'Damien' Boss Explains Why the Devil Is In Demand on TV

'Walking Dead' alum Glen Mazzara offers a realistic answer about why his sequel series to 'The Omen' will work for A&E.
Courtesy of A&E

A&E is poised to explore the life of the Antichrist with The Omen sequel Damien.

From The Walking Dead alum Glen Mazzara, Damien picks up 25 years after the 1976 feature film The Omen ended with the 5-year-old Antichrist as the last man standing.

The drama, originally picked up straight-to-series with a six-episode order at Lifetime, moved to corporate sibling A&E complete with an additional four installments, and explores a 30-year-old Damien (Bradley James, Homeland) who is haunted by his past and who now must come to terms with his true destiny: that he's the Antichrist, the most feared man throughout the ages. The series will fill in the gap of what happened to Damien for the past 25 years and see the character pulled in both directions as he vies to save the world and himself.

While Mazzara told reporters that Damien has been in the works for nearly three years — at two different studios and networks — the series may finally be arriving at the perfect time considering its subject matter seems to have become more popular. 

Fox will launch its comedic cop procedural Lucifer, which centers on the bored and unhappy Lord of Hell Lucifer (Rush's Tom Ellis) who resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the gorgeous, shimmering insanity of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals. (Like Damien, Lucifer is based on IP — in this case, characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg for DC Entertainment's Vertigo imprint.)

On top of that, Cinemax is prepping Outcast, and exorcism drama from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman that, yup, is based on the comic book of the same name. Outcast centers on Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a man who has been plagued by possession since he was a child. Now an adult, he embarks on a spiritual journey to find answers, but what he uncovers could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it.

So why is the devil suddenly so sexy again for the small screen?

"The devil has always been very sexy," Mazzara told THR following his time in front of the press Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "There's something in the air that people feel like these are the end times, in some way. There's an anxiety about what's happening all around the world and some of these shows — like Lucifer may take a comic approach — we're taking a hopefully more thoughtful, thematic approach to that material. There has been a lot of post-apocalyptic shows out there now and we're the show that's about the question: "Can you stop it?"

As for the missing 25 years of Damien's life on the A&E series, Mazzara says talks are underway to develop a story that fills in those gaps for mobile devices. "We do know what happened to him and where he's been. This is a character that has a complete life story and we're jumping in at this point," he said. "The first episode, he's 30 and Christ was baptized when he was 30."  

As for comment on The Walking Dead lawsuit — Mazzara's deposition went public earlier Wednesday — the subject didn't come up during the panel, though the former showrunner was asked if he still watched the zombie drama from which he was fired.

"I have not been watching it because I've been working on this show," he said, adding that he was just catching up on TV and watching Jessica Jones and USA Network's Mr. Robot.  "What's been fun about this is this one is I'm here from the beginning," he said in a nod to boarding The Walking Dead after after the series had already been developed by Frank Darabont.

Damien premieres March 7 at 10 p.m. on A&E. Click here for more from Mazzara on Damien and to watch the trailer.