Lucifer team previews Deckerstar tension in 'scarier, darker' season 4
EW visits the resurrected drama's set and learns how the move to Netflix has and hasn't changed the show
Something is very different about Lucifer.
On a sunny late-November day, the resurrected drama’s cast is busy filming a stressful, exposition-heavy scene from the season 4 finale. Lucifer (Tom Ellis) and Det. Chloe Decker (Lauren German) have just returned to the dashing devil’s penthouse apartment and discovered that demons (yes, multiple) broke in and stole something extremely dangerous. Not only are Lucifer and Chloe talking candidly and seriously about demons and hell, something they’ve never done before, but there’s also tension between them — and not of the sexual variety that would excite Deckerstar fans. Lucifer seems genuinely upset with his partner. That tension, though, is immediately cut (thankfully, because it’s hard to watch mom and dad fight) when Ellis flubs a line.
“Oh f—ing balls!” Ellis exclaims after missing a line. “C’mon, Ellis!”
“Don’t be sorry, it’s been a long season,” says German, which elicits a laugh from Ellis because she’s both joking and being serious.
Almost a year ago, Fox canceled the Warner Bros-produced fantasy-procedural at the end of its 26-episode third season. Then, Netflix swooped down into TV hell and raised the series, blessing it with a 10-episode fourth season (premiering Wednesday). Sure, this is the series’ shortest season, but that hasn’t made the work less challenging — just different.
“We were almost making a joke of a joke,” German tells EW after the take. “Yeah, we’re tired because there’s no commercial breaks and because the episode are a little longer and more work, more dialogue, all good things. But we joke, ‘Oh God, we’re this tired? Last year we wouldn’t have even been halfway done and we’re complaining about where we are?’ So we keep that in mind.”
The season length isn’t the only thing that has changed about Lucifer in its fourth season. As evidenced by the scene above, there’s the fact that Chloe is now very much in the know about the divine after seeing Lucifer’s devil face at the end of season 3. Ever since that cliffhanger, fans have wondered how Chloe would react given the will-they-won’t-they dynamic between her and Lucifer.
“I think she’s reacted in line with what I expected before I knew the season 4 scripts,” says German. “This season for Chloe has been a lot of, ‘Imagine you really found out your wife, your girlfriend, your husband were the devil, or an angel, or whatever celestial being you can come up with’ — the reality of that. That’s how I tried to ground this crazy mythological show in truth, just playing the realness of what that would be like.”
Chloe’s reaction isn’t just handled in the premiere, either. Rather, it’s one of the season-long stories, which German found particularly rewarding. “Separate of the story, it’s just been a real treat to kind of step a little away from the procedure of it all,” she says. “Of course, Chloe is a homicide detective and we do more or less have a case a week, but this season in particular has been so much about Chloe struggling [with] how she feels about Lucifer, realizing what he is, and the conversations they have and the tears they share and almost sensual moments they have but don’t.”
Naturally, Chloe’s struggle with the truth puts a strain on her relationship with Lucifer. “Our dynamic duo is not so much of a duo as they think,” teases Ellis. German adds, “There’s definitely some rough patches and more moments of separation. They’re still working together, but this season feels almost [about] how no relationships are perfect. They’re butting heads more and they’re loving each other more.”
Another season 4 change that shakes the core duo is the arrival of former Garden of Eden resident Eve (Inbar Lavi), who leaves heaven to rekindle her romance with Lucifer. “I think she totally throws Chloe for a loop,” German says. “On a lot of levels, it’s fun to play because she’s everything Chloe is not, even down to how they dress.”
Eve’s return also adds fuel to the fire that is Lucifer’s ongoing identity crisis. In the wake of killing Cain in season 3, Lucifer questions to if he’s the devil that Eve remembers (and loves) from way back when, or something else. “One of the big things we’re playing with is the idea that the devil is back,” says co-showrunner Joe Henderson. “We’re really exploring what Lucifer sees himself as and really trying to bring that to life by having Chloe as the angel on his shoulder and Eve the devil on the other shoulder.”
This exploration of Lucifer allows the show to dig even deeper into the mythology, which was already clear from all the demon talk in the scene EW observed (to say more about the scene would spoil the season). “This is certainly the first season where we get a sense of what might be lying in hell, and how that affects Lucifer and the person he wants to be,” says Ellis.
“There’s more sort of rules about heaven and hell that come out this season more than any season, for sure,” says co-showrunner Ildy Modrovich. “Before, we were trying to make sure we maintained the procedural element in the forefront a lot of the time. Now it’s kind of the opposite, the mythology is really center stage.” She concedes that this change might not be just because of the move to Netflix, either. “I think that was a natural occurrence, because the characters have grown so much and you want to see them involved in higher-stakes situations.”
With all these changes — shorter season, Eve’s introduction, more mythology, and more — everyone involved is pretty confident that fans will be delighted by the new batch of episodes.
“I feel like the scripts have gotten so much better. Just because we’re doing 10 [episodes], there’s more in each one,” says German. “We can cuss a little bit. All of the [stories] can be scarier, darker, things Fox wouldn’t allow. When fans see season 4, I think they’re going to be really pleasantly surprised and pleased. It’s just faster and darker.”
Adds Modrovich, “I definitely feel the most excited about this season than I have about all four. This one, I just feel like we got to go deeper with the characters, and I feel like there’s an extra-special joy in everybody’s performance because we got to do another season. Everybody just brought a little bit extra.”
The complete fourth season of Lucifer will be available Wednesday, May 8, on Netflix.