Netflix is giving its upcoming Luther movie a budget the series deserves

Idris Elba as Luther
(Image credit: BBC)

It’s official: Netflix is moving ahead with plans for a feature-length Luther movie. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project is being developed in association with the BBC, and will see Idris Elba reprise his role as the popular British detective, alongside Hollywood A-listers Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis.

Creator of the original series, Neil Cross, has penned the script, while Jamie Payne – best known as a director on TV shows The Alienist and Outlander – will helm the project, which is set to begin shooting in November.

Luther ran for five short seasons between 2010 and 2019 on Britain’s BBC One, following the exploits of DCI John Luther as he investigates serious crimes across London. 

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The show has been something of an anchor for Elba, seeing him earn Golden Globe awards and Emmy nominations for his gritty portrayal of the complex detective. It also proved the catalyst for rumors suggesting he could replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.

Details are few and far between as to what ground Netflix’s upcoming movie adaptation will cover, though we know its story will serve as a continuation of the Luther saga, with the character having “to contend with a double threat.”

We also know Erivo is set to play a fellow detective-cum-nemesis, while Serkis will serve as the movie’s villain – which is no surprise, given his roles in The Lord of the Rings, Black Panther, Star Wars… you get the idea. We doubt any motion capture will be involved this time, though.

Both Cross and Elba are producing along with the team at Chernin Entertainment (the Fear Street Trilogy), which has an existing deal with Netflix.

Analysis: a deserved big-screen outing 

For fans of the popular British show, news of a big-screen adaptation may come as an unwelcome surprise. 

After all, projects like Sex and the City, The X-Files and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie all proved less-than-impressive feature-length adaptations of their beloved small-screen source material.

But showrunner Neil Cross is confident that the improved production budget afforded by working with Netflix should give Idris Elba’s Luther the space to play (read: beat up folks) he and his titular series deserve.

Speaking to Digital Spy back in June, Cross briefly hinted at the "bigger and better" movie spin-off, saying he’s glad to have been given the funds to "tell the kind of [Luther] story that [he’s] always wanted to be able to tell.”

"What we've been able to do [with the movie] – having delivered every episode of Luther on budgets which are comically small – is to have a wider canvas,” he added, “and we've really been given the opportunity – while staying entirely true [to the source material].”

It’s clear, then, that whenever Idris Elba’s reprisal does hit screens (we’d bet no earlier than 2023), s*** is going to hit the fan.

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.