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A last-minute resurrection wasn't a source of chaos for Lucifer

The Tom Ellis-led fantasy procedural was supposed to end with season 5, but in February, Netflix and WBTV asked showrunners Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich, who were busy writing the series finale, if they had one more season in them. At first, the pair thought no, but then they pondered the offer for a few more days and had a change of heart.

"It was very, very similar to when we went from 10 episodes to 16," Henderson tells EW. "[We were] like, 'No, this is perfect. If we do this, it'll ruin everything! Then three days later, you're like, 'Wait, how could we not have done this?'"

"What we realized is that the last bit of that [series] finale episode was actually a lot of great stories sped up just to give us a satisfying ending for all our characters," says Modrovich. "We literally lobbed off Act 6 and went, 'Let's take what happens in Act 6 in a scene and dive into it, and really explore how are characters end up where they ended up.' So, that ended up being our nugget for season 6."

Thus, the road toward the official renewal, which was announced in June, was paved. And the duo is very excited about what's coming in season 6, which will definitely be the end for the death-defying show.

"It's the story we were always going to tell, but just written much larger and to me [now] so much more interestingly that it breaks my heart to think we weren't [originally] going to do it this way," says Henderson, adding they're more confident in the new series ending than the one they initially plotted out. "When they were like, 'Can you do one more?' we said, 'Yes, but this our last story.'"

Modrovich adds: "In addition to what we're opening up from that ending, we thought of one giant story that just needed to be told, so that's what really stuck the landing for us."

So how does the surprising renewal affect season 5? Not that much. "That was another request we had [for the studio and streamer]. We said, 'Please don't make us what change what we have. Please don't make us water it down,' because we were so pleased with it and it's so impactful. Again, everybody was just very on-board with it,'" says Modrovich.

Arriving Aug. 21, the first eight episodes of season 5 begin with Lucifer stuck in Hell lording over the damned. "[There's a] slightly different energy to the start of the season," Ellis told EW during a set visit last August. "It was really strange coming to work and not working with my buddies." Meanwhile topside, Det. Chloe Decker (Lauren German) is adjusting to her Lucifer-less reality. "Emotionally, it's been good work because I get to play, starting season 5, heartbroken," said German. But of course, as the new trailer revealed, Lucifer's twin brother Michael arrives to shake things up.

"In the table reads, when Tom has to play Lucifer and Michael, it's amazing because he's literally doing the, 'sister!' 'mother!' 'sister!' [thing]. But you're also in the scene. You're staying with him because he's grounding it," says Henderson. "Tom makes what he does look so effortless that I think this season will remind people just how hard it is everything he does."

Adds Modrovich: "And he plays it with very different physical mannerism and speech patterns, so it is this weird back-and-forth where he's having this weird schizophrenic conversation with himself. He's brilliant."

Because the cycle was written to be the end, it features some of the drama's most daring episodes, including the previously revealed black-and-white flashback installment, and a self-deprecating hour in which the arrogant showrunner of a series about the Devil solving crimes is murdered. Plus, there's a full-blown musical episode coming in the back half of the season.

"It's our best season yet," says Henderson. "It's funny and dark and twisted and sad and joyous."

Lucifer season 5A arrives Aug. 21 on Netflix.

A version of this story appears in the August 2020 issue of Entertainment Weekly, on sale Friday. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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