Lucifer Showrunner Breaks Down Season 6's Animated Episode
While Lucifer's sixth and final season was full of moving moments leading Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) to the end of his journey, there were some hilarious moments as well. While the series has done some inventive things in previous seasons, such as the musical and "noir" episodes in Season 5, for Season 6, the Netflix series did something they've never done before: gone animated. The episode "Yabba Dabba Do Me" saw Lucifer and Chloe (Lauren German) end up as cartoon versions of themselves and now, series co-showrunner Joe Henderson breaks it down, explaining how COVID made the episode possible.
Warning: spoilers for Lucifer's sixth and final season below.
In "Yabba Dabba Do Me", Lucifer sets about learning empathy by visiting the hell loop of Jimmy Barnes (John Pankow), the villain of the series pilot a man who killed Lucifer's friend Delilah (AnnaLynne McCord), but when he and Chloe enter the hell loop, they end up trapped in a wacky cartoon world complete with Lucifer having a butt chin as well as a very stereotypical cartoon devil form. Henderson told Thrillist that the inventive episode ended up becoming a reality in part because of COVID limitations.
"Genuinely, the animation came from COVID limitations," Henderson said. "We realized we wanted to figure out any way we could to save shooting days. Another reason is, I have always wanted to do animation. But it's a lot of work to do something completely different and new within a show, especially a show that knows what it is. But that's also the perfect time to do something new."
He also explained that the animated episode allowed them to bring back Pankow as Jimmy, which wouldn't have worked any other way.
"Part of what happened was we couldn't get John Pankow [Jimmy Barnes' actor] because it was COVID and he was overseas somewhere," he said. "So we asked ourselves, What do we do? Because this episode was sort of built around bringing him back, and we were going to [focus] on a younger version of him anyways, so we animated him and then cast someone younger. There was a version, for a little bit, where it was Malcolm from Season 1. Kevin Rankin, one of my favorite actors to work with, was also a huge, iconic part of Season 1, but he was busy as well. But as we started exploring it, we realized going back to the pilot had the most resonance."
Henderson did have one regret, as it were, about the episode. To make the episode come to life, he worked with the team for the Harley Quinn animated series and Henderson said in retrospect, he wishes he had asked if Harley herself could have shown up, even in a small way.
"Honestly, I wish I had thought of it. Watching it back, I'm like, 'Why didn't I ask them if we could put her in the audience?'" Henderson said. "I love that show. It would have been a lovely little piece of crossover, but I didn't think about it until it was too late. I was too obsessed with trying to get myself to be [a cartoon], but then I didn't want to ask for too much from them because they were already going above and beyond."
The sixth and final season of Lucifer is now streaming on Netflix.