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Wednesday, 15 September 2021 00:00

Lucifer Writer Chris Rafferty talks Episode 9's Deckerstar Panic Room Scene, Dan's Guilt and Redemption, Writing Lucifer's Goodbye's and more Featured

Written by Lucks, Charly and Lev

LCL Reviews recently had the pleasure to interview Lucifer co-executive producer and writer Chris Rafferty. Chris has written for Lucifer since season 1 and is the mind behind of some of our favorite episodes including “A Priest Walks into a Bar” and “A Good Day to Die”, but we think that Chris’s final episode of the series “Goodbye, Lucifer” is his best yet. In this interview, Chris reflects on his heartbreakingly beautiful season 6 episode and the series as a whole. Spoiler warning: only read on after you’ve watched all of Lucifer Season 6.

 

WARNING: This interview contains spoilers for the final season of Lucifer. Do not read until after you’ve watched season 6.


photo copyright Netflix

 
We have to start off with saying how much we adored 6x09, it was one of the most beautifully written episodes we have seen and definitely the most “Chris episode ever”.  Thank you very much for your time!

Chris: Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me ☺

 

1. You thought that 514 would be the last episode you wrote for the show but then got another chance to write your FINAL final episode with 609. What was it like to get a second chance at a happy ending and how was your process different for writing your FINAL final episode?

Chris: That second chance was a gift, and I wasn’t going to waste it. I went to my showrunners Ildy & Joe with only one personal request for the season — that I write the penultimate episode. And they were kind enough to grant me my wish. With Season 6, I had risen to Co-Executive Producer, was the next senior writer behind our showrunners, and even had the opportunity to run the writers room a handful of times in their absence. All of this emboldened me to take the reins on my ep more than ever before. Since I knew which episode was mine well in advance, and we knew where we were headed for the series finale, I had a lot more time to think about it than my previous episodes. I used this opportunity to pitch Joe & Ildy ideas outside of our Zoom Room long before anyone was thinking about 609. I pitched three different Dan stories before I won them over with the version you see onscreen. I pitched to keep the main story very simple, no case of the week, so we’d have enough time to say proper goodbyes to our supporting characters. And I wanted us to focus on and fully mine the idea of “Lucifer’s Last Day”.

Halfway through the season, we set up the ticking time bomb of Lucifer’s predetermined fate — he knew WHEN he would disappear, but he didn’t know HOW. I found it interesting that we were writing for Lucifer something that paralleled what the audience would be experiencing — they would know when the SHOW was ending, but they didn’t know HOW it would end. It’s a rare opportunity in television to know exactly when a series is ending, and we experienced it TWICE. And all that time with the axe over our heads really gave us a clear sense of how devastated the audience felt about losing the show. So I thought it was our responsibility to help our fans deal with those feelings of impending loss. I was really excited to write how Lucifer would handle his last day. Especially this new Lucifer, the one who has evolved and matured over these six years. But I was even more excited by the idea that Lucifer could actually model a healthy way in which the audience could handle the end of our show. Hoping that instead of just focusing on its end and grieving the loss, maybe they could also appreciate this incredible amount of time we’ve had together.

 

2. We loved the easter eggs on Lucifer's to do list at the beginning of 609. Two of the remaining tasks that stood out were "check in on Father Frank" and "Try Golden Gate with Chloe". What inspired the items on Lucifer's to do list? 

Chris: The details on visual props like Lucifer’s To-Do List, his “Operation: Payback Dan” board, and Reese’s research boards are rarely discussed in the writers room, are only broadly summarized in the limited space we have in the scripts, and usually fall upon the writer/producer and our Art Department to figure out in preproduction. I’ve had a lot of practice with these, so I make sure to generate the content ahead of time. But I went a step further with this one — I came up with the idea of Lucifer’s To-Do List not only for its usefulness in telling the piece of story I needed, but also knowing that it would allow me one last chance to sneak in some easter eggs. Specifically, the Father Frank one. A nice way to tie my first and last episode of the show together. But more importantly, to let the audience know that, even though we didn’t have room for Father Frank to reappear in the series, he is most definitely still on Lucifer’s mind. Near the top of the list, even. Whenever I can, I try to include things that allude to our characters having rich inner & outer lives offscreen. It makes for deeper characters. And gives fanfic writers something to run with ;-) As for the “Golden Gate”… I very specifically wrote it so it does NOT say “visit” (like the one above it), but “try”. Try WHAT on the Golden Gate? I’ll leave that to your imagination…

 
photo copyright Netflix

 

3. How did it feel to be the person who got to write Lucifer’s final goodbye’s on screen with Linda, Ella, Amenadiel and Maze?

Chris: Oh man, it was an ENORMOUS honor. And a big responsibility. Luckily, I wasn't alone. As with all of our episodes, the writers room works together. One of the things I brought to the table was a clear idea of the episode's structure. I'm a big fan of how story structure shapes an audience's experience. And with a huge chunk of this episode being a series of goodbyes, there was the danger of it being repetitive and boring. The Dan B-story helped mix things up. But we also made sure that all of Lucifer's goodbyes were different. Some characters know something is wrong, while others do not. Some characters receive a gift from Lucifer, while some give a gift. Some are more overtly goodbye scenes, while others are more subtle and/or intertwined with another story. The whole balancing act of the episode was tricky, but extremely rewarding. I spent a lot of time thinking about these goodbyes, and the entire process was inevitably intertwined with our own goodbyes in real life. These final episodes were the last time this writers room would be working together. And I was literally writing scenes that I knew would be the last time I'd be working with the actors. On this show anyway. It was all very emotional. But emotions are one of my favorite things about life. Going out with an episode like this was the best parting gift I could ask for.

 

4. In your episode, Lucifer gets down on one knee in a "proposal" position and asks Chloe to spend the day with him and Rory. A lot of fans were hoping for a Deckerstar wedding, and this felt kind of like a tease of it. Can we say that was an engagement? Can you tell us why Lucifer and Chloe did not tie the knot?

Chris: That was definitely not an engagement because, well, they didn’t get engaged :-) But I wrote a big chunk of the dialogue to FEEL like an engagement. I think that’s why Tom asked if he could get down on bended knee — it just felt natural with the sentiment of what I had written. But there IS an important difference between what Lucifer was doing and a literal engagement — literal engagements are a promise about the future. Lucifer is unable to do that in this moment, so his gesture is all about the PRESENT. And I think there’s actually more power in that. He’s making a commitment for the only moment we are truly living — the NOW.

As for why we didn’t have them tie the knot? We discussed it in the room, of course. But the Maze & Eve wedding meant SO much to us. And to those characters. So we didn’t want to overshadow it with a second wedding. Plus, I don’t know how everyone else in the room feels, but speaking for myself, I don’t think marriage would have changed Lucifer and Chloe’s relationship that much. We’ve seen their love grow before our very eyes, and we end this six year journey with their commitment and devotion to each other rock solid. Not being married doesn’t diminish that.


Plus, who knows — they’ve still got time ;-)

 
photo copyright netflix

 

5. Trixie was Dan's ultimate absolution to Heaven. But he only realized that after reconciling with shooting Lucifer, leaving Chloe and teaming up with Maze to kill the Russians. If he had realized it was Trixie from the start, would he have gotten into heaven without coming to terms with the other leftover guilt he had mentioned above?

Chris: Great question! But since it didn’t happen that way, we’ll never really know, will we? ;-) Honestly, in the writers room, we never considered anything other than it being ONE thing keeping him out of Heaven. It simply makes for better story to have a series of false theories before successfully finding that one core guilt. Adding up a checklist of mini-guilts would have been a little anticlimactic. What I like about the way it happened is that it shows just how deep Dan buried his guilt. He couldn't figure it out earlier because he didn't WANT to. It was too painful for him to face. And I think that says a lot about how guilt operates. And by Dan facing it, even accidentally, I hope it shows the rest of us that facing our own guilt is the only way of truly dealing with it.

 

6. Throughout season 6 up until 609, Dan couldn't interact with any objects. Yet in this episode he was able to jump in and inhabit Le Mec's body. How did he end up accomplishing that?

Chris: I could be Dad-like and blame it on mysterious ways… but the real answer is: sheer force of will. Earlier in the episode, Dan theorizes on why he hasn’t made it to Heaven yet, and one of his theories is that maybe he feels guilty that he couldn’t stop Le Mec from killing more innocent people. While that doesn’t end up being the one core guilt that kept him out of Heaven, Dan still DOES feel torn up inside about that. So to be in a situation where Le Mec is about to kill another innocent right in front of him, and him powerless to do anything about it, it really lights a fuse inside Dan. The entire show he’s struggled with feeling “useless”. Lucifer teases him about it, pouring salt in that wound all the time. So when Dan becomes a ghost that literally can’t do anything, he’s never felt MORE useless. And he just can’t take it anymore. Especially not when this poor cashier’s innocent life is at stake. So it’s with pure selflessness and through sheer force of will that Dan performs this miracle.

Or maybe he subconsciously learned how to body hop from his demon pal Belios during all that ping-pong ;-)

 
photo copyright Netflix

 

7. Lucifer and Rory’s relationship really grows in this episode after spending quality father/ daughter time together as well as the emotional beach talk were Lucifer’s own past trauma leads him to understand how Rory has felt. It was a beautiful moment of growth. What was it like writing that healing moment between father and daughter?

Chris: Yeah, after spending so much time this season on their rift, we really had a lot to accomplish in this episode. But it was essential to create a real bond between the two in order to justify the choices Lucifer makes in the finale. While we were working on the early stages of this beach scene, the writers room came up with so much great material. A wealth of riches that I had the pleasure of simply streamlining. But this scene meant a lot to me. Because I could relate to both sides. Guilt is a common theme in a lot of things I write, it's an emotion I have a lot of experience with, so I completely understood Lucifer's guilt over unintentionally hurting Rory. And as a child of divorce, I know what it's like to be on the other end — to blame yourself as if you had something to do with the split, or in Rory's case, being abandoned. I think a lot of people out there need to hear words similar to the ones Lucifer is telling Rory. I know I did. I cried on the beach as we shot that scene. Ugly tears. Luckily, they were hidden under all my Covid gear :-P

 

8. Let’s talk about that Panic Room scene. That has to be one of the most beautiful scenes we have witnessed in this show. The love Lucifer and Chloe share for each other really shined through. What was the decision process for choosing these two to dance and hold each other instead of actual words being exchanged? 

Chris: Thank you. When I pitched the idea for the Panic Room, it got laughs. But that’s what I wanted — something that starts out ridiculous, but then turns into something beautiful. I just really wanted Lucifer & Chloe to be completely alone together, in their own world, and for them to have that time together. That's what the scene is really about — TIME. Savoring every last morsel of it. We had a real opportunity to take our time here, because both the characters and the audience want the exact same thing — for this Deckerstar moment to never end. At least, that's what I hope the audience wants. Because what awaits on the other side IS the end. For Deckerstar, their split. For the audience, the end of the show.

And I always thought it would work best without dialogue. I thought the audience would really want to just sit in their emotions. Stew in this odd mix of romance and doom. They can already imagine what Lucifer would say — he'd profess his love for her, again. I think it's more powerful to let the images and the music do the talking.

Kevin (Alejandro, the director of the ep) blew me away with how he handled shooting this scene. We didn't rehearse. He just gave Tom & Lauren some private direction beforehand, and told them we would just film it, uninterrupted, for a really long time. He wanted the actors to just be in the moment, to stay in touch with their emotions, and just do whatever organically came to them. We started the music (song suggestion by Kevin & Tom), started rolling, Tom & Lauren quickly in it, as our amazing cameramen just kept going around and around them in circles with the steadycam, finding various compositions, capturing the most beautiful images. Everyone on set was transfixed by the monitors, breath taken away, wrapped up in all these little surprises the camera found — soft touches, kisses, a tear trickling down Lauren's cheek. It was truly magical. I don't remember how long it lasted — time stood still — but when we were done, everyone was ELATED. We knew we had an amazing amount of beautiful footage for this episode's editor (Brian D'Augustine) to choose from. And everyone instantly fell in love with the song. Shooting that was probably the most romantic thing I've ever seen on set. And we're so incredibly happy that all of those feelings we had on set watching shine through in the final cut.

 
photo copyright Netflix

 

9. Looking back at the series as a whole: what moments were you most proud of? What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome? 

Chris: Oh wow, what an epic question... After 6 years and 92 episodes (the writers room didn't work on the pilot), honestly, there's just too many. But if I had to pick both the toughest AND most rewarding experience, I would have to say it was working on the script for my first Lucifer episode, "A Priest Walks Into A Bar". I was writing it at a time when we had a lot of pressure riding on us, and, like any new show, Lucifer was still finding its identity. Some people wanted it to be more of a standard cop procedural, more case of the week. But the writers room was enjoying all the character stuff way more. There was a lot of push and pull, and it all came to a head right as we were super excited about my episode being our most character-heavy episode yet. And even though our room loved the early drafts, not everyone outside of the room understood it. Why are we spending so much time with this one-episode guest character? What's with all this TALKING? Are a priest and the Devil REALLY going to bond that quickly just from playing music together? The effectiveness of all those things seems so obvious now, but back then, it was truly an uphill battle to convince others. I rewrote this script more times than any of our other scripts have ever been rewritten. There were even three totally different versions of Father Frank — one that came off as more of a mystical sage, one that was darker, grittier, harder. And then the final version, which is actually a combination of the two, somewhere in the middle. Doing so many rewrites in such a short amount of time, and on a story that had a lot of heavy material, stuff that was attempting more depth, well... it was a rough process. Not gonna lie, it crushed my soul a bit. But facing that kind of challenge and surviving, it gave me thicker skin. All my other scripts after that seemed easy in comparison. I'm really grateful for the experience.

 

10. Can you tease anything about what’s next for you and any upcoming projects you have in the works? 

Chris: Thanks for your interest! In this business, we keep things pretty close to the vest until they're fully cooked. But I will say that I'm working on a few projects with members of my Lucifer family. Including something with Tricia Helfer. That one is still in the early stages, I'm still in the process of writing it, but we're really excited about it. I don't think it's necessarily what people might expect, and I hope to wow everyone with it when it's ready. But you better believe Tricia and I will have a ton of fun providing more teases as we get closer, so make sure you follow us on social media ;-)

Speaking of, I get a lot of comments about missing us when we're "gone". And I want to remind everyone that even though Lucifer is ending, all of us who created the show are still here. And all of us are going to bring you new things. You can't get rid of us that easily ;-)

 

Thank you once again for your time!

Thank you so much for your interviews! And, if I could, a big thank you to ALL the LuciFans. This has been an incredible six years, and we wouldn't have been able to go this long if it weren't for you. Don't be sad it's over, be happy it happened. I sure am.



Thank you to Chris for answering our questions and thank you for your contribution to one hell of a show. We look forward to seeing what Chris and the other writers do going forward! All 6 seasons of Lucifer are available on Netflix now.

Read 12581 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 September 2021 15:31

4 comments

  • Comment Link Terri Saturday, 18 September 2021 13:13 posted by Terri

    Thank you so much Chris. I’ve been here since the day they showed the trailer. I will always follow each of you in your new endeavors, after all the fun, bts. letting us #lucifans into your personal lives was truly a Godsend. Love you all 💜💜😈😈

  • Comment Link Mandy Hammons Saturday, 18 September 2021 12:42 posted by Mandy Hammons

    Great interview! Episode 9 was one of my favorites from the season- even though I was in tears for half of it. So well written, acted and directed!

  • Comment Link Becky Thursday, 16 September 2021 05:24 posted by Becky

    Loved the interview, the show and will miss the characters so much!
    Would love to hear others theories about why lucifer seemed surprised to see Chloe at his door?

  • Comment Link Susantb1 Wednesday, 15 September 2021 16:30 posted by Susantb1

    Thanks! For your heart and head and your devotion to these characters we love. I hope you understand we feel like we’re family at this point and wish all the best for you in the future. It’s been an absolute explosion of life altering emotions and fun since the very beginning. Thanks!

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