Idris Elba’s troubled TV detective gets a new chapter in upcoming ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’ film

Idris Elba’s troubled TV detective continues his story in Luther: The Fallen Sun movie

“He’s just very haunted by things he’s done,” says Elba of his acclaimed alter ego, who crosses paths with new characters played by Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis.

It’s been nearly four years since we last saw Idris Elba‘s John Luther, and he wasn’t in a very good place: In the 2019 finale of Luther, the dark BBC series about the complicated detective, he is arrested and cuffed by Schenk (Dermot Crowley) and sent to prison. And now he’s returning for a movie continuation of his story, reuniting with director Jamie Payne and series creator-writer Neil Cross. 

“He’s done so much to bend the law in order to catch the bad guys that he’s ended up in jail,” says Elba, who appeared in a slew of films in the interim, including Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw, The Harder They Fall and Thor: Love and Thunder. “So that’s where we start the story. He’s contemplating what he’s going to do with his life.”

Though Elba says the show’s ardent fans had a lot to do with getting the movie version going (“They really wanted it. And I wanted it”), viewers needn’t watch all five seasons of the thriller series in order to get up to speed. 

2023 Preview

Credit: John Wilson/Netflix

“The story in some ways continues — if you binge the series from season one to the film, the story is continuous,” says director Payne. “But because the film has got such a larger platform, we thought it was important that if someone was watching the film for the first time that it had its own story. So you could watch the film and go back and then binge the series. It was important to all of us that the audience could find a way into the series, and to the lore.”

Much of that lore surrounds the antihero at the center of it all, at turns dedicated, destructive, troubled, magnetic. And despite some new faces (Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis play freshly introduced characters), Luther’s motivations remain the same. 

“Luther is just so haunted — that’s his whole thing,” says Elba. “Even when he’s a free man, he can’t help but chase it, chase the ghosts that get into his head. And I think that’s what drives him in this film. He’s just very haunted by things he’s done, things he could have done, people that have died.”

Still, prison has changed him, and we, as viewers, have changed since Luther’s last outing too, says Payne. “The film really digs into, again, our primal fears,” says the director. “We’ve all gone for a period of time where we were literally locked in our house. And in a very contemporary society, we’re all so visible now. It’s almost like I can look through the vast walls of our hearts into each other’s life in a way that we’ve never looked before. And I think that makes us all very vulnerable.”

So what kickstarts Luther’s new cinematic story? “This old case that he did work on that didn’t really ever get solved or put to bed creeps up back into his life,” explains Elba. “And John just can’t help but find a way to get involved and get him — he just can’t help it.”

And we can’t help watching.

Luther: The Fallen Sun will debut in March 2023 on Netflix

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