‘Lucifer': Tom Ellis Talks ‘Evil’ Twin Michael’s Dark Plan, Lucifer’s God/Daddy Issues

“Michael is this master, mind-game puppeteer,” Ellis tells TheWrap

Last Updated: August 23, 2020 @ 10:21 AM

(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the Season 5A finale of “Lucifer.”)

Part 1 of “Lucifer” Season 5 had two big family reunions, one that made Lucifer’s (Tom Ellis) life hell and one that could bring him salvation from that hell — though we aren’t sure about that part just yet.

The first was via the arrival of Lucifer’s twin, Michael (also played by Ellis), whom fans have been hearing about for seasons now, but never actually met up until the fifth season premiere when he tried to impersonate the devil, but didn’t fool Chloe (Lauren German). And you’d think, given the fact that Lucifer is the devil and Michael is a heaven-based archangel it would be obvious which twin is the good one and which is the bad. But as with many things on “Lucifer,” that wasn’t the case.

“Michael is evil! The irony, I know,” Ellis told TheWrap. “It was interesting, because we thought for the final season we’d bring Michael in, we wanted me to play Michael. So I thought, OK, it’s the final season, I think I’ll do it. So that was part of the thing to start with, because I knew it was going to be exhausting. And I was right about that, it was absolutely exhausting. But it was a lot of fun. One of the starting points for me was I wanted Michael to be very different from Lucifer. But it had to be like old-school acting thoughts behind that as opposed to like big prosthetics and changing things in VFX and stuff. Because we didn’t have time to do that, especially if I was in a scene playing both characters. So I had to go back to basics and think about physicality, think about walk, think about voice and then start to meld those things together.”

And the way Ellis decided to distinguish the difference between Lucifer and Michael very clearly for the audience was to make Michael “the exact opposite” of Lucifer.

“So Lucifer is a big, open, gregarious character and I wanted Michael to be a more closed off character, more of an observer than a talker. And just physically, Lucifer holds his arms wide open, whereas Michael standing still would be closed off and his shoulders going inwards toward himself. And that was the starting point for me with where we found the thing to do with his shoulder. And then of course, vocally, I wanted him to be very different from Lucifer, so I opted to go for a sort of American accent instead of a British accent — which immediately makes him less charming.”

Now when it came time to actually turn into Michael on screen, Ellis says he “felt like a fraud” at first.

“It was a challenge for me turning up on set the first day to play Michael, because I was working with the same people I’ve worked with for five years who are just so used to me stepping into the shoes of Lucifer and being Lucifer, that I kind of struggled a bit mentally,” the Netflix star said. “I felt like a fraud, because it wasn’t such an easy transition for me. But then I spent time playing the character and going back and forth into Lucifer. And the more we did it the more comfortable I felt. But I did have a lot of fun playing him, in a different sort of way to playing Lucifer. I just love a challenge, and that certainly was a challenge this season.”

Now when it came to the actual challenges that Michael posed to Lucifer, one big one that does not resolve itself by the end of the season is the line he’s drawn between Lucifer and his dear demon friend Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt). See, Maze feels betrayed by Lucifer for keeping her mother, Lilith, hidden away from her for all these years. And then Michael feeds that divide between them by promising Maze a soul, something she desperately wants but that Lucifer thinks is a ridiculous request from a demon.

“It obviously has an impact on Maze’s allegiance,” Ellis said. “Michael is this master, mind-game puppeteer. So he likes to use people’s fears against them and plant seeds. So that gives Maze food for thought about where her allegiance should lie and what she wants. What Maze wants is the biggest thing, a soul. And she feels a bit stuck at the moment. And who is the person who is truly going to help her? It used to be Lucifer but maybe, as it’s been pointed out to her, that isn’t the wisest move because Lucifer only ever looks out for himself. So that does evolve in the second half of the season and there is a lot for Maze to decide with where her allegiances lie.”

OK, you didn’t think we forgot about the second big family reunion in “Lucifer” Season 5A did you? Good, because this one was really, really big: The introduction of God (played by Dennis Haysbert) or — as Lucifer, Michael and Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) call him, Dad.

“I wasn’t ever sure if we’d ever meet God,” Ellis said. “And then when that was pitched to me for Season 5 I was like, well, I guess this is the time. And then when they cast Dennis I was like, that’s brilliant.”

God comes in the final moments of the Season 5A finale, “Spoiler Alert,” to stop a massive fight between Lucifer and Amenadiel and Michael and Maze, basically telling his children to quit their bickering, ’cause Daddy is home. And that’s all we get of the big guy for now, but he will be back in the second half of Season 5 and Ellis is very excited for you to see where things are going.

“It’s amazing because digging into that emotional stuff– there’s a couple of scenes I did with Dennis where I’m just so happy we’ve done it because it really kind of got to the very, very core of what ‘Lucifer’ is about,” Ellis said. “And I’m really excited. It is a bit of a horrible tease that he comes in right at the end of the first half of Season 5, but the second half of Season 5 I think is the strongest run of episodes we’ve ever done on the show.”

Ellis says “one of the keys of ‘Lucifer’ is we’ve got these big, big characters, these celestial characters, but when we relate to them the most, in their purest, is when they are put into something that we know, which is family”

“And that dynamic between Lucifer and his father — and it’s not only Lucifer and his father, because there are the other siblings down there — but obviously Lucifer’s issues with his dad have been at the center of everything for four seasons. So how is that going to get resolved, or will it get resolved, and does he think he would ever had the opportunity to talk to his dad again? And I don’t think he did think that would happen. So Lucifer finds himself in new territory and then God himself is in new territory as well in the way that his interaction with Lucifer and the other siblings happen.”

Ellis told us that the feels really start coming for God and his devilish son in Season 5B’s musical episode, “Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam,” an installment that has been a longtime coming for fans.

“I was excited about doing a musical episode, but now that we’ve done it, I’m just excited about the episode in its entirety,” he said. “Not only has it got fantastic songs and set pieces in it, but it’s just a great episode. Like, there’s one scene that Dennis and I do that I will always remember on any set I’ve ever been, ever. Even when we rehearsed it, there were like three people in the room because we had a very closed off room to do the rehearsal, and all those three people were in floods of tears by the end of the rehearsal. So that gave some kind of indication as to how powerful it was going to be.”