After Lucifer’s Season 5a debuted in August 2020, fans of the devilish detective had even more celestial questions. During 5a’s finale, angelic brothers Michael (Tom Ellis), Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) and Lucifer (Tom Ellis) faced off in the LAPD’s headquarters, smashing through its offices until God (Dennis Haysbert), “Dear Old Dad,” arrived to stop the fight. The brotherly battle erupted over Lucifer and Amenadiel’s fear that Michael had somehow hurt — or will — hurt Charlie, Amenadiel’s seemingly mortal son. Time froze during the battle due to an enraged Amenadiel using his powers right as Lucifer was finally going to tell Chloe Decker he loves her.
CBR sat down with co-showrunner Joe Henderson to learn what fans can expect from the second half of its fifth season. Henderson exclusively shared how God will factor into the story and discussed how the show’s family themes inspired his newest comic series, Shadecraft, on which he collaborated with artists Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela and Simon Bowland.
At the end of the first part of season five, God arrives, portrayed by Dennis Haysbert. What did he bring to the role of God that you loved?
Joe Henderson: Dennis Haysbert is one of the warmest, nicest people ever. He visited the set before he even started shooting, which some actors do, but a lot don’t. I feel like he knows what it’s like to be a series regular. People were so excited to see him. He brought this warmth and wondrous presence. And, he gives the best hugs of anyone ever. And that is up against Ella Lopez herself, which is, you know, a pretty high bar!
What has God’s presence enabled you to do with Lucifer’s character that you haven’t been able to in earlier seasons?
Henderson: So much of Lucifer’s relationship with God is about this distance. What was interesting is casting someone who had that inherent warmth, plays against the type you’d expect, but also leans into sort of the fatherly energy that he gives. He has that presence of the Father that you don’t want to disappoint. And the father that seems warm, but also probably could get angry at you at a moment’s notice. He’s an incredible energy to have on the show. And it opens up Lucifer in ways he has chosen to close off previously as the “wayward son.”
What was one thing that you wanted to avoid in your portrayal of God and/or in his portrayal as a father figure?
Henderson: Well, I’ll tell you one of the main things we wanted to do is we didn’t want God to come down and just start giving answers. I think what’s so interesting about our show is that for the entirety of it, God has been this outside force, this unknowable force. So much of Season 5 has been about Lucifer reckoning with the fact that God’s not the enemy. God is just a father trying to do right by his son… But also ping-ponging between thoughts that he isn’t, or is, and frustration over why God can’t just tell him things, which is a very relatable thought for any child who just wants their father or mother or parent to just tell them what they’re thinking.
The answer is, it’s always much more complicated than that. And so, the trick was if we’re gonna bring God down, how do we maintain the godliness? How do we make sure that he can start answering things without just volunteering everything? A lot of that is the arc of Season 5b. God’s here, but well, is he just more mysterious than ever? Or can I start actually getting the answers that I’ve wanted? That’s a big part of the story we wanted to tell. Early on, a lot of people thought that we were making God the villain. And to me, it’s just a father story. Making God the hero of his own story, as we do to every character on the show, and exploring his own path of pain and heroism was incredibly important.
What is one regret that you can maybe reveal about God’s approach to his children? What does he regret about how he raised them?
Henderson: I have to say tune in to find out but know that that is definitely something that we will explore.
Amenadiel, the eldest of angels, is now a father himself. How will his role as a father change his perspective on his?
Henderson: Yes! That’s such a big part of Season 5, particularly with Amenadiel, who is dealing with all of those issues of fatherhood. Dealing with both loving a child but also being afraid for a child, and really positioning him to have a parallel to God. So that Amenadiel and Lucifer could arrive at wildly different perspectives on the arrival of their father.
In 5b, a lot of Amenadiel’s arc is looking at his father from an entirely new perspective, as a fellow father. What would he do similarly? Differently? What did he wish his father did for him? And what are the things that in seeing his own father he realizes he needed to do to him at that time? Some of my favorite scenes in 5b are with God and Amenadiel. What’s great is D.B. and Dennis have this incredible shorthand from being on 24 together, as brothers in that case, but there’s an intimacy that you’ll see on the screen that comes off really well.
Mazikeen has been exploring her family roots for a while now to no avail and battling a lot of rejection. How will the surprise visit from God affect this journey?
Henderson: Maze was left with a really raw, open wound at the end of Season 4. She finally found love and then had her heart broken. So much of Season 5 is her dealing with rejection.
A lot of characters in Season 4 dealt with stuff, but got over it, and had new issues arise in Season 5. But Maze, she had the biggest wound of all that we had to figure out how to heal, and to take our time to explore that process. Her mother’s death, being manipulated by Michael, on top of everything, she’s about to heal, and then this new information makes things even worse. And so God is an interesting figure to enter into her life because she has questions. Why am I made this way? She’s also got someone to blame standing right in front of her… Sounds like some good future scenes.
I was curious about how God’s arrival will affect Ella Lopez since she’s been on this journey of faith… but now, I’m also curious if she and Maze will discuss their fraught relationship with God? Because they’re both seeming to be feeling rejection from him, although they are coming at it from different angles?
Henderson: That is very interesting. Ella Lopez and God, that feels like a scene that should happen… But far be it from to reveal anything that might come up in the future. But boy, I would love to see the two of them have a conversation.
And I think what you’re tuning into, in particular, is this sort of parallel between what Maze and Ella are going for which is either feeling loved by God or forsaken by God. Ella finished her crisis of faith from last season, but now she’s in a crisis of self. Now, she’s sort of doubting herself and trying to figure that out. But to me, and our writers, those things — self and faith — are more intertwined than anyone can really know. And that’s one of the things that we’ll explore in 5b, as we bring her two big conflicts to their boiling points.
Speaking of open wounds, Dr. Linda Martin has a lot on her plate as a mother, a therapist to celestial beings, possibly having a celestial child, and dealing with her own daughter that she gave up. Will she continue to be a nurturing force in 5b? What role will Linda have in resolving family issues when God comes to town?
Henderson: It’s gonna be a mixture of all the above! So much of what we wanted to do with Linda is explore that idea of motherhood from multiple aspects.
She’s got Charlie, and it’s a question of, “Who is he going to become? Will he follow in my footsteps or your footsteps?” Instead of that idea of like, “Is he gonna become a writer or a lawyer?” The question is, “Are you going to become an angel? Or a human?” It’s taking something very relatable and writing it larger, which is something we love to do on the show.
With Linda, we wanted to add that extra wrinkle of that sense of failure. That sense of, “I’ve been here before and I’m scared because I didn’t do it right last time.” That almost puts too much pressure on a child and further dramatize it. But in Season 5b, one of the things we want to keep exploring is Linda’s guilt towards the daughter she left behind, Adriana. And what is she going to do about that? Do with that guilt? Between that, and God’s arrival, we have a lot of parental issues that are going to come to a head in 5b. Definitely sounds like it.
Will Chloe have a chance to explore how God, quite literally, objectified her? What would she want most from that conversation with him?
Henderson: I will say when you have Dennis Haysbert… You put him in as many scenes as possible. And wouldn’t that be an interesting scene to have…
It sounds like Brianna Hildebrand’s Rory will be stirring up some trouble on Earth. What kind of trouble?
Henderson: A Season 6 question! [Laughs.]
[Laughs.] Throwing a curveball!
Henderson: I’d say, let’s chat again soon… But, I will say I was a huge fan of Brianna in Deadpool and Deadpool 2 and am a fan of her performance.
So you’re working on Shadecraft now — a new Image Comics series debuting in March — with Lee Garbett that similar to Lucifer explores keeping secrets within a supernatural family. Why are you drawn to writing tales that explore keeping secrets in a family?
Henderson: Yeah, to me, so much of my work is big crazy ideas grounded in family. I love the mixture of spectacle and the high concept and the heart. You fuse those together, and you get something potentially special. Personally, I’ve always been obsessed with shadows. Always been obsessed with the idea of what lurks right behind something. Does that shadow look like a monster? Or if I shift over a bit is it just a tree mixed with a bench? But then you’re like, “Okay, for a second there… What if?” So much of our lives, so much of our secrets are things we’re guessing at until we find the truth. And so you find that metaphor for the unknown, for what you worry about, for your insecurities for your fears. And if you can physicalize it, all of a sudden, you’re cooking with gas!
With Shadecraft, what I realized is taking that very inherent fear we all have — what’s in shadows — and combining it with the real truth, which is sometimes there is something in the shadows, and then adding that supernatural touch to the shadow themselves, created the vehicle needed to tell Zadie Lu’s story.
Zadie is a version of, I think, all of us who at 16 years old is probably too old to think shadows are coming to life… But it seems like they are, but more importantly, is dealing with a lot of emotional issues, and fears and secrets and self-doubt that parallel the shadows themselves.
Having read Shadecraft #1, it seems like its story, at its heart, is also about the strength of sibling ties, similar to Lucifer. What draws you to writing about siblings?
Henderson: I am a middle child. I have an older brother and a younger brother. And so much of growing up is always feeling like you’re in your siblings’ shadows, feeling like they’re better than you, or they’re getting the attention you want. And I wanted to explore that. And personally, my older brother was awesome. He is awesome. And so growing up, it was always, “How do you live up to that?”
That was a big part of my insecurity growing up. And I mean, there was a point where my two brothers would just team up on me. I was the nerd! My older brother was cool. My younger brother was cool. I was the guy writing a novel in the other room. And so, I liked the idea of exploring that and putting it into the story. Whenever you can find that touch of the personal, just really, really dig into it. And so Zadie is me to a certain extent dealing with, in her case, the greatest older brother who’s ever lived, and trying to get out from under his shadow and find her own light.
Lucifer stars Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, Lauren German as Det. Chloe Decker, D.B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin, Kevin Alejandro as Det. Dan Espinoza, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen Smith and Aimee Garcia as Ella Lopez. The first half of Season 5 is now streaming on Netflix.