Comparing the Devils from Lucifer and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Lucifer - Credit: John P. Fleenor/Netflix
Lucifer - Credit: John P. Fleenor/Netflix /

Netflix has embraced its devilish side with shows like Lucifer and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but how do these Devils actually compare to each other?

It’s the summer of Satan! Well, so to speak, in April and May we’ve seen two different versions of the Devil grace Netflix with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Lucifer.

Christian groups are currently clutching pearls and demanding that Netflix removes Good Omens, which features the Devil voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. The mix-up is understandable due to the Devil appearing as a major character in Sabrina and Lucifer.

It’s probably not fair to call the streaming giant partial to the Devil, but they probably weren’t going to be the most receptive even if Good Omens streamed on Netflix. (It’s Amazon Prime for those curious, who has offered to cancel Stranger Things as a compromise.)

While Netflix may have the market cornered on interpretations of the Devil, we have to consider how different they actually are from both character and storytelling perspectives.

Let’s take a moment to analyze these two similarly named yet vastly different characters.

Lucifer season 5 - Netflix
Lucifer – Credit: John P. Fleenor/Netflix /

Lucifer Morningstar (Lucifer)

Lucifer Morningstar (Ellis) decides to retire from ruling Hell and goes to Los Angeles to open a nightclub. After getting involved in a murder investigation, the Devil joins forces with Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) of LAPD. Together, they solve crimes!

The major difference that sets apart this Lucifer from his Sabrina counterpart is that he is the protagonist of this story. The focus of the story is firmly on the Devil, who is not so much doom and gloom but someone who just wants to find a place to belong in the world. Lucifer has no designs on the end of the world, but to enjoy the pleasures of Earth and live his life on his own terms.

While Lucifer is all about pleasure and excess, the series takes time to really dive into his personal demons, a reckoning that comes whether he wants it to or not. The Lucifer of Sabrina only cares for himself and how others can serve him. While Lucifer of Lucifer does this as well, over time he reached out to others and helped how he could. It could be a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing, but as he cared about others outside of himself the more that he grew as a person.

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The journey of Lucifer, in essence, is a sort of internal reckoning for the Devil as he comes to terms with how society sees and how he sees himself. In the season four episode “Super Bad Boyfriend”, he admits that he “hates himself”.

In admitting this self-loathing and his caring for his human friends, Lucifer returns to Hell protect those he loves rather than stay on Earth and put humanity at risk. This is because Earth, as even Lucifer himself says, has become his home in a way that Hell and Heaven could never be. His own journey is about letting go of old pain and taking the necessary steps to love himself and others as he should.

It’s the more interesting character arc done over the course of four seasons on two networks. It allows for a more nuanced and interesting version of the Devil, rather than him just being evil for the sake of it. Lucifer provides a look at the Devil as a man-shaped being with all the flaws and neurosis that come with it.

It makes for a richer story, one that celebrates and examines free will. In the end, Lucifer has always had a choice and he chooses those who he loves every time. What a wonderful world, it could be, if the Devil could be saved by love.


Lucifer Morningstar/The Dark Lord  (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)

The Lucifer (Cook) of Sabrina has surface similarities to the Lucifer’s, uh, Lucifer. Unlike Lucifer, Sabrina is Sabrina Spellman’s (Kiernan Shipka) coming of age story. The Dark Lord, as the worshipped figure of the Church of the Night, is also the symbol of everything that’s wrong with it. The behavior exhibited by the men of the Church and evangelized by Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) comes from this Dark Lord.

You can understand why people would follow him. He’s charming, charismatic, and loves to have a good time. Sound familiar? Unlike the other, this one doesn’t really self-actualize or even tries. He wants the end of the world. He wants to torture those around him. He lives up to all of those stereotypes.

More from Lucifer

Part of it comes down from his deep insecurity, constantly testing those who sign his Book of the Beast in order to ensure their loyalty. Like when he asks Sabrina to steal the pack of gum and it escalates into almost burning down Baxter High. He tortures the loyal Lilith (Michelle Gomez) when she tries to make a happier life for herself with Adam Marsters (Alexis Denisof) and makes her kiss his hooves when she loses a bet over Sabrina.

He holds the right to visit a bride-to-be before her wedding day and have sex with her. She cannot turn him away. Then there’s the whole marrying his biological daughter thing, which is gross on a whole other level.

This Lucifer is more in line with a traditional view of the Devil with Sabrina as the Anti-Christ. As she performs her “versions” of miracles, she heralds in the end of the world. It’s an end where mortals will be tortured while all witches and warlocks would be subservient to the Dark Lord that they pledged themselves to. In this Lucifer’s eyes, there is no true equal to him, not even his own daughter.

Strangely enough, the key to sending him back to Hell coincides with the other Lucifer: love. It is Nicholas Scratch’s (Gavin Leatherwood) love for Sabrina that inspires him to bind Lucifer to his soul so that the world may be safe from harm. It is because of this sacrifice that Lilith is crowned Hell’s Queen and Lucifer is sent back to the pit. It’s because Lucifer loved Chloe and his friends that he returned to Hell as well.

Even with the differences, love remains the key to get the Lucifers into Hell. It could be just what they need to free the Devil and Nick Scratch on their respective shows. The Rolling Stones demanded “Sympathy for the Devil”, but the Beatles said “All You Need Is Love”. Maybe, what these shows need, is a little bit of both so to speak.

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