About this event
This session took place during a video fan meet organised by Hero Initiative, who help support comic creators in times of need. Thank you very much to @NotOneLineFF who wrote a transcript and allowed us to publish it. Please note that some answers may contain spoilers from season 5.
Questions and answers
Joe: Hi guys, thank you for being here! I’m so excited, I cannot wait to dodge many questions. But throw in occasional nuggets here and there. Mwuahaha.
Dylan: We’ll see how much fun it is to watch Joe dance.
Joe: I got moves! (dances) All right, how do we wanna start this?
Hero Initiative: If you wanna do a little intro however you want, Joe, and then from there we’ll take some Q’s and you can give some A’s.
Joe: All right, I don’t know if you guys know who I am, I am a TV writer, I don’t know why you’re on here if you don’t, but thank you for taking pity on me and doing what no one else will. Thank you guys, I was getting really insecure, and I know that you got emailed and they’re like, ‘hey can someone jump in on this to make this guy feel nice?’ Thank you. (laughs)
Uh no, I’m really excited, I’m excited, and by the way, no question is off limits; I might not answer them, but feel free to ask any question and watch me be like Neo and try to dodge those bullets, and occasionally give out good details. But I will say everything that I can say, and I’ll try to think of things that are worth the time and money you spent to be here. So… let’s do!
Hero Initiative: All right, let’s start off with some Q’s… how about we work clockwise the way it is to me… Dylan, you’d be first.
Dylan: Alrighty, a couple of them. So, I came into this as a Lucifer fan.
Dylan: Though, if time permitting, later I do have kind of an amusing story about Skyward.
Dylan: As fastidious as our Devil is about his couture choices, I’m going to assume somewhere along the line he’s got a drawer full of monogrammed pocket squares. What would his monogram be?
Dylan: What’s his middle initial?
Joe: Ahahaha, that is a great question! By the way, yes, there is a drawer full of pocket squares. Our writer, Mike Costa, is the one who (someone coughs) pocket squares because he is a dapper dressed fellow, and so whenever there’s a pocket square joke he probably wrote it. But his monogram, can it just be two letters?
Dylan: Not traditionally, but…
Joe: It would be L.M., but in the middle I think it would probably be H, just because it’d be like a little joke and a wink to some other—
Dylan: Good point.
Joe: Whether or not it was accurate, I feel like that would be his cheeky monogram.
Dylan: We’ll call that your gut reaction.
Joe: There we go, I like it. It’s not canon, but… it’s canon right now. That’s a great question, I love it.
Kat: As long as it’s not confirmed or denied in the actual show, then it counts, it’s fine.
Joe: Exactly. I can deny all of this. And I will.
Dylan: Or you’ll write it into the show some time in the future.
Joe: Exactly, I’m like, “Monogram, monogram…” (makes typing motion) “Okay, this is actually really helpful.”
Did you have another question you wanted to ask, Dylan?
Dylan: I’ve got a couple, but why don’t we cycle through and let everyone else go.
Joe: All right, all right, who’s next?
SL: I wanna know what writer has something against Tarzana, my hometown? Where my parents still live, by the way!
Joe: Really? Tarzana is lovely, but Tarzana and Van Nuys have taken a lot of abuse on our show.
SL: I get Van Nuys, I’m cool with Van Nuys, but come on!
Joe: Honestly, I’ll tell you the real reason Tarzana gets a lot of abuse… it’s because of your parents.
No, it’s because certain words, when you have Tom Ellis say them, are funny. And ‘Tah-zan-ah’ is funny when Tom Ellis says it. I wish there was an elaborate— It’s like, the sad truth is a lot of our ideas simply come from what’s funny if Tom Ellis says it.
SL: All right, I can live with that. I just heard it, and I just… I was like, “Wait, what?!”
Joe: Listen, there is a very small chance that one of the writers has a secret grudge, and is using the fact that Tarzana sounds funny in Tom Ellis’ mouth as their excuse to bash Tarzana. And if they are, it’s probably… Chris Rafferty.
SL: Oooo, okay, alrighty then.
Joe: Throw him under the bus. All right, next! This is fun.
Emiko: I have like this page of questions, but I won’t ask you all of them!
Joe: Let’s do this! I love these pages, all right. We’re gonna rotate, we’re gonna make it happen.
Emiko: So, I’m aware that you’ve been saying you wanted to get Gaudium into the series, and I was wondering if you’d managed to do that yet?
Joe: That’s a great question, and it’s one I can answer, which is I’ve not gotten Gaudium in yet. I tried really hard in season five, and we actually had a pitch that almost worked, but, honestly, it just didn’t fit in with the story of the season. It was a real bummer because I thought we’d found a way to get him in there, and should we have future stories to tell, I would like to try that again. Should that… happen. If it happens.
Emiko: I was rooting for you to get that in, but okay. (Thumbs up)
Joe: I know, listen, it is so important to me, he’s my favorite character from the comics. It’s such a hard adaptation, which is why I love it, because whatever it’s going to be is going to be strange, but also, just, if we nail his characterisation right, then the character follows. And so, I really want to try to do it. I’m glad you reminded me because now I’m going to start brainstorming.
Kat: I’ve always loved one line in the comic which is where Gaudium’s meeting another supernatural creature, in a convenience store, and they’re having a chat, and as they walk away, he goes, “You’re seeing me as a six foot black guy, right?”
Joe: I forgot about that, yeah.
Kat: And the other one is just like, “Obviously, yeah.” “Okay, just checking.”
Joe: Yeah. And that’s the beauty of it, like, yeah, there are ways to get him in there, and I want to.
All right, who’s up?
Kat: I’ll have to pick something else on my list now. If licensing and budget was not an issue, what songs would you like on Lucifer and why?
Joe: Ohhh, okay that’s a good one. It’s a great question because Ildy is the musically smart one, I’m the musically dumb one, so my answer would be Dave Matthews Band, because it would be hilarious. But honestly, we’ve been able to get most of the songs we wanted. We’ve been able to get a bunch of Bowie, we got a lot of cool classic rock. So… most of the songs we’ve gone after we’ve been able to get, there’s been a couple that have been denied us. There’s one song that we wanted to go after for the musical that we weren’t able to get. And the song we got instead, I think turned out even better.
Sometimes you get that thing where you’re like, and I won’t speak to it yet, because who knows what the songs in the musical are, but they’re awesome. We had a song where we were like, “It has to be this song, it’s the only song”, and, um, they were like, “No.” But what’s there instead is beautiful and awesome. But, yeah, I think that’s the only time I really felt like, ‘Gosh, I wish we got that’. But so much of TV is you get a disappointment and then you get a happy surprise after if you just keep moving.
…but Dave Matthews Band.
Hero Initiative: I’m so glad you’re not in control, Joe. All right, before we get any more Dave Matthews, Rebecca!
Rebecca: Okay, season 4, episode 2. I would like to know what you think Chloe would have done if she hadn’t knocked the glass over when she was…
Joe: Oh, yeah!
Rebecca: Would she have let him drink it?
Joe: I… you know, I think that’s a great question. I think, deep down, Chloe knocked the glass down on purpose. I think subconsciously, she was looking for a reason to not do it, and if it hadn’t been that, it would have been something else. I think as much as that was an effect of the sound coming on, I also think it was very much she knew…
So much of our show is Lucifer’s subconscious, and one of the things we’ve enjoyed playing with is also digging into Chloe’s subconscious and her own issues. And I think this was a case of there was a small voice in her brain saying, ‘Hey, what you’re doing is wrong.’
But I would like to write the alternate history version where she killed Lucifer and then is like, “…Oops.”
Kat: We can send you some links, people have done that.
Joe: I bet they have.
Rebecca: Yeah… quite a lot.
Joe: That’s great!
Dylan: Do you really want to be responsible for all those heart attacks of Deckerstar fans?
Joe: Right? I know.
Kat: That’s the soundbite right there, you’ve just said Chloe killed him. There you go. Just that, send it out there.
Joe: Chloe killed Lucifer. In my canon.
Dylan: We can trim it down just right.
Joe: By the way, for the Deckerstar fans, season five is going to be wildly disappointing. (Pauses, then cracks up laughing)
Uh, no, you guys are going to dig season five. I think season five is our best season, and I know I have a tendency to say things like that a lot, but I thought season four was our best season until season five.
Dylan: I remember back when in season two when you said season five was your best season, so…
Joe: See, I was right!
But no, it’s… season four we were like, locked in and great, but in season five we experiment a little bit, and it really pays off. I’m serious.
Dylan: There’s a lot of potential in what you just said.
Joe: Yes, yes. Interpret!
Hero Initiative: Well everyone got their first question in.
Joe: All right, more!
Hero Initiative: I’m going to let it be a little bit more organic, you guys can throw stuff out there, Joe you can pick on folks… however you want to handle it.
Joe: Okay, I’ll take over! I’m in the driver’s seat. Dylan, starting with you, hit it!
Dylan: You know when you take the Warner Brothers tour, the one thing you’re not supposed to do? Take pictures of the property warehouse?
Dylan: Well, someone did. So if this is too spoilery just tell me to shut up and I will. So, over labor day weekend last year, so this is going back a while, somebody took pictures when they were there, and they had a picture of two columns, with globes on top. Ring a bell?
Joe: Not specifically, but we get a lot of columns and a lot of globes…
Dylan: They’re both six feet tall, six and a half feet tall.
Okay… you’ve basically answered my question without answering my question, so we’re good.
Joe: If you’re wondering if it’s a big spoiler and if people have been interpreting it as perhaps the gates to somewhere, or…
Dylan: Well, the columns have a place in masonic ritual, they actually have names. And so I was wondering if they were something related and the show was drawing in that mythology, or if it was just ‘hey, this is cool, let’s bring it on the set.’
Joe: My honest answer to that is, our production designer is amazing, and chances are he actually knows and he did that on purpose for a very specific reason, tying into our story, but also because they looked cool. But usually, I don’t know that. It’s so funny because a production designer will do something… like season two, with Charlotte Richard’s office, there were pomegranates in the background. And I’m like, “That’s an interesting choice,” and the production designer’s like, “Well, you know like, a lot of people said the apple was actually a pomegranate. So I liked using that as an influence and a motif for, you know, the mother of all the whole universe and the Garden of Eden, and there’s just like a whole subtextual idea there,” and I was like, “Cool, I just thought the pomegranates looked good. But now I really like it.”
I’m a dumb dumb. Being very clear, I am not very smart and I can dodge most questions by ignorance. So…
Dylan: I think you should give yourself a little bit more credit.
Joe: Eh… but by embracing my dumbdumbness, I get in less trouble.
Joe: All right, I love that question! All right, let me go out of order… Kat!
Kat: Have you ever considered the potential hilarity of putting someone with a very strong English accent against Lucifer so he can’t ‘translate’ them. Because technically they’re speaking English but he has no idea what they’re saying.
Joe: We have not, no. But I think the closest we’ve gotten would be when he’s talking to John Constantine in the crossover, obviously not an English accent, but…
Kat: His isn’t that bad actually.
Joe: No, it’s not that bad.
Kat: I can go… you know when you had Ella speaking very quickly, I’m Mancunian; I can speak faster than that. So I’ve spent ten years living away from where I grew up, learning to slow the ‘f’ down, so other people can understand me. And my brain just occasionally inserts, ‘If I went full accent from when I was a kid, people don’t get me at all.’
Joe: Like Brad Pitt from Snatch.
Kat: So tempted to do it, but no one will understand a word.
Joe: Well, noted, and I’ll keep it in the brain if just in case it comes up.
Rebecca: Okay, don’t worry, I’m not going to ask if there’s a Lucifer season six, I’m not that daft.
Joe: Thank you!
…What is a season? (shrugs)
Rebecca: Obviously the possibility of one has been floated about on the internet, so I’m just curious if there were any tweaks made to the final episode of season five to allow for the possibility?
Joe: Ooo… that is a very interesting question. Well, I mean, that would make sense. If… that was to happen. That would make sense. However, we haven’t even finished shooting the season five finale, so… but… but yeah, that seems like it would probably be a good idea if someone was going to do something like that. But also if someone was going to do something like that, it might actually be less than you might think.
SL: Okay, so I’ve loved the show since it first came out on FOX and was thrilled when it made its move to Netflix, so I just wanted to say that. But, okay, so here’s one of the things that’s actually kind of bugged me about the show, and really about Lucifer. It seems to me that people have done him wrong consistently. I mean, he has his own mental issues about, and his own responsibility issues about and all that good stuff, but, Amenadiel, I mean, come on. You know, he tried to kill him, he’s done more than his fair share, others have done wrong… and Maze in particular has betrayed him, and I remember Maze had that big speech, and I guess in season three about ‘You never pay attention to me’ but I was like, “But she screwed him.” And she’s tried to have him killed, I mean, she’s betrayed him a few times.
Joe: Well, let me just take that really quick there, I’m going to let you finish, but In Maze’s defense, she didn’t betray him, she tried to send him where she thought he needed to be. And all it was, was bringing him back to his home. In her mind, it’s a hero journey, very simple of, ‘He doesn’t know what he needs right now, and I need to help him. He needs to go back home, he needs to remember who he is.’ It is a betrayal, but it is also at least, a well meaning one, that I think Lucifer himself would understand, in as much as that idea that like, it was the best of intentions, on that betrayal.
SL: And I guess really the second betrayal with Pierce, which was not…
Joe: Which was after, after that speech though.
SL: It was after that speech, and I think Lucifer bodged the apology to her, that was pretty clear. He didn’t quite, you know, apologise in the best way on that first issue, but I’m noticing that Lucifer is very forgiving to everybody, he kind of just moves on, and I’m like, “Well is he ever going to really hold somebody accountable? I mean, obviously we have God, which I’m very excited about.”
Joe: Me too. Ah, it’s so good!
SL: He’s got his own responsibilities here, but there’s, you know, people left him, his family abandoned him, and I’m just like… let’s just say I’m really hoping there’s a big confrontation and it all comes out.
Joe: Well here’s what I’ll say. A couple of things. One, God comes down and they just hug, it’s really sweet and anti-climatic, but it’s… (starts laughing) sorry! One of the things we wanted to do in season five, as the season that was wrapping everything up, was, you know, pay tribute to the arcs of the characters, and one of the things in particular was we want to highlight is the things that Lucifer’s done, the sacrifices he’s made. I speak to, I know a lot of fans have asked when is Chloe going to find out all the times Lucifer put himself in danger for her, things like that. We’re going to dig into Lucifer and Maze’s relationship again, and discover some past history between the two of them that one of them might not even be aware of… there’s something new!
So, to answer your question, it’s one of the things we’re going to dig into and one of the things we really play with; both Lucifer’s forgiving nature and his lack of forgiving nature. Because I think one of the reasons Lucifer is so forgiving of Maze in particular is because they go so far back. Like, and, she’s a demon. He knows who she is, and he also knows where she’s coming from. Like, especially as our show’s gone on and he’s evolved as an emotional being, I think what’s so nice is that he has figured out, these… these… how people work. And I think what’s funny is, you get two versions. One is the Lucifer who’s like, “Yeah, you betrayed me, but that was like two days ago. Like, you’re a demon, that’s who you are. I’m the Devil, that’s who I am. But also, so you get that sort of level of Lucifer just sort of moving on because that’s how he is, but also the secondary level of emotional evolvement is done through Linda, and through Chloe, which is, I know you meant well, and I’m willing to see that, eventually. But, I will say, there are particular grudges that come to a rather violent head.
And trust me… that one will pay off.
Emiko: I have questions about Trixie.
Joe: Hit it.
Emiko: I’ll start with, why does Lucifer never say her name? He has names for everybody else and nicknames for everybody else, but she’s always like, “Deceptive little parasite,” or something.
Joe: One of the things I loved early on is we really embrace the idea that Lucifer is wildly uncomfortable around children. Like the idea that they’re just, like, his kryptonite. That, like, because I think one of the things you do on a TV show, the first thing you do to make a character relatable is that they love dogs, they love children, or something like that. They can be the biggest bastard who ever existed, but like, they save a puppy and they’re like, “Awww!” And we love the idea that Lucifer is just terrified of children, because you don’t really see it that often. But also, there’s an innocence to children that he just doesn’t understand, which is funny because he understands purity of desire, which is why I think he sort of starts to understand Trixie and bond with her, because she’s sort of a kindred spirit to him. Because she also, she just, she wants something and she tries to take it.
But it’s also just confusing to him, because he understands— He likes the complication, he likes humans and their contradictions, and Trixie isn’t really that. So in season five, one of the things I’m really happy with is how much we’ve dug into Trixie. I know she wasn’t a huge presence in season 4 because we had so much going on, with her mom and with the supernatural elements, that we really just, we weren’t sure how to service her character as well within that story. And then this season, we’ve found multiple opportunities to just dig into her, play with her, play with the relationship between them… Scarlett’s amazing, she’s so good. It’s been fun to watch her grow up, I mean when she started she didn’t have her two front teeth! She’s just awesome, and that’s one of the big things we’ve really tried to explore is his relationship with her, her relationship with everybody… a lot of good Trixie.
But, I think to me, everyone gets a different nickname and/or is referred to in a different way, and with Trixie I think his lack of naming her just reflects like his uncomfortability with it. It’s sort of like, in the same way that he distances himself from Chloe by calling her the Detective, the same way that he— He does rotate nicknames with Detective Douche a little bit. You know, like, it’s Dan if he’s kind of annoyed by him, it’s Douche if he hates him, it’s Daniel if he respects him. So, it’s always in the language and I think in her case it’s just, he’s sort of uncomfortable and off put and so he just throws a title on it and runs away.
Let’s rotate back, Emiko you go again!
Emiko: You mentioned in an interview a while back, with White Collar, when you were writing for Burke’s Seven. There is a fundamental dynamic between characters, that this is always the core, and then everything else is just malleable, you can just play with it. So like, how do you do that with any of your characters? And also how did you get so many characters together in just that one episode?
Joe: Burke’s Seven was one of my favourite episodes to write. So, just so you guys know, that was my episode where I got to have on White Collar the two main characters basically have to do a caper to save one of the main character’s wife, who was kidnapped. And it was just this big crazy fun thing that I really didn’t think we really would be able to do, it was super fun. And yeah, to me, it’s, the fun of it is, you take a character and then you sort of branch out the dynamics.
So like, with Neal and Peter, it was all… it was bromance. It was two guys who don’t understand each other, but love and respect each other. And the original sin is the fact that Neal can’t help himself. That Neal can’t help but. And for Peter, actually Peter understands that because he also has that drive, that desire, he just doesn’t do it. He chooses not to, and Neal chooses to. And what’s interesting is, so for Burke’s Seven for example, you get to be able to play with his inner Neal Caffrey a little bit. The fun of it is, he gets to scratch that itch, but he’s got a good reason. Neal doesn’t always have a good reason. He might think he has a good reason, he might tell himself he has a good reason, but Peter needs a raised reason. A genuine moral reason.
So that’s where it’s that, like Lucifer, to me the dynamic of Lucifer is, he’s a Peter Pan story. The boy growing up to be a man. And he’s been a boy ever since he fell from the Garden of Eden, and this is the time for him to finally grow up. So that’s how, that’s been my true north to it, and he’s also a boy who desperately wants his father’s love, has never gotten it, and if you told him that was what he wanted he would laugh at you. Like, that’s sort of it, it’s all denial. It’s all, he’s run from his issues, his past, his emotions, he’s run from it all because they’re scary, because they hurt. And what it took was a woman who saw through his barriers, it took someone who didn’t fall for this charm for him to start asking the greater questions about his charms, about everything else.
Speaking of that relationship, one of the things we will answer in season five is why Chloe Decker is not affected by Lucifer’s mojo. So that will be in the first half of the season, the one that drops whenever it’s dropping. Which, literally, I do not know. I emailed Netflix a couple of days ago asking, I do not have an answer. I hope soon, I hear not June according to the internet, that’s literally… I’m getting my information from the internet. But that will be in the first half of the season.
SL: So that part at least is complete, so when they’re ready to release it, it can be released?
Joe: Yes. Episodes one through eight are done and complete. I mean, the special effects are done, they’re all finished. It is a question of Netflix still has to do a whole bunch of things, they gotta translate everything for all the regions, I don’t know which regions are being especially affected by Covid, that might be one of the things, I just don’t know. They haven’t really told us because they keep it quiet. My guess is that might be part of it, but honestly we… my guess is as good as someone on the internet’s. But I know that they’re working really hard and I know they want to get it to you guys as soon as possible. So, hopefully soooooon?
Right? I know, you guys, it is so weird, it’s so weird, because we did sixteen episodes this season, asterix almost, and I look at like episode three and I’m like, “Oh my god, that’s still this season? It feels so long ago!” Like, I’m dying for you guys to see this stuff, it’s so good, and it also just feels like, by the time it comes out I’m going to be like, “Wait, has no one’s seen that yet?” I forget, the last time you guys saw Lucifer he was sitting in Hell. By the way, he’s still there the entire time. Weird, right? It was a creative decision but… (shrug and laugh)
SL: Music, in the show…
Joe: Dave Matthews Band.
SL: Maybe we’ll get them in season six—
Joe: What have you heard?
SL: I clearly know every band. One of my best friends growing up worked for Sony Music for years, so… unfortunately I don’t think she’d tell me anything anyway.
Joe: Right? Everyone’s a lock box, you gotta appreciate it.
SL: So, I feel like music is, not just musical episodes, which I adore because I’ve been a musical geek forever, but it’s— as I’ve watched the show now on Netflix on repeat, and have gone back, and— It took me a long time to go back and rewatch all the seasons, and pay more attention than a typical viewer just watching it once through, and I’ve seen how much music is really kind of its own character in the show, and how amazingly good it is. And I thought, particularly for season 4, even more so than previous seasons. Every musical choice really played a part in carrying the story forward, so my question is, how much does— as you’re putting together the script, and I know you guys plan an arc in advance and then kind of fill in the pieces, but do you— does the music always come later, or is it sometimes that the music helps you write it ?
Joe: Yes. Yeah, it’s such a funny chicken and the egg thing, because a lot of times, you’re like, for example, we knew Tom really wanted to sing ‘Creep’. Like, he loves the song, and his rendition is beautiful, and we’re like, “Okay, like, where would that fit?” and then realised very quickly that we knew exactly where it could go. Sometimes it’s just knowing that there are certain songs that people are passionate about that you hold in your pocket and you wait to find a place for them. Like for Lesley-Ann’s song in 4×09— why can’t I think of the name of it?
Joe: Thank you. That was Lesley-Ann and I going back and forth on songs for a while, trying to figure out what would work. And I’m pretty sure, I’m 99% sure that was her. No, it was her. She was like, “What about this?” and then we played with a few arrangements, we sent it to the musical people, and then she went and recorded it, and it’s just heartbreaking. But that was her, that was her, like, us, I think we had a different song slotted there, and we went back and forth on it a bit, and then that was the one we all agreed on. It becomes a conversation. Like, there’s certain songs that will say a certain thing, and the actors live in the moment, we live in the long term. And what’s great about that is, she knew the pain and emotion she wanted to hit, and I knew the story we wanted to tell. And so, that’s a lot of the give and take. And a lot of the time it is, it’s a game of having people pitch on it.
Like Sinnerman in season one, was pitched by a writer assistant, who was just like, “What about this?” and we listened to it and we were like, “Yes, it’s great, it’s just, it feels… it’s upbeat but there’s a darkness to it, it’s like it’s kinda perfect for Lucifer.” And by the way, that was terrifying. Doing Sinnerman, that song, was terrifying because no one understood what we were doing. They were all like, “So wait, he’s singing? And…. playing the piano?” And like, it was so hard to get through, and then at the end of season one everyone is like, “Hey, when does he sing next?”
You guys, we barely got that in. Like, especially when you’re doing a season one there’s fights you pick. You go, ‘We want to do this. And you need to have faith in us.’ And, by the way, this isn’t even a ding on executives because they have to try and protect the show, and all of a sudden you’re adding the fact that the Devil likes to sing and play piano, which, he played piano in the pilot, but we hadn’t really seen this. And all that came about because we went to karaoke with the cast, and Tom belted out some karaoke, and we’re like, “Uh oh. Got it! We can use that.”
Did I answer the question at all, I can’t remember.
SL: Yes, yes you did.
Joe: Awesome. Rebecca!
Rebecca: Obviously you can pick something non-spoilery, if you want, but what are some of your favourite lines from next season?
Joe: Ooo! Ooo! “I’m sorry I killed you Lucifer, my name is Chloe Decker.” That was a weird line, but I think we really worked it in. (Laughs) The way she delivers it is just (chef’s kiss) beautiful.
Rebecca: The last line in the finale.
Joe: Yeah. “My name is Lucifer Morningstar and I pooped myself.” That one was interesting, that was… a lot of gravity to that moment. He’s with his Dad, I don’t know why he’s telling his Dad that, it’s strange… You guys are getting all the dish here, you’re getting all the spoilers! You’re welcome!
All right, let’s see, let’s see, let’s see, what’s a good… I will tell you, okay, one of my favourite lines… so, we basically decided, you can use a certain number of f-bombs, you can use the f-word a couple of times on Netflix. And in season four we played with it, but it just seemed weird. We use it once in season five. And I was very determined to make sure the one time we used it, we earned it. And I feel very confident that we earned it.
So I’ll say that, and… I’m going to keep that percolating in the back of my head in case I think of a different one… um… oh, that’s probably… yeah, I’ve got a couple of others that are spoilery… argh, this is hard, this is a good question! On pause, I might come back to it.
Kat: I really like that the emotional maturity that Lucifer has got to, is at the moment, about level with Trixie’s, and now she’s actually starting to overtake him, and I think that a lot of people tend to forget that for him that’s actually good progress ‘cause he’s been on Earth five years, and he’s got to, like, double figures of, like, thirteen… twelve/thirteen, so that’s pretty good.
Kat: Yeah! Have you ever considered putting him in a child beauty pageant?
Joe: Hahahaha. Now you’re just pitching me shit, this is awesome.
Kat: Little divas… pageant moms…
Joe: For the make up alone, it would be worth it.
Kat: I just can’t help but… especially when you said he’s genuinely terrified of them, I can just see him standing there having to undercover as a judge, with all of the pageant moms pawing at him, and probably some of the pageant dads as well, and all the little kids, and he’s just— the look on his face.
Joe: It’s funny ‘cause, that was a lot of the reason behind ‘Deceptive Little Parasite’.
Kat: I love that episode.
Joe: I do too!
Kat: It’s one of my favourites.
Joe: Yeah, it’s like, okay, Lucifer is terrified of Trixie, what if he’s in a building full of Trixies? And what if he has to pretend, and sell this idea, and since he can’t lie… he has to figure out ways to say things without actually saying them. Which is just super fun. And wass a chance to work with Scarlett more, which is always great. It’s funny because we actually always approached it as Lucifer is the eternal teenager, Maze is the eternal Trixie. Like, basically the idea that Lucifer is in his teens, and Maze is like nine. You know, she’s more like run, up and kick you in the knees, and that means that they like you, sort of thing. And so that’s why her and Trixie needed to get along. There’s this idea of like, “Oh hey, we’re the same, we’re both id personified.”
Lucifer is more the teenage rebel, who’s still just sort of trying to find his way, and bluffing his way through everything because he wants everyone to think he’s more confident than he actually is. But I like where your brain’s at.
Kat: I can totally see Trixie ending up being a super awesome mega undercover covert spy because she’s got two cop parents, the Devil and a demon.
Joe: Season 11, right there.
Dylan: You heard it here, season 11. Confirmed.
Joe: Confirmed. (Laughing)
Kat: “Mad fan theory confirms season 11.”
Hero Initiative: If any of you are watching the clock, and have noticed we’ve run past the time we’ve allotted, it’s ‘cause we’re having a great time, so Joe, as long as you’re good with it, we’ll run a little long.
Joe: That would be awesome, I love it. Yeah, I’d love to get through a couple more ‘cause—
Hero Initiative: Joe likes you guys!
Joe: I mean, or I’m really good at faking it.
Guys, I don’t get to talk to anybody other than my family, so this is a true delight. Also, this is really nice, it’s fun to just dig back into Lucifer, I haven’t been able to think about it for a bit, and this is a great excuse. So… Dylan!
Dylan: Okay, couple of things. You brought up, actually in Deceptive Little Parasite… are we ever actually going to see Lucifer teach Trixie to drive?
Joe: Right? Not yet. And I guess, we’re done, so… (shrug) Maybe in the comic book? Honestly, it’s a conversation we always have, ‘cause we’re like, okay, when is this going to happen? When do we do that? So either it’s happened off camera at some point and it is awesome, or maybe somehow, some way, it’ll get depicted. But it’s something we always talk about. For one thing, just the iconography of the two of them in the car together, I love.
Dylan: On the subject of favourite lines, I think one of my favourite lines from the show was from one of your episodes, ‘Take Me Back to Hell’, the part about, “Can we not tell people you carried me in your arms like a little baby?” That was classic.
Joe: Oh man, that was awesome. Listen, these are the things that are so fun about the show. The premise is absurd, the idea is absurd, but also, like, there’s a genuine emotion to that idea of, like, “Hey, this happened and let’s not talk about it.” Everything is grounded by humour but also humour that comes from genuine moments. Like, “No one needs to know that this actually happened. This is between us.” I love finding moments like that. I love it when the characters tell us to have them say those moments.
Dylan: That was the first episode I actually saw, and that was the one that hooked me on the show.
Dylan: Yep, that was the first full episode I actually and I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a minute, rewind, where did this thing start from?’
Joe: Oh, that’s awesome. What episode was that?
Dylan: End of season one. The season one finale, ‘Take Me Back to Hell.’
Joe: That’s right, yeah. Oh, man.
Dylan: Yeah, my mom was watching it and she’s like, “Oh, you should see this.”
Joe: That was, yeah, season one it’s funny because, really, towards the back half of the season you can see us really finding what the voice of it was, and when we got to the season finale we were just firing on all cylinders. And like, we felt it, we got it, we understood it, we knew how to write them. Oh man, that was wingless Lucifer. Back in the day.
Emiko: Just watching social media, I see that you have this really healthy relationship with your entire staff, the writer’s room, production crew etc, how did you manage that? It’s like, you and Ildy I think, started something—
Joe: (Shakes head) Not familiar. Must be a different show? That might be ‘Luther’. (Cracks up laughing).
Honestly, the truth of it is, working in Hollywood is hard enough as is, you don’t need to make it harder. Surround yourself by people who love what you’re doing, who want to do what you’re doing, and the rest kind of comes together. It’s weird, because I know a ton of horror stories, I know a ton of shows that have unhappy casts and unhappy crews, unhappy writers, and like, Ildy and I really approach it from the simple idea of ‘always remember that you used to be that person, always remember that you could be that person, and so our writer’s room is 10 ‘til 6. We go 10am to 6pm, and we don’t go late, unless we absolutely have to. And like, we’ve had to… maybe three times.
And part of it is, as a showrunner you need to work harder than your writers, and I think a lot of showrunners don’t realise that, a lot of showrunners think that your workers need to work their butts off for you. Which is true, and they will, if you work harder than them. If you are the one giving 110%, they will give 109%. Chances are they’ll even try to give 115%, and then it becomes a competition.
Which is very much what our room is. I mean, there’s a reason we have retained most of our writing staff and when they’ve left, they’ve left for opportunities, as opposed for other reasons. That’s… I’m very proud of it, and I’m very happy you brought it up because I think it’s just so important. And it’s fun! We make a show about the Devil solving crime! And it’s awesome! Like, we are the biggest fans of our show, we LOVE our show, and it’s funny because at times you feel sort of like you’re patting yourself on the back, but… I don’t care, it’s fun and I love it, I love it, I love it! Because I write something, and then the actors make it better, and then the director makes it better, and then in editing, we fix the terrible things they did, and make it better! But, it’s like, it’s fun and it doesn’t need to be harder than it’s already gonna be.
So, long story short, yeah, you hire people who are in it with you and that’s everywhere from the actors to the crew, like, we retained… our show was off the air for a while, our show was cancelled for a while, and some of our crew held on just in case, they turned down jobs.
Kat: Going back to the ‘Luther’, my friend—it’s more of an anecdote than a question—she showed Lucifer to her mom, and she was slightly confused as to why it was set in LA and halfway through asked when Idris Elba was going to come in.
Joe: Every now and then I’ll see on Twitter, somebody will be like, “I love Lucifer!” and I’ll be like, “You love Lucifer! Oh, you mean Luther. That’s okay, that’s cool.” And by the way, I love Luther, that show’s amazing, so…
Emiko: So, in the comics, Lucifer can bend reality. So in this one, can he bend reality, and if so, does he know it?
Joe: In this version, our Lucifer has a much lower power level, however, that might be different in Hell, and we might be able to illustrate that a little bit in upcoming episodes. Good question! NICE!
Kat: I know at a lot of conventions, anyone who’s attending, cast, crew, anyone gets asked, “Who’s your favourite character?” And it’s probably one a lot of you guys are getting a little bit tired of, but as one of the writers, who do you think the character’s favourite character would be?
Joe: Who do I think the character’s favourite character is? Which character?
Kat: Any of them. Pick someone, and if they had to rank the others, who would be on top.
Joe: Well, if you listed them all out, Joe Henderson.
Joe: Exactly. Niiiiice.
That is a good question, I will pivot it to a genuine answer of who our favourite characters are, to write to. Because what’s funny is, what we’ve discovered is, every single character, what we love to do is play against their type. So, like, one of the things I love doing is writing funny Amenadiel. I love torturing Dan. I love writing vulnerable Maze. I love writing Linda going through something truly emotional, because Rachael’s so good at humour, and Maze is so strong, and Amenadiel is a warrior. Like, one of the things I think we love about these characters is exploring the opposites, and the hidden nuances within them.
Like, to me that’s the fun of this, is that we have a supporting cast that’s very rich and fully dimensional, and that is, it’s just really cool because that’s a toy we have been able to really play with in season five in particular. Like, Ella, like digging into her pathos and her in pain, that is something we will do this season.
Dylan: I noticed a little pattern. You wrote the last episode of season one, and the first episode of season two, rinse and repeat for season three and four, last episode and first episode, so you’re writing transitions, but also never knowing because of the nature of television, am I going to get to finish that story? Do you take that as an opportunity, as a challenge, or do you accept that with a certain trepidation? And I guess the other side of it is, how far ahead are you thinking, ‘This is how I need to make this transition.’
Joe: That’s a great question. The honest truth is, it varies and depends. Usually, so we break everything in the room, very detailed, so even if it’s me or it’s Ildy writing a premiere or a finale, or this coming season it’s Jason Ning, and I can tell you why, if you want… the truth of it is, it’s all broken. It’s funny because people will be like, “Oh, this is a Julie episode, this is clearly a Jen episode,” and that’s true because their voice is in it, but we also break them all together, and there’s moment where you try to give Chris a Mike episode, change them a little bit or stretch them.
But when it comes to the finales, it’s really tricky to say, because, for example, end of season 2, we had a rough… let me start over. The important thing that we do every season is we end the story and then add a beginning. That’s the most important part. The good thing is, for the finales, 95% of it’s there. So like, the season three finale, it’s all resolving Lucifer’s issues, Lucifer getting his Devil face back, Lucifer facing his inner demons, and even though he defeats the villain, the villain getting one last shot out when he goes. Which technically opens up all of season four.
Going into season four, what we knew was, we were gonna deal with the repercussions. And what you try to do is have an idea that you know has enough story even if you don’t know the story. And you know like, touchstones, but you don’t want to box yourself into it. Like, we knew we wanted multiple episodes of Chloe dealing with that realisation. We were already talking about bringing Eve in, but we hadn’t… that wasn’t like 100% it when we came up with that idea. As it dovetailed, and we realised Eve was the one who knew him with that face, all of a sudden you get chocolate and peanut butter.
So all I wanna say is, I think premieres and finales are awesome, they’re a challenge, mostly because you’re juggling so many things. Like, you’ve got to tell endings and beginnings, and that means exposition mixed with emotion, mixed with everything else, that’s why they’re tricky. And then this season, what we did, is because we knew Ildy was going to write the musical episode, and we weren’t sure exactly where that would fall as we were breaking it, we decided what if we shake things up? She’s always writing either the beginnings or endings, I’m always writing the beginnings or the endings, let’s let Jason, who’s been a co-ep on our show for a long time, he’s just an awesome writer and he’s really risen to it, let’s have him write a premiere because this is a guy who can and should write a premiere.
And he NAILED it. It’s awesome! But part of it too is, when you have a writing staff who is making their way up, how do you reward them with things that they deserve? And, I’ve written a bunch of premieres. I could keep writing the premieres, or I could write episode five. I wrote episode five! And it was fun, because episode five, who knew what it was going to be? And it ended up being an episode that like, explains SO much of the show. But it wasn’t necessarily that as we were stepping into it, the story just dictated we go there and I’m so happy I got to do it.
Dylan: You mentioned Jason Ning, and he’s known for bringing the angst, so to speak.
Joe: The angst and the pain!
Dylan: You’ve done alright yourself on that front.
Joe: Yeah, he will. There will be angst and pain. Trust me. He’s still on brand this season.
Hero Initiative: Okay, we need to wrap it up.
Joe: Let’s have one last question.
SL: Here’s my pseudo spoiler question about season five… so, I recall I think Tom Ellis, and you guys have probably said it as well, that a lot of the show is based on hope. So my question is, will season five carry that through?
Joe: Oh this is weird… (waves hands over screen) My whole connection is just… not working… I can’t… (laughs)
Here is what I will say. I believe in telling a hopeful show. But I also think there’s a cost within hope. I think that’s… that I think is what I love about our show. There’s not… you win and you lose. And hopefully there’s enough win to balance the loss, and there usually is, but like, it’s always two steps forward and one step back. But we are ultimately a hopeful show, but we are also the show that wants to break your heart while filling you with hope. That is, I think, what we did this season.
But honestly, you guys are gonna fucking love this, it’s so good. I want you to see it SO BAD.
If you don’t love it, it’s Ildy’s fault.
Hero Initiative: Thanks again guys, appreciate everyone’s support of Hero, thank you so much, I hope everyone had a pretty good time.
Joe: I had a great time, I don’t know about you guys! But thank you, this was super fun. You guys got me going again, I appreciate it!
Well, thank you guys, and thank you for contributing to a good cause too. Take care guys!