by Hayley Doyle
They say they will never return. That the end was indeed, The End.
But never say never!
Once again, Idris Elba will become a brilliant, but self-destructive English police detective, DCI John Luther in the forthcoming standalone feature, Luther: The Fallen Sun. So if you were hiding under a rock from 2010-2019, you won’t need to catch up on the five BBC series to know what’s going on. Although this is recommended, particularly for the first series (OMG, the episode with guest-star Nicola Walker and the hammer… if you know, you know). Still, the new movie promises to effectively continue the epic story from the end of the fifth series, with another gruesome serial killer terrorising London. Shame our hero is banged up behind bars, isn’t it? But Luther’s past failures haunt him to breaking point…or breaking out of prison, more to the point! He has a job to finish and will do so by any means necessary. What’s more, fans can look forward to an alpha supporting cast including Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis and Hattie Morahan. Sounds good, eh?
Or, does it?
Because there’s always disappointment looming whenever a smash-hit series makes an overhyped comeback. It’s already had its grand finale. Bringing such phenomena back after its “real” ending suddenly diminishes the masterpiece. The viewers have been tricked. Fans have shed tears and felt - in this instance - a Luther-shaped hole in their telly-time. Knowing when to end a captivating story is an art form in itself. Look at Grey’s Anatomy. What started out as a stunning drama with innovative storylines and multi-layered characters is now hanging on a delicate thread made up of its long-term fans (hands up!) who only watch the show out of sheer loyalty with growing frustration as it to why it just doesn’t have that original oomph of heart and guts anymore. Or, maybe Grey’s Anatomy is just carrying on because if it had ended around season six, it would have inevitably come back again. And perhaps Shondaland is just saving itself a massive job in the long run, having to negotiate even crazier salaries for its current cast regulars.
Then again, a highlight (or a lowlight, depending on what your opinion is) of 2022 was the Sex and the City comeback, And Just Like That… Fans were torn about how this one turned out. Many weren’t convinced it was all worth it, with its main characters tripping up over woke culture, not to mention one of its four stars missing from the screen entirely. On the flip side, there was strong support for the sequel, creating a warm feeling of familiarity and nostalgia, mixed with being genuinely intrigued to know how these women were navigating life in their 50s. And it can’t be as bad as some reviewers made it out to be because (yay!) the second season is airing…soon.
And let’s not forget, Carrie Bradshaw also made her first comeback on the big screen with two movies (neither of which was a patch on the series, with the first movie being somewhat better than the shockingly bad follow-up). In the case of John Luther, what began as a relatively humble BBC cop drama based in a crime-ridden London became increasingly more absurd in each series, overtaken by cinematic ambition. The movie’s director, Jamie Payne, was behind several episodes of the series, but this is another level entirely, jam-packed with thrills and action that even Luther himself would never have dreamed of when it first aired in 2010.
So is Luther about to get a new lease of life? Will this movie be a fresh start for the franchise with movie sequels being released every couple of years from now on? Even if it’s awful? Because we just want to see a bit more of our favourite detective getting himself into more terrifying situations? The reviews so far haven’t been too complimentary. The Guardian has said, “The serial-killer accessories feel hand-me-down; the Scandi noir touch is spurious,” adding, “It’s all socked over with great and gruesome conviction, but there isn’t the same character-related interest as the TV series could generate.”
Is this why we might never get a Friends movie? And if we did, are we simply setting ourselves up for major upset? We’d all still flock to the cinema though, right? Or count down the minutes until it’s available to stream, desperate to be the first to see it. Do we love the brand more than the content? I guess we can only love the brand because of the content, though! Once something has been so good, can we just forgive anything bad that comes from it? Downton Abbey was a grand, classy period drama, packed with British megastars and witty one-liners. Then they brought out a movie. And another. The films were like a joke compared to the series, but as a fan of the show, wasn’t it adorable to witness? Oh! Just the chance to see all those lovely characters once again. The camaraderie! The chemistry! Is that enough?
We can be sure opinions will be divided. But let’s remember that fans of Luther have been led to believe that they would lose their main man forever to 007. Idris Elba has been linked with the role of James Bond for over a decade now and only last week, once again, he had to shoot down what have become tedious rumours. It’s also been widely reported that the Broccoli family are looking for a thirty-something to have his martini shaken-not-stirred so maybe Elba has outgrown that possibility. If anything, Luther’s appearance on the big screen is a solid argument for making him the next Batman. The Independent has described the setting of the movie as, “…a neo-noir London soaked in perpetual rain, with a Soho far sleazier than in real life.” Still, Luther: The Fallen Sun seems to give the actor his own distinct take on a James Bond film, albeit within the confines of a character that undeniably belongs to him.