The Luther movie — release month, first-look photos, cast, plot, and everything we know

Luther (Idris Elba) in a tunnel in the Luther movie
Our first look at the Luther movie. (Image credit: Netflix)

A Luther movie has been talked about for years, but fans of the hit BBC crime drama will be thrilled to know that the follow-up (once again written by series creator, Neil Cross) is on the cards, and it's coming in just a few months' time!

The original series is one of the best BBC dramas. It debuted back in 2010 and has been incredibly popular ever since. The series has won no less than 11 Emmy nominations, with four going to Idris Elba for playing the grizzled title character, DCI John Luther.

We learned that Luther would be joined by two major stars for the upcoming film a long time ago, but precious few details have been shared since... until now. Recently, Netflix revealed the release month and teased us with some first-look photos from the new series, with Elba letting slip some new info about the plot.

Here's everything we have learned about the Luther movie so far.

Luther movie release date

It's been a long time coming, but we've finally got a rough idea of when we can expect the Luther movie, as it's been confirmed for release in March 2023. When we get a more exact release date, we'll include it here. In the meantime, you can get caught up on Luther's previous adventures on BBC iPlayer and Hulu in the US.

Along with the above release date news, we got two images from the new movie. We've included the first one above which shows Luther in a tunnel, whilst the other sees him trekking through some snow.

John Luther (Idris Elba) trekking through snow in the Luther movie.

Luther's leaving the streets of London behind in the new movie. (Image credit: Netflix)

Luther movie cast

Naturally, you can't have more Luther without Idris Elba, so it's good to know he's back on hand in the lead role after his recent appearances  The Suicide Squad and Beast.

In the original Luther movie announcement, Netflix revealed two additional stars would be joining Elba. Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes, director of Venom: Let There Be Carnage) and Cynthia Erivo (The Outsider, Bad Times at the El Royale) will both appear in undisclosed roles in the new movie. 

All we know about their characters right now is that they'll be playing two villains. According to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), Serkis and Erivo present a "double threat" for the detective. Erivo's character is a detective who also happens to be Luther's nemesis, and Serkis will be the film's main villain.

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What might happen in the Luther movie?

The Luther movie is a continuation of the TV series which finished in 2019. Because it's set to follow on from the events of season five, it's pretty difficult to guess just what might happen, especially since plot details have been kept tightly under wraps.

When filming concluded and the Luther movie was "finished", Elba teased that the film was going to be bigger than what's come so far, saying: "The world of Luther as a television show and film is similar, but the film has [huge] scale. We're opening the doors and widening it so anything's possible when you can do that."

Speaking to Empire (opens in new tab), Elba has doubled down on his earlier comments, calling the film 'a different life of the Luther experience.' Of the new film, he said: "We really peel the onion back here because we had the time and scale to do that. It also gives Neil [Cross] a lot more, you know, Luther-land to play with, in terms of where Luther can go, how he goes, what the landscape is."

"We break out of the gritty streets of London, we take it outside of that a little bit. And that's great. It feels like now we're entering a different life of the Luther experience", he added.

One thing we do know for sure is that the show's dark tone will carry over to the upcoming film. In the same interview, Elba said: "I wanted to make sure that even though we had a bigger budget, [we didn't] distort the parameters of Luther-land too much. We do amplify the action and do amplify the stakes. But [Season 3’s] man-under-the-bed moment? That don’t cost you much money. Those moments are still intact.”

John Luther

(Image credit: BBC)

Since the last series came to an end in 2019, we've also included a recap of what happened at the end of Luther season five below. If you're not caught up just yet, don't read on.

In the finale, Luther and his rival, Alice Morgan, had another showdown. Having tracked down serial killer Jeremy Lake and saved his partner, Catherine Halliday from him, Luther was betrayed by Alice when she shot Halliday dead.

This saw the duo entering into a firefight. Alice shot Luther multiple times. He chased her onto a building site while begging her to give herself up. 

Luther attempted to arrest her, but Alice slashed at him with a knife and admitted she was in love with him. As she prepared to kill him off, Luther used the last of his strength to shove her off some scaffolding. Although he grabbed her hand, Alice lashed out with the knife again and he dropped her to her "death".

Having tracked the duo by following a trail of blood, Martin Schenk arrested Luther and the pair left the site with John Luther's fate very much unknown. 

With Luther in police custody, it's difficult to predict what he's going to get up to. Alice Morgan has already returned from the dead once... could she be back again?

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Is there a trailer?

We haven't gotten a release date just yet, but with the Luther movie scheduled for release in March 2023, we're hoping to see more from the film before much longer. As and when one is released, we'll be sure to update this guide.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.