After Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort for good at the Battle of Hogwarts, the wizarding world finally found itself at peace. That solace was not shared by Death Eaters like Lucius Malfoy, who had aided Voldemort in his ruthless campaign to subjugate wizards, witches, and muggles alike.
While the Malfoy family (Draco, Lucius, and Narcissa) had a major change of heart about their involvement with the dark wizard formerly known as Tom Riddle, the stink of their pure-blood philosophies never washed off. That was especially true for Lucius, according to Jason Isaacs who played the blond-haired character in Warner Bros.' live-action Potter films. Aside from J.K. Rowling, he probably understands Malfoy Sr. better than anyone. So what could have eventually happened to Lucius? Isaacs has a theory on that.
"I was pretty sure of what had happened to him. I don’t know if anybody else needs to agree because that’s the fun of it, isn’t it?" Isaacs told SYFY WIRE during an exclusive chat about his involvement with Audible's all-star production of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. "I think he was broken in Azkaban completely, and he was broken even by having to go there because the dream that he had held out for a long time of being Voldemort’s right-hand man and being celebrated as having kept the flame alive. [That notion] was shattered pretty quickly when Voldemort came back."
Despite being a valued Death Eater in the days before Voldemort fell following his attack on baby Harry, Lucius stumbled out of favor with the Dark Lord when he squandered Riddle's diary (secretly a horcrux) in Chamber of Secrets and failed to obtain the prophecy in Order of the Phoenix. For the latter misstep, he was captured and sent to Azkaban, where, according to Dumbledore, he was very relieved to be away from Voldemort's fury. By the time he was freed, Lucius had fallen from grace pretty hard.
"Onscreen, you can see he’s always slightly stubbly and red-eyed and drinking whenever he can," Isaacs continued, talking about his look in Deathly Hallows. "I always thought he drank too much. And then, in the final battle at Hogwarts, it became clear to him, particularly when Narcissa and Draco ran off, that there was no place for him in either future. Voldemort was not gonna have him by his side. He’d already [taken] my wand at the table in Malfoy Manor, which is public humiliation, almost castration."
In the opening of Deathly Hallows Part 1, Voldemort takes Lucius' wand because the Dark Lord's own wand wouldn't be able to face off against Harry's. The plan doesn't work and Malfoy's wand is utterly destroyed during the "Seven Potters" aerial chase sequence.
Knowing that he's finished as a high-ranking leader within the Death Eater fold, Lucius becomes more interested in protecting his wife (played by Helen McCrory) and son (Tom Felton). For Isaacs, that still wasn't enough for the character to find redemption after Voldemort met his fatal downfall.
"Were the Death Eaters to triumph, there’s nothing good waiting for him. And, of course, if the Death Eaters lose, there’s nothing good waiting for him," the actor said. "That’s why that last shot of him is him just stuck in the doorway there with his wife and son disappearing in the distance and Voldemort disappearing into Hogwarts. [Lucius is] thinking, ‘What the hell do I do?’"
Draco would go on to lead a semi-normal life, getting married, siring Scorpius Malfoy (best friend of Albus Severus Potter if you subscribe to the Cursed Child canon), and showing his face out in public on Platform 9 3/4. Lucius, on the other hand, would never feel like a normal member of wizarding society ever again — at least that's what Isaacs speculates.
"I think what would’ve happened afterwards, is that he would become a shell of himself," the actor offered. "His money would protect him because money always protects people, and I think he would’ve lost — if he ever had any — the respect of his wife and his son. Society would shun him and he would cower inside his mansion and drink himself into an early grave. And frankly, deserve it."