Idris Elba on Luther’s franchise potential and Bond comparisons

Luther: The Fallen Sun
(Image credit: Netflix)

With his unmistakeable coat and red tie combo, not to mention his out-of-time London slang, Luther felt iconic the moment he burst onto TV screens in 2010. "John almost feels like a superhero – he doesn’t wear a cape, he wears a coat,” star Idris Elba tells Total Film (opens in new tab) in the upcoming Luther: The Fallen Sun cover story.

Of course, for years Elba’s name has been spoken about in connection with another iconic - and memorably tailored - Brit character, James Bond. While Elba as 007 now seems destined to remain one of the most popular fan castings to never happen, he sees film-franchise potential in Luther, and mentions Bond when discussing his ambitions.

"It’s not a competition, but I reference Bond as a template for the type of film we’re going for," Elba – long touted as a successor to Daniel Craig – tells Total Film (opens in new tab). "John is a leading character in a film that he’s the hero of. That’s the comparison I’m making. Some films do them well – Bond is one of them. But my ambition for it is to have that sort of scale, that reverence. I want people to be like: ‘Ooh! Luther, the first film? Wicked.’ And to continue that. And then maybe later down the line, when I’m too old, someone else will step in to play John."

Payne is similarly unafraid of mentioning the famous secret agent. "Luther is our Bond. Luther is the person that will stand between us and harm. I don’t believe I would meet a Bond villain. I don’t think they’re interested in me. But my worst fear is that a lot of the Luther villains would be. And I think that what makes him our Bond is that he will push himself beyond all natural ability to protect you."

Luther: The Fallen Sun

(Image credit: Netflix)

When it comes to franchise potential, Elba is unapologetic about his desire to make Luther multi-movie. "One hundred per cent, it is a franchise," he says. "We’re desperate to take Luther out of Luther-land, and put him in the big world. I think that’s a really important characteristic of scale and growth in our films. I mean, can you just imagine John in Colombia, or darkest Berlin where it’s really weird and underground? Luther could go to America if we want to do that. That, to me, is exciting. And taking the rules of Luther-land and transposing them to different environments is really exciting for us."

Luther: The Fallen Sun hits Netflix in March 2023. For much more from Elba, Cross, Payne, and co-stars Andy Serkis and Cynthia Erivo, pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film (opens in new tab) when it his newsstands (real and digital) on Thursday, January 12. As well as Luther, there’s a ranking of the greatest screen detectives, features on Knock at the Cabin, Cocaine Bear, Magic Mike’s Last Dance, The Fabelmans, and much more.

Check out the covers below:

Total Film's Luther: The Fallen Sun covers

(Image credit: Netflix/Total Film)
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Editor-in-Chief, Total Film

Jane Crowther is the Editor of Total Film magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Film Group here at Future Plc, which covers Total Film, SFX, and numerous TV and women's interest brands. Jane is also the vice-chair of The Critics' Circle and a BAFTA member. You'll find Jane on GamesRadar+ exploring the biggest movies in the world and living up to her reputation as one of the most authoritative voices on film in the industry. 

With contributions from