe Henderson Talk Deckerstar, Final Goodbyes….and Blueberry Pies?

Recently, we had the amazing opportunity to interview Lucifer showrunners, Ildy Modrovich and Joe Henderson, and ask them questions about our favorite crime solving devil show. As 5B ended on a high note, they shared their thoughts on several topics (as we were determined to pick their minds apart) and needless to say, their answers did not disappoint.

When it was announced that season 5 was getting an extended number of episodes, did you breathe a sigh of relief knowing that more content would be covered to flesh out the storyline a bit better?

JH: The opposite! We were mad because we were three weeks into the room, and had found what we thought was the perfect shape for our story. But after a day spent brainstorming, we suddenly discovered all this story we were leaving on the table that we couldn’t imagine the season without! That’s one of the things we love about TV – by rolling with the punches, you often find story and moments that you can’t imagine your show without. With ten episodes, I don’t know if we would have done the noir episode, or Naked and Afraid. And I can’t imagine the season without them.

And when you got the call that Netflix wanted a season 6, did you have to make drastic changes to the script in order to continue the storyline?

IM: Oddly, no! Or at least, not as much as we thought we’d have to. First, we thought long and hard about what the hell Season 6 was going to be. Once we found that little nugget, we dug back into the finale episode of Season 5B. And realized that we pretty much just had to hack off the last act. Even though clearly a LOT happened those last 8 pages, in retrospect, I can’t imagine ended the whole series that way now!

We overheard a rumor saying that because 5A was extended, you were able to include Michael as the big bad villain. Who would’ve been the main villain if you hadn’t had an extension on the season?

JH: Michael was always the villain of season 5A. However, because of the extension, we were able to spend more time with him – originally, he only impersonated Lucifer for a couple acts of episode 502. But with the extension, we were able to explore Michael settling into the character a bit more… and in doing so, allow him to start to covet Lucifer’s life in ways we wouldn’t have been able to dramatize.

Speaking of Michael, he’s still quite a bit of a dick in 5B. Since the show is about redemption, is he redeemable or is he just too far gone?

IM: Well, NO ONE is ever too far gone in our world. But he would need a LOT of extra time on Linda’s couch. Poor Michael. He’s just misunderstood. It couldn’t have been easy growing up next to the charming and debonair Lucifer, even if they did share the same face, amiright?

“It couldn’t have been easy growing up next to the charming and debonair Lucifer, even if they did share the same face” – Ildy Modrovich

About the musical episode. For a moment when we first watched it, it caught us by surprise but after seeing the end and understanding what was actually going on, we had a much deeper appreciation for the way a musical was implemented into the story. Was there any aspect to the episode that you were nervous to approach or weren’t entirely sure of?

JH: The entire thing. First of all, I had to completely rewrite it. Page 1 rewrite. Nah, even more than that. What’s more than a page 1 rewrite? Page 0? This was a page 0 rewrite. mean, everyone singing Dave Matthews? What was Ildy thinking??

IM: I had to leave the above because it’s hilarious. Mostly because I’m the one who rewrites everything Joe writes. I mean. Never mind a page 1, it’s word 1 with him. I have to rewrite his name half the time.

Heheh. Now… what was the question again? Oh yeah, was there an aspect that I was nervous about? ALL OF IT. Finding the right story, the right songs, the right balance of types of music and emotion. The only thing I wasn’t nervous about was our cast’s ability to slay it, Sherwin Shilati’s, to direct the shit out of it and Brooke Lipton’s to choreograph the pants off it. And they did.

“The only thing I wasn’t nervous about was our cast’s ability to slay it” – Ildy Modrovich about 5×10

Obviously covid had made life much more difficult than it already is for many people. What are some of the challenges you had to encounter and overcome on set?

JH: The biggest one was losing the intimacy of set. We’re one big family, and not having that sense of camaraderie and fun was hard (though cast and crew found ways to do it anyway. Dad bless ’em). What’s more, for the actors, it was much harder to get into character. You’re surrounded by people dressed in hazmat suits and then suddenly you’re supposed to be act your heart out?? It was wildly impressive to watch our cast adapt to the difficult situation, and deliver such incredible performances.

IM: Yes, I missed just being able to goof around on set and in the writer’s room so badly. Although, we’re all very lucky that most of us have been working together for as long as we have. So, there’s a bit of a shorthand between everyone. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for brand new shows to try to launch in the middle of this madness.

Doing a 180 here, we want to talk about Deckerstar. Was there a bucket list of scenes you wanted to see come to life on screen or are you leaving that to the fan’s imagination?

JH: Oh yeah, we bucket listed the hell out of it. And we’d cross them out when we got to each one. And the funny thing was, at the end of season 5, we really thought we’d crossed them all off. But sometimes you need to go on a journey to get the perspective of where you can still journey. Because once we got to the end…well, we found all new Deckerstar scenes that feel absolutely necessary to their journeys!

IM: I do think we crossed off everything on the list, yes. Except for that one thing with the trampoline and the blueberry pie.

Now that we know Lucifer is God by the end of the season, was that a major plot you wanted to explore when you were given a sixth season? And how will it affect Deckerstar as well as the other characters?

IM: Definitely. We knew exploring Lucifer as God would be a major part of Season 6 – but the REALLY interesting part are always the obstacles that might prevent Lucifer from just riding off into the proverbial sunset. And the main obstacle for Lucifer is usually always Lucifer. He’s his own worst enemy. And whenever Lucifer’s at unrest, yep… his relationship with those around him tend to be a mess too. But an entertaining mess, hopefully.

When working on “Family Dinner”, was the goal always to have it be a long scene? Or did it just sort of happen by itself because of how crucial the character’s dialogue is in shaping the way Lucifer acts for the remainder of the season?

JH: We went into the episode wanting to do a one act play. Four actors (and five characters) sitting at a table sharing a family dinner. We knew so much had been built up in 5A, and the series as a whole, so the chance to bring all that baggage into a simple scene where characters just talk over a table was so exciting. We always look for ways to challenge ourselves and showcase our incredible actors, and this seemed like such a great opportunity to both. I remember the director, Nathan Hope, eyed me when he got the script. “So… 11 page scene, huh? Around a table?” Nathan’s one of our best directors, and I knew he’d be perfect to take a scene that could be potentially uncinematic, and bring so much texture to it.

“We went into the episode wanting to do a one act play. Four actors (and five characters) sitting at a table sharing a family dinner” – Joe Henderson

We want to touch base on a particular scene in 5A. In “Spoiler Alert” we see Ella go to Pete’s house to look for his files on the Whisper Killer. She notices a light coming from the outlet on the wall and discovers a hole behind the cabinet so she crawls through it. Was that a “Coraline” Easter egg?

IM: I wish I could say that it was! But it was really just a creepy-serial-killer-with-a-closet-full-of-murder-flowers egg.

Fans finally get to hear Lucifer say “I love you” to Chloe. Did you always know in your hearts that this is how you wanted it to play out the big moment? By Lucifer sacrificing himself and his famous last words being the 3 that he couldn’t bring himself to utter?

JH: Me, Ildy, and all the writers are as big of Deckerstar fans as the Lucifans, so we knew that, when that moment came, it had to be epic. Did we know this was exactly the way it would play out? No, but we knew it had to be THIS epic. This… well, worthy. And it was also so important for us that it not JUST be about their love, but also Lucifer’s personal growth. Learning that he was worthy of love, and loving someone in turn.

IM: And of course, WE all knew Lucifer loved Chloe. So it wasn’t even about that revelation. It was about finding a moment of pure sacrifice – where Lucifer could put the woman he loved before himself. Because that IS so much of what love is. And it’s something Lucifer had never done before at least not on that scale.

There’s a fan theory floating around that in season 4 when Chloe was going through a book with newspaper clippings of Lucifer appearing during historical events with Father Kinley, people have speculated that it’s not actually Lucifer in the photo but Michael instead. Is that purely a theory or can you confirm that this was what you were going for at the time?

IM: Ooooh, good one. Unfortunately, nope. That was indeed Lucifer. But if you look at the photos in Kinley’s little scrapbook-like Chloe said at the time they were all pretty coincidental. For example, yes Lucifer was in Berlin just before the rise of Hitler’s Germany – but it was only to see a Cabaret show! He certainly didn’t have anything to do with the horrors that took place or even knew what was coming. And sure, he was also in Chicago at the time of The Great Fire. But if he was involved at all, it was to try to douse that sucker. Trust me, Lucifer’s had it up to here with fire and brimstone.

You’ve made a couple of goodbye speeches so far. How difficult was it for you and the rest of the cast and crew knowing that this was the final one?

JH: It was hard, bittersweet, but also very satisfying. We ended on our terms, told the story we wanted to, through an incredibly difficult year for everyone. But we did it TOGETHER. And we stuck the landing.

IM: It has been tough. Working on this show has definitely been the highlight of my career, and one of the most. fulfilling experiences of my entire life. But I do feel incredibly lucky not only to have worked alongside this incredible group of people but to have been able to be there from the first episode to the last. That’s very rare in this nutty business of ours. And I’ll be forever grateful.

Snippet of Lucifer showrunners Ildy Modrovich and Joe Henderson thanking the cast and crew on their last day of filming (via Josh Style YouTube)

It’s obvious to everyone that every character on the show has grown since the pilot episode. If these characters were actual people that you knew personally and you recognized that they progressed over the last 5-6 years, what would you say to them to show that you see their growth and accomplishments?

IM: I’d say: “You’re going to Heaven! And you’re going to Heaven! And you’re going to Heaven! (Little homage to Oprah.) But honestly… even though the show centered around Lucifer’s redemption, all of our other characters came to accept themselves as well – messy, ugly, screwed up parts and all. For instance, watching a demon realize she has a soul and watching God’s favorite son find the beauty of humanity are both equally daunting tasks and worthy of huge “kuuudos” (said with Tom’s accent). So, I’d say: take a bow everyone! Our little Lucifamily has come a long way!

Final question. Is there anything about season 6 that you’re excited to share with the fans?

JH: Some of our best episodes are yet to come! Definitely some of our most emotional. Season 6 is a mixture of a goodbye and a love letter to the characters we’ve spent 93 episodes with.

IM: It’s a much more intimate season on many levels. But there are still lots of silly shenanigans, lots of romance but yeah, many many tearful bits – so Kleenex handy always. I just hope that everyone feels a sense of completion by that final episode. That (most) every itch will have been scratched. Maybe not in the exact way one might’ve imagined, but scratched none-the-less!

Lucifer is available to stream now on Netflix.

Published by Kersten Noelle

Avid fan TV/movie watcher. Gamer. All opinions are my own. Writer for fandomlair.com

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