Since the final episode of award-winning psychological crime drama Luther aired on the BBC in 2013, audiences on both sides of the Atlantic have continually quoted the show’s traditional end-of-season line by asking, “What’s next?” The question returned yesterday, when the Hollywood Reporter learned that Fox had handed a “put pilot” commitment to a U.S remake of the show, to be written by original series creator Neil Cross, and executive produced by Idris Elba.
After suggesting for several years that their ultimate aim was to create a Luther movie, it seemed that the iconic character of Detective Chief Inspector John Luther was drifting further away from home, with the creative team behind the show re-imagining him, stateside. That was until Variety detailed a new statement from Luther writer Neil Cross.
“Ever since we said goodbye to John Luther on Southwark Bridge, there’s hardly been a minute when I didn’t wonder what happened next. So I decided to find out. We’re putting the band back together; ‘Luther’ is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work.”
While Cross and Elba will be involved behind the scenes with the American Luther pilot for Fox, Chernin Entertainment, and BBC Worldwide Productions, that project is likely to feature an entirely different cast. The character’s return to the BBC in 2015, however, will be a true continuation of the previous three seasons.
Those three seasons saw Luther become a huge international hit for the British television channel, going on to earn eight Primetime Emmy nominations, three Golden Globe nominations, and a Golden Globe win for Idris Elba in 2012 – thanks to its additional airing on BBC America. While Elba was already known to American audiences following his work on The Wire, The Office, The Big C, and many movies, his Luther co-star, Ruth Wilson, has since featured in films such as Saving Mr Banks and Locke, in addition to her current starring role in Showtime’s The Affair – which was recently renewed for a second season.
Speaking to the U.K magazine Radio Times recently, Elba explained why the character of John Luther has remained dear to his heart.
“‘Luther’ reinvented me, massively. It came after a string of movies, like ‘The Losers’ and ‘Obsessed’ and whatnot, and the BBC are like, ‘Do you want to come back and have a TV show?’ And I remember me and my agent going, ‘Wow, we’re actually being offered a… lead by the BBC.
“That was a monumental moment for us, and I put my heart and soul into it. I love John Luther. I played John at a very dark time in my life. And I so love John because I get to exorcise; it’s so cathartic, it’s therapy.
“He’s got so much going on, but he lives with it. He makes decisions and he does things that Idris Elba is not allowed to do.”
The two new hour-long episodes of Luther are expected to air on the BBC late in 2015.