Lucifer stars Tom Ellis, Lauren German, unpack the 'bittersweet' series finale
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the series finale of Lucifer.
After spending the bulk of the sixth and final season trying to figure why Lucifer abandoned their daughter Rory (Brianna Hildebrand) — whose adult self visited them from the future — and stop it from happening, the dynamic duo realized there was nothing they could do because, well, Lucifer had to go. In the end, the redeemed fallen angel found his purpose: helping damned souls in Hell break their loops and make it Heaven. Even though it was hard to say goodbye, Lucifer and Chloe went their separate paths.
Thankfully, though, they were eventually reunited. After her death in the future, Chloe shows up in Hell because she thought her partner could use some help. Indeed, as the series finale's title indicated, they were partners to the end — and beyond.
Below, EW chats with Ellis, German, and showrunners Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich about Deckerstar's fate, how they pulled off the difficult goodbye scene, and more. (You can watch the interview above, too.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ildy, I heard you were the one who picked "Welcome to the Black Parade" for the series finale. What inspired that choice?
ILDY MODROIVCH: Oh I will tell you. My daughter discovered My Chemical Romance four years ago or something. And I sort of missed that train in my youth, and so they started listening to it religiously, and that became my favorite song, and when I heard it, I thought, "That's Lucifer. That's the character of Lucifer." And I always thought, "God, if we could end the series with that song." I didn't think it would fit, or I didn't know what we were going to be doing. I thought maybe after the credits roll or something. But when we were editing, and we actually found a moment for it, I cried. I cried. Because I just think it's his journey of this character who... The lines, why am I blanking on the lines? Help me, Chance. The very first ones.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: "When I was a young boy, my father took me into the city to see a marching. He said, 'Son when you grow up, would you be the savior of the broken and the damned.'"
MODROVICH: "The broken, the beaten, and the damned." And it's like, "Ah." And he's the savior of the broken, defeated, and the damned [in the end]. I'm so happy it made it in, and I'm so happy they said yes. So happy. That My Chem said yes.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: At this point, can you reveal which part of the finale was the bit that you chopped off of the season 5 finale?
JOE HENDERSON: Yeah, it was really the decision of Lucifer to go down to hell and redeem the lost souls, and the idea of Lucifer and Chloe, realizing that they had both two separate paths but two paths that would still hopefully meet in the middle long term. So all of those elements were still there, and honestly one of the wonders of season 6 was that we got to really earn those paths even more so, I feel, than we could have. We were epiloguing a lot, in a way that we were excited about, but now we got to dramatize those moments. And that was just so fulfilling because we really wanted to earn those decisions even more so, and live in them. And being able to bring in Rory, also, really was just such a godsend, some might say — an Amenadielsend — because that really helped us find a way to dramatize it and also find a way to dig into Lucifer and Chloe's relationship in one final, unique way.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tom and Lauren, how did you feel exploring Lucifer and Chloe's relationship with this daughter from the future?
LAUREN GERMAN: Man, I mean, working with Brianna is... Tom can speak to this as well. She's just beautiful. She's so talented and lovely and really understood her role. And her whole thing is abandonment from her father. And the way she played it was just so seamless and honest. I met her on set, but the casting was just brilliant with her. She brings so much heart to the role and to watch her and Lucifer's journey together as father and daughter, going from this... Not glib, but this more casual, like "Oh, do I have a daughter?" And running around to all the women that Lucifer has been with, trying to figure out if he really is the father, to then [come] full circle by the end of the season, there's so much heart in that relationship, and then the way that they sort of heal that relationship. Hats off to Joe and Ildy, and all the writers, for just making that beautiful. It's such a beautiful arc.
TOM ELLIS: Yeah, it was the one area that we hadn't really explored with Lucifer. Because obviously Chloe is a parent and all those things, but Lucifer... The notion of his being a parent and what that brings out in him, it was a territory that me, as Tom, I'm fully aware of, because being a parent has brought so many different elements out of me as a person, created so many elements of me as a person. So having that kind of rich vein of things to mine still in season 6 was great. And having that as a shared experience with Chloe, and Chloe and Lucifer having to navigate through that together, kind of bolstered their relationship in a way that we haven't seen. I think our show has really zinged over the years... And again, credit to Joe and Ildy for this, for really tapping into the family side of things, because that is so relatable to people. I think that we've done it over the seasons in various different guises, and this was the kind of one thing that we hadn't been touched on, and I'm glad we got the opportunity to do it. And as Laurs was saying, Brianna was just great. I feel so much affection toward her. I did feel like her dad by the end of it. And I did feel like I told embarrassing jokes in front of her all the time, and she was always rolling her eyes at me, so it was kind of perfect really.
HENDERSON: Really quick, Tom, I remember in episode 9 when you guys did the karaoke montage, and that was like that moment of you guys coming together, and I just remember connecting with you and just how happy you were…You can see it on the screen, but it was just really cool, because well, I don't know if you want to talk about it, but you could feel it and I could tell that both Tom Ellis was having an amazing time but also Lucifer was having an amazing time with Brianna and Rory. It was just kind of beautiful.
MODROVICH: I was going to say, it's funny because when we very first were hit with the notion with a season 6, we thought, "Well, we just finished the story of the abandoned child," the father-son story, because we had kind of fixed things or come to some closure with God and Lucifer. And we realized that the moment when we went, "Yes! We can do a season 6," that's when we realized that the final chapter was actually to reverse the roles to have Lucifer to know what it feels like to be the one that abandoned [a child], and how that felt to have somebody, a child, looking at him going, "You left me." And obviously, he didn't do it intentionally, but just that feeling of being on the other [side]... And that's what parenting is, right? I mean, you're suddenly, "Oh, right, I'm the parent. That child is looking up to me and I want to protect them. I want to do everything in my being to protect them." And to see Lucifer feel those feelings of not wanting to be the protected and loved one, but to be the one loving and protecting was such a lovely final chapter.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tom and Lauren, how did you guys feel about the way things ended for Lucifer and Chloe — with them branching off and Lucifer went to Hell and Chloe stayed on Earth. Did you feel it was earned?
GERMAN: I thought it was beautiful. And I like that you get to see Chloe has lived a life, said her goodbyes, and been a mom to Rory. So it comes full circle where you understand the story and what went on, and that Lucifer's abandonment wasn't intentional, but that Chloe got to be with her daughter, and then sort of the twist at the end, going down, knocking on the door, "I thought you could use a partner." It's just really sweet. You get to see that Chloe lived her life, had a full, lovely life, loved her family, but then you also get the cherry on top which is she gets to go be with her love. She gets to be with her love and they get to try and rectify all of the sad, damned, evil people. And I like that, that there's this idea that we can all do better. We can all change. There's a chance for us, for even the darkest times, the saddest times, when you're feeling guilt and shame, that the archetype of that message was Lucifer in this. But that there's a chance, you can turn it around, and I love a theme like that.
ELLIS: I love bittersweet endings, and I think it was bittersweet because there was always this elephant in the room at the fact that Lucifer's immortal and Chloe isn't. And so someone's going to have to come to the end of their life at some point, whereas this person just carries on. So how do we navigate that, and how do we make that as real and poignant as possible? And I think the sacrifice that Lucifer ended up making about not the rest of Chloe's life with her on Earth, was made in the full knowledge that they would most likely spend eternity together. And so that is the most fitting thing, is that these characters do end up hand in hand going into the sunset together, except it's not the sunset, it's the burning embers of Hell. It's they end up together, is what we want, but like every journey, it's not that simple. It was a fitting way to get there, and a fitting way of suggesting that we just deal with what we've got and we make the best of it. And single parents are awesome. And all of these different kinds of things that get thrown up in it, rather than it just being neatly packaged. I just thought it was really fitting.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Joe and Ildy, how long did it take for you guys to figure out how to end the show?
MODROVICH: It was a big discussion, and Tom was a huge part of it, and Lauren, you were too. We just really wanted to give the fans a satisfying ending, but not a syrupy, sicky sweet, like, "Oh, everybody's happy and everything's perfect," because that's not our show. There is a darkness and a lightness to the show, and I think that's the sweet spot of what we did find in those six years. So watching those final moments, and that moment when Lauren is in Heaven in that white space, and that single tear gets me every fricking time. And the scene at the piano when they are... The pain that Chloe is feeling that she doesn't show to Lucifer, and she's crying…They're both in pain, but she's being so stoic. And all of those moments, they hit you because they're real. And I know that was a big thing for all of us, we wanted it to feel impactful and real, as real as it could in the land of Lucifer.
HENDERSON: Emotionally real. We always had the same endpoint, but the paths to get there, even up until the second to last scene, third to last scene, were always shifting. And by the way, at times, we even were like, "What if this isn't our ending?" Because we were so determined to do right by the characters, by the fans, by the show, we wanted to make sure that we ended this doing honor to the show we love. And it was hard and it was wonderful and it was collaborative, and I love it.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: That piano scene was very emotional. Tom and Lauren, did you find it hard to shoot that scene, or was it one of the days where you were cracking up in between scenes?
ELLIS: We had to laugh otherwise we'd cry, it was one of those moments.
GERMAN: And it took, as it should have, but it took ages, so it was sort of funny, that scene. We went through so many... Maybe three hours, Tom and I are just crying. But then the next four hours, I have rash burn on my face because we've been making out for four hours straight. And the camera's just going around us, I'm profusely sweating on top of Tom, we've been making out, my face looks like road rash, and for Tom and I to know when to go in for this special angle of kiss, Sherwin would just wait for the camera and go, "Smashkiss!" And we're trying to be emotional, but it was the best! We laughed so hard shooting. It was emotional and it was also hysterical.
ELLIS: And also, it was weird, because that scene was so indicative of our team on Lucifer. Again it was Sherwin who was thrown the problem where, I think we'd run out of money or something. We didn't have enough money to do what we wanted to do, but we came up with a solution, and the solution was a highly practical solution that involved about 25 people and it felt like being in a theater production of this massive scene change. It's like choreographed, and everyone on board was so keen to do it and get it right, because we didn't have loads of time to shoot it and we wanted to get it right, like everything in the finale. But it was a really satisfying day on set, because the scene was satisfying, the teamwork behind making the scene work was satisfying, and it kind of was emblematic of what we loved to do at Lucifer for six years.
MODROVICH: I was just going to say, what you think is the effects, is our people. We built the... The throne [in] hell was in pieces, and then the piano, people ran in with just the top of the piano and they switched it, so piano and then backdrop and chair flew in pieces, and everybody held it together. It was crazy.
HENDERSON: And shout out to our crew just for five seasons of really challenging and awesome normal work and then finishing it in COVID. A friend of mine was like, "Oh, so season 6, everyone must have been petering out towards the end." I was like, "No, everyone was working their butts off. Everyone loves the show. And everyone did and worked so hard until the final day because they cared so much." We were very lucky.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.