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Lucifer returned to Netflix with the first half of a super-sized Season 5 to deliver a surprising villain in the form of Lucifer's twin brother Michael. Tom Ellis tackled both roles for the fifth season, which was originally intended to be the last in the series, meaning that Michael was presumably going to be the final big bad of Lucifer whose story wrapped in the Season 5 finale. Now that Lucifer has been renewed for a sixth and final season, the question stands: will the show be finished with Michael after Season 5?
Tom Ellis spoke with Collider about all things Lucifer, including tackling the role of Michael on top of Lucifer as well as the late renewal for Season 6, and his comments provide some food for thought about Michael's chances of returning after the second half of Season 5. Ellis first revealed that the Lucifer team learned about the Season 6 renewal (which was reportedly in the works for a while) "about four weeks" before they were meant to finish, then explained:
We had already spent a long time agonizing over what the end of our show should be because, obviously, it’s a privilege to be able to know that. We’d spent a lot of time and thought about what we wanted to do. So it was a surprise, to say the least, but this show has never had a normal run of things. It’s not had a typically orthodox run of episodes of TV. It’s gone through lots of different ups and downs behind the scenes, but we’ve always been managed to be able to roll with the punches. This was like, 'Oh, wow, the finish line has just moved. Okay.' But (co-showrunners) Joe [Henderson] and Ildy [Modrovich] realized that there is a part of our story that we can still carve out and still come to the ending that we were planning, in the first place. We’ve just got a few more corridors to go down, before we get there.
Considering that Lucifer has been cancelled not once but twice at this point, I don't think anybody would argue with Tom Ellis' comment about the show not having a "typically orthodox" run! Lucifer aired on Fox for three seasons before getting the axe, then was renewed for a fourth (and decidedly racier) season on Netflix, and then was renewed for a fifth and final, only to be renewed for a sixth and final. According to the star, the showrunners didn't just end Season 5 as intended and plan to go in an entirely new direction for Season 6, but will add some material before reaching that ending in Season 6.
So, if the ending that was planned for the conclusion of Season 5 is still going to happen down the line, does that mean Lucifer will have to bring back Michael for Season 6? The answer likely depends on how tied Michael's ending is to the series ending. If the vision for the series finale that was meant for Season 5 involves Michael, and that can't be changed, then Tom Ellis will presumably have to continue playing double duty in Season 6. If Michael's run as villain doesn't have to be tied to the series finale, on the other hand, he could theoretically be done at the end of Season 5.
God is in the picture now, and I feel like Lucifer had it suspiciously easy in leaving Hell behind, so there are potential sources of conflict not necessarily tied to Michael, and that's after only the first half of the season. A lot can happen by the time the second half rolls around, complete with a musical episode. Tom Ellis weighed in on the challenges of playing two roles, with the original expectation that it would be only in Season 5, saying:
Joe and Ildy approached me about it. Bringing the character of Michael in was something that they’d wanted to do for a long time. In the comic books, they talk about Michael being Lucifer’s twin, so Ildy was like, 'We thought about you playing it.' I took a deep breath and thought, 'I know how hard my schedule is already, but it’s the final season, so if you really want to do this, I’m game.' At that point, it was only 10 episodes, and then it became 16 episodes, so it was a bit longer, as well. But I do love a challenge, and that is definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve had on the show.
Season 5's episode count was bumped up (and the season itself split in half) after Tom Ellis officially agreed to play both the devil and his dastardly twin brother, and his comments may suggest that he doesn't expect to play Michael beyond the 16 episodes of Season 5. That said, he does "love a challenge," and Ellis was reportedly the holdout among the cast when it came to signing new contracts for a sixth season. If he is going to play two characters instead of one, could that have led to the alleged disagreement?
For now, we can only wonder and speculate about whether or not Tom Ellis will play both Lucifer and Michael in Season 6. The second half of Season 5 doesn't yet have a premiere date, and a lot can happen between now and Season 6. I for one thought Ellis was great as Michael and Lucifer, but even switching the accent back and forth adds new challenges, not to mention the action sequence at the end of the midseason finale of Lucifer and Amenadiel vs. Michael and Maze.
The good news is that the first four full seasons are available streaming on Netflix now as well as the first half of Season 5. Although the show did go through some noticeable changes from what it looked like on Fox to what it could do on Netflix, Lucifer has been a devilishly good time from the beginning, and a rewatch is always an option! If you're in the market for some new options coming to the streaming giant, you can find a wide selection on our 2020 Netflix premiere schedule. For some options on broadcast and traditional cable platforms now and in the coming weeks, check out our 2020 fall TV premiere guide!