A canceled series gets a new life, thanks to fans and hashtags
You just can't kill the devil.
That is especially true when the devil is the lead character in the once Fox, now Netflix series Lucifer.
At the end of the show's third season, the Fox network, Lucifer's home from the beginning of the show, decided to cancel the series. The creators of the series were devastated.
Co-executive producer Joe Henderson says, "This is a show that is a dream to work on, that I love working on, and honestly I thought we were going to keep working on. So, when the cancellation happened, it hit hard. Like it kind of actually surprised me just how hard it hit just because I didn't see it coming. It was rather devastating.
"We found out rather suddenly that we'd been canceled and then we had just dealt with sort of the mourning period and then the Lucifer Hashtag started up, and that wasn't us, but we quickly jumped onto it because, we were like, worst case, it was really fun to see the fans rally and talk about the show and kind of give it almost like an Irish wake."
The fans did far more than that. They started a #SaveLucifer campaign that went viral. Co-executive producer Ildy Modrovich says, "I was not a social media type of gal before the Save Lucifer Campaign, but I guess it takes something you actually care about to get involved. We all kind of became a family during this crisis of getting picked up.
"They sent things to us after the campaign was done, but you kind of are in a bubble when you make television. You might like it, you might be a fan of it, but you don't realize how many people are actually watching. And not just that, but actually are invested, care. It was the best thing in the world to get canceled, because we never would have known that people cared so much."
The cast, too, was stunned by the response. Lucifer portrayer Tom Ellis says, "I think a lot of people's assumption is that when a show gets canceled, it means it got canceled because it wasn't very good.
"That's why I was so devastated when the show got canceled, because I believe we were making a really good thing and I've experienced for the last three years traveling the world and people coming to me, saying this show's great. In the modern day, when there's so much content out there, I'm walking around all over the place and people know about this show.
"People watch it and they know someone who watches it. It's not one of those never heard of shows. That's what was kind of puzzling. Ultimately, those decisions come down to politics and business. What used to suffer at the end of it was the fans who suddenly didn't have their thing any more. But these days, they've got a voice and this whole experience has been very uplifting."
The depth of feeling that the fans showed came as something of a surprise to the rest of the cast, as well. Lauren German, who plays Chloe Decker, says, "I went to Australia and New Zealand to do some press and the fans were unbelievably outspoken and supportive and lovely.
"We had people that flew from South Carolina, a group of 20 women, that had Save Lucifer t-shirts, Save Lucifer sweatshirts. They had signs. They had been doing online petitions.
"We had women coming up in tears, saying 'I love your show. I sit down and I watch Lucifer and the problems with the family or the issues with my kids, whatever, it just ... who knew a show about the Devil would brighten my day and be my one shining light.'"
For everyone in the cast and crew, saving the show meant far more than simply securing a paycheck. Lesley-Ann Brandt, who plays Mazikeen, says, "It felt surreal, but I'm so grateful because if you follow us on our social media, we see each other outside of set and the studio. We are involved in each other's lives. We are Aunts and Uncles to each other's children.
"It felt sad to lose that day to day interaction with this family I've come to love. When we were saved, I was just so grateful that I get to spend another year with my friends and my family."
Kevin Alejandro, who plays Dan Espinoza, agrees, "We were all actually a little bit shocked. We felt pretty good about what we were creating together and we were 100% and still are 100% connected to each other as far as the cast and as friends go, so it was heartbreaking to be faced with, 'Oh man, we are not going to be doing this anymore together. Where do we go from here? What happens?' None of us were ready to leave.
"We left on such a positive note and then immediately, once it was announced, that outcry was just sort of groundbreaking, in my opinion. It was so rattling for us, we felt their energy. It was just an amazing, amazing thing to experience, to feel their love. When we go out and we talk to our fans, at whatever event it is, or run into somebody,
"I like to say that there were six or seven series regulars in our cast and our audience is the eighth."
Now that the series has been saved and is moving to a new platform on Netflix, those loyal fans can expect to be repaid with a season worthy of their loyalty, according to all involved. The third season ended with Chloe Decker finally finding out that her partner was the actual devil. How that scenario plays out is a huge part of the fourth season.
Henderson says, "I've got to say, this is our best season and for a Season 4 to be the best season that you've done is really, really exciting. Everyone on the crew feels it, the actors feel it, everyone feels it. To be honest, it's just one of the big elements. Chloe knowing the truth, opens up so much story and just changes the show.
"Also, doing 10 episodes, focusing that story, really makes sure that every single episode in this season counts. In 22, you try to do that, and you mostly succeed hopefully, but with 10, it's just so concentrated and so juicy.
"It's pretty good. It's pretty good. It's the exact same show we've made for four seasons, but everything's just a little shinier, sharper, darker, weirder, fun. It just feels like everything is firing on all cylinders."
Adding to the excitement of the new season are two new characters. Henderson explains, "Graham McTavish is joining us as Father Kinley, who is a priest who Chloe encounters as she's trying to figure out what she knows - how she feels about what she just found out.
"The two of them are just amazing together. And then of course, Inbar Lavi is playing Eve, the original sinner, some might say. She might argue otherwise. And Lucifer's first love.
"So, it's really exciting to have these two different characters come in, one of whom represents the Church's view of the world, and Eve, who represents Lucifer, who he used to be way back when, as opposed to this version we've met now.
"So, very much a lot of this season is ... well, we call this season basically, 'The Devil is Back,' which last season his Devil face was gone. All the stuff was gone. This season, his Devil face is back and a whole lot more. One of the things Eve is going to do is to remind him of who he used to be and make him wonder whether or not he's gone too far from that."
All the characters will be going through changes and growth throughout the season, and the whole cast is happy to go on the journey.
Aimee Garcia, who plays scientist Ella Lopez, is also excited to share the new season, for a lot of reasons.
She says, "To just see the outpour of global love of people saying that our show represents really strong women, to our show represents all sorts of sexual orientations. Our show represents someone who wants to be redeemed. If the devil can be redeemed then there is hope for all of us and ironically, we're most popular in Catholic countries.
"I mean it's just to feel my character, Ella Lopez. I'm the only Latino scientist on TV, and I have everyone from young girls to college students to teachers saying 'Hey, I'm a physics teacher, and I play your scenes in my class because you are one of the few women in STEM in media, and one of very few women of color in STEM in media. So, I really appreciated as a science teacher seeing a young woman who loves science and is a nerd.'"
Garcia also agrees that it promises a lot to the faithful audience. She says, "I think it's our best season yet. I think it's daring. It's fun. It's risky. It's unapologetic, and each episode, because there's 10 of them, is really full, and I think each episode can breathe a bit more because we can have a little bit longer episode. I think that really helps with the story and with the little character moments."
The rest of the cast agrees. The show has always had light and dark moments, moving from deep, almost philosophical moments to a dark humor. And the move to Netflix frees the writers to do even more of that.
D.B. Woodside, who plays the angel Amenadiel, notes "I think the best parts of the show, when the show really flies, is especially when we focus so much on characters, and it being character-driven. I think that the procedural aspects of the show tend to that and reveal something about the characters on the show, especially Lucifer, especially with the great work that Tom does, week after week.
"Obviously, I've always been someone that, the darker the show gets, the more it pleases me.
"I like the gritty aspects and I don't think it takes anything away from the humor. I think that hopping over to Netflix gives us the ability to go a little bit darker, which just makes the comedy kind of zing and fly more. And it's also when you really need it, because you need that break."
Rachael Harris, playing Dr. Linda, agrees. She adds, "I think the writers work very hard. I don't think it's easy to add that aspect of it. It's like another convention they have to deal with as part of the script. To make that work with our characters I think speaks a lot to Ildy and Joe and to the staff of writers that they have. That they understand the show they're writing, and they appreciate it.
"I think it's very timely. I think we're looking, as a world, at the fact that we're taking the most irredeemable character and saying that they're redeemable. No religion in that statement, but just saying, I think what the fans really relate to is like, 'Wow, if he's so flawed and people understand him, then there's hope for me.'
"Which was one of the main things that I liked, seeing this person trying to right his wrongs, and find out why he is the way he is. And the domino effect of how that affects his brother and Maze, his demon sidekick or whatever. I think it's a much deeper show than we get credit for."
As close as the cast is, they are also welcoming to newcomers, such as Inbar Lavi, who joins the cast this season as Eve. Yes, that Eve. Turns out, she and Lucifer have quite a backstory, which will be explored in the new season.
Lavi says, "Yes, indeed. Everything that happened back in Heaven between Lucifer and Eve - he tempted her with a very delicious apple. She had a bite and there were consequences. But also, it's opened up this whole new world for her that she's still very curious about.
"Then he left and she was kind of surrounded by a lot of beauty and security and a lot of perfect. That can get old very quickly. I think she had other realms to explore that she wasn't able to get to up in Heaven, which a lot of women can relate to. I know I can."
The aspect of joining such a close groupwas remarkably easy. Lavi says, "It's been magnificent, to be honest. There's a real sense of family that's been created and they really put that above all on this show, more so than any other show I've had to work on. There's a real sense of camaraderie and protection. Everyone really protects each other and protects the work.
"You really get to have fun. No one's taking this too seriously but also, you are professional. You show up, do your work, you love what you work on. That's the sense that everyone gets. Especially this season, obviously after the resurrection, there's a real sense of grateful. Everyone just feels really, really grateful.
"When you lose something and then you get it back, it's like now you really appreciate it. So, it's been really wonderful. I have to say, it really starts up high, I think. The producers make it very clear there's a no asshole policy. Everyone is genuinely sweet, kind, loving and giving."
While nothing is certain in television, cast and crew are hopeful that this season on Netflix will be the next step in an ongoing series.
Henderson says, "One of the first things we discussed with Netflix is how many more seasons could exist of it. Now, who knows what happens after Season 4 drops but we are breaking story and talking with Netflix in a way that plans for many seasons to come. Hopefully, the ratings bear out on that but yeah, we're hoping to go on."
Lucifer drops all 10 episodes on Netflix on Wednesday, May 8.