It's been over a decade since Luther first lumbered onto the scene with his trademark jacket and red tie. The series that took Idris Elba from "that guy in HBO's The Wire" and turned him into a household name has managed to run five seasons all told, with the final 4 part installment hitting small screens back in 2019. Now it looks like Luther will be back again, though this time in a movie. Netflix, which helped turn the series into a hit in the U.S., has reportedly boarded a new project which will bring DCI John Luther to feature-length films.
Elba has never made a secret of how much he loves playing the character or that he'd like to take the hardboiled British detective from weekly episodic scale to larger budget big-screen features. The idea has been kicking around at the BBC since Season 5 proved a decent ratings draw. In May of 2021, Elba said the project was close to being greenlit and hoped for a September start date for filming. Now, multiple outlets are reporting that Netflix has teamed up with the BBC to make it happen as part of the streaming services' commitment to building out its original feature films library.
More importantly, the project now has a director in place, which suggests that this isn't just rumors and talk. Jamie Payne, who directed the most recent season, has apparently signed on to helm the movie version of Luther's crime-solving adventures. Payne has directed multiple episodes of many PBS viewer favorites previously, from Call The Midwife to Indian Summers and STARZ series The White Queen, The White Princess, and Outlander. According to reports, series creator Neil Cross will once again be penning the scripts, with Cross and Elba acting as executive producers.
Assuming the project begins filming, this will be yet another project that partners Elba with Netflix. Though Elba's superhero work, most recently in The Suicide Squad, has been his career headline maker, he's been a solid player in the Netflix universe ever since 2015's Beasts of No Nation. He's also starred in Concrete Cowboys, and Turn Up Charlie (where he showed off his secondary career as a DJ). He'll be seen next in the all-Black western The Harder They Fall, which will hit both streaming and theaters with apparently aims at Oscar attention.
Of course, the real question is whether or not the series can manage without Ruth Wilson, whose character Alice Morgan has been Luther's most effective foil. Wilson played Morgan through the first three seasons before the show killed her off, but when Season 4 failed to gel without her, they declared her to have faked her death for a Season 5 resurrection. But, as happens to so many small screen villains, Morgan was brought back only to kill her more effectively, and there's little to no wiggle room in getting her back for yet another encore.
Netflix and the BBC have yet to comment on the reports. According to Variety, the new Luther film will most likely start filming this Fall.