You can't keep the devil down.
After Fox canceled it, Lucifer found a second life at Netflix, and that fourth miraculous season is finally here with some very important stuff to deal with. Namely, Chloe (Lauren German) just found out that Lucifer (Tom Ellis), her partner/the guy she just kissed, is actually the real-life devil. Not only that, but the devil's real, and so are Heaven and Hell. It was a major bombshell for Chloe and a big change for the series, and it was also almost the end of the series until Netflix saved the day.
Thank god it wasn't, because now we get to pick back up with an anxious Lucifer awaiting Chloe's return from her "vacation" to find out exactly how she feels about his true face. Actually we get to pick up with Lucifer at the piano singing "Creep," but then it's right into the Chloe-related anxiety, and Chloe's sort of layered reaction to this major, major news.
We got on the phone with Tom Ellis to talk about cancellation, uncancellation, and the show's sexier return.
(Minor spoilers from the first three episodes of the season follow.)
E! News: The show was canceled in early May and saved in mid June, so what was that month like for you? Had you given up?
Tom Ellis: It was quite a journey actually. the only time I really felt, god, we're never doing Lucifer again was straight after I heard about the cancellation, because in my experience, some things, when they've been canceled, that's often it. So I was incredibly disappointed and gutted, and all of those sort of words that fall into that, really. But then, the moment I started feeling better about it, the moment that I started feeling better about it was the moment that the fans found out on social media, and within minutes of the news breaking, it just went absolutely crazy. That's when I genuinely started to feel better about it, and then I had a call from Warner Brothers saying that they were going to try to find a new home for it.
It was about a month, I think, between knowing that they were going to try and the deal being sealed, and that month, it was really quite incredible. I did a couple of fan conventions and stuff, and I just continually had this kind of dialogue with fans about how much they wanted the show to come back, and all this amazing good feeling towards it everywhere I went. So I was just absolutely thrilled and floored when Netflix finally picked us up, and relief for everybody.
What was it like watching that #SaveLucifer campaign happen?
Incredibly overwhelming, actually. I mean the weird thing was that I don't think we really knew how popular our sho was until we got canceled. And then it was just like this—I said at the time--this tsunami of love that just sort of washed over all of us. It's very rare that you get to have this sort of back and forth with the fans so much, and when you make TV and film especially, we don't have that kind of interaction with the audience. You hear from people afterwards, but you never kind of like get a sense of people watching all the time, and having a dialogue about it, and just sort of open the door to them. And I think that's just sort of tying in with the way TV's starting to evolve as well.
It didn't help that the show ended on a major cliffhanger last season.
Either it did or it didn't, but I feel like that's the question, because I think that was the other thing. It's like we did sort of leave it there, and when it was canceled, everyone was sort of like, you can't leave it there! I was watching that! And we kind of thought the same. Part of the reason I felt so disappointed was I felt like we've only got to the intermission, and this was one part of our story that we've told, and everyone really wanted to know what Chloe would do now that she actually knew the truth.
It felt like the entire dynamic of the show was about to change!
Exactly, and it did. I mean, after we finally came back and stuff, that was one big thing that I noticed about this season. We do have a new dynamic on the show. It hasn't changed the show, but now this huge truth bomb's gone off, it does make things different, and it makes the consequences for our characters different, and the stakes for our characters are different, and so there's a lot going on this season.
So let's talk about Chloe's reaction. It's surprising and not surprising at the same time.
I think in an ideal world for Lucifer, Chloe would have dealt with the whole reveal of him being the devil exactly as she claims she has when she first comes back, which is that she's had a bit of time to process it and she's fine with it. And even though that feels a bit weird for Lucifer, I think the Lucifer that we all know would be quite happy if that were the case, if she's just dealt with it. And then obviously it becomes apparent that it's not that simple. And then Chloe, you realize, has betrayed Lucifer, and gone behind his back and kind of...her path has been crossed as she goes to find out more about who this devil is, she meets up with this guy called Father Kinley.
He persuades her that the best thing to do for mankind is to send the devil back to hell, and she's the only person who can help him do that. Of course then Lucifer finds out about this betrayal just as we feel like they're starting to be kind of accepting of each other again. There's never been a betrayal in that relationship and that's the biggest kind of no no for Lucifer. So no matter what happens with him and Chloe from now on, that is there, and that can not be forgotten.
Can you talk about some of the cases this season and how Lucifer and Chloe's working relationship has changed now?
I would say this season the cases are, again, thematically tied in with what Lucifer seems to be going through at the time, but I think the sort of underlying thing about the cases this year is I would say they're more on the periphery, because it's more about the trust between Chloe and Lucifer. So whatever they're working on, there's always another dialogue going on that isn't in the scene, which is about Lucifer just really would love more than anything for Chloe to accept all of him, who he is, every moment of him, and not be in fear of him, because that's his biggest fear. So there's a lot of back and forth between the two of them because this kind of bomb has gone off in their relationship.
In the season three finale, we saw Charlotte [Tricia Helfer] die, and we saw Lucifer kill Pierce [Tom Welling]. How do those deaths affect season four?
I really think Dan's got a fantastic season actually. Kevin Alejandro is a fantastic actor and he's really kind of come to a different level this season emotionally for Dan, because we're dealing with him dealing with the loss of Charlotte, and his sort of processing of that, and again tying into the overall thing of like forgiveness, and if you're going to forgive people, maybe you need to be forgiving of yourself before you do that. So there's that going on.
I mean, Lucifer having killed Pierce was significant to Lucifer because that sort of ignited something in him that he's forgotten about really, which is how much he loved punishment, and how much he loved taht side of hell, and someone getting their just desserts. So that sparks something in Lucifer that makes it really kind of a Jeckyll and Hyde season for him this year. He's struggling to try and prove to Chloe that he is more than the person that she thinks he is now, and that he is the man that she remembers before all of that, before she had the knowledge.
But at the same time, he's got this monster inside of him that's trying to get out. And when Eve comes along in episode four and Lucifer's at his lowest, we realize there's someone there who's quite happy for that monster to come out because she wants the Lucifer that she remembers back in the Garden of Eden, and she's willing to accept him for all that he is. So it's fun.
Can you talk a little about how the show changed this season in its new home?
Well in terms of like standards and practices, we have very different boundaries that we can work in. There was a lot of speculation when we went to Netflix about how the show was going to change and if it was going to become this and this, more sexy, more violent, whatever. And we had a little conversation during the Save Lucifer campaign. It was really apparent that our audience is a really broad audience. Like we do have kids watch my show and we have the grandparents watching the show. People often come up and say, I watch this show with my husband, I watch this show with my boyfriend, my sister and I watched it together. So it seems to be something for everybody, and I think one of the reasons is that we never went too far or we weren't able to go too far. We weren't able to go too vulgar or too gratuitous with the violence or anything like that. We were suggestive about it, and that's part of the charm of Lucifer as well. He never goes kind of all the way, but his suggestions of stuff is the thing that makes him quite funny, and that slightly taboo nature of life.
We did have different parameters, and we have, in certain moments, pushed it further than we could have done before with like, you might see more flesh this season. You might hear the odd curse word, but it won't be like suddenly everybody's got two heads. We wanted to keep the same show because that's teh show that people fell in love with and also the show that Netflix, when they picked us up, said we love your show, that's the show we want.
But I think mainly the biggest thing for us is that now it's Netflix and it's 10 episodes, it's really streamlined the show into the best version of it, which is just great story from episode one to episode 10, and we're really focused in on our main characters, and you know, I would say it's become subsequently much more personal this season.
Those promos were very sexy this season. Has that been fun to lean into?
What, to pretend to be sexy? Yes. [laughs] I sort of documented it a bit on social media, but I went through a bit of a transition with my body between season three and season four. So when we got to season four, I said to the producers, look, if we want to push certain areas, I feel a lot more comfortable having no clothes on now. So we leaned into it, and Netflix liked the notion of it. And so you know, that's how we got our promo trailers.
Listen, I don't mind. If it's good for our show and it gets eyes and people watching, then I'm all for it. And mainly, nudity on our show is done in a humorous kind of way. And I'll do anything for a laugh, as anyone will tell you.
Anything else you want to share about this season?
My main thing I'm really excited about is that the show's sort of slowly grown and made its way around the globe over the last three seasons, and so everyone I think has had all the seasons now. So I'm just excited, 'cause again, what became apparent was that we had such a huge global audience. It wasn't just in the states. So for everyone to see season four at the same time, it's a really exciting prospect.
You've never had that before!
Never! It's always been like a slow drip, drip thing. I mean, when we were on Fox, we were still shooting the show whilst it was airing, so it was kind of a continual thing. But we have this time and this whole experience and this year between seasons and the expectancy has gone up, and I just hope people enjoy it, because I honestly believe that this is the best season we've done."
You can find that out for yourself with new episodes of Lucifer, now streaming on Netflix.