UPDATE 11/18/15: No full trailer yet unfortunately; although I’m sure one is coming soon, given that the special premieres on December 17. In the meantime, BBC One has released a first teaser – emphasis on the word "teaser" – which I’ve embedded below. Watch it and then catch up on all that’s been unveiled about the show’s return until now.
Idris Elba and "Luther" show creator Neil Cross have both been previously adamant about their plans to bring character to the big screen. I’ve said in past posts that the recent TV push here in the USA (an American "Luther" is in development), may be a lead-in into the feature, which I speculated could arrive sometime in 2017. But, since the surprise upcoming 2 part/1 night special was announced (after Elba himself suggested that he wouldn’t want to return for another season of the series), I also said that it could very well be that this 2-part special, each episode an hour long, for a total of 2 hours, could be the feature film that was previously announced, which would then mean that there might not be a big screen version of "Luther" any time soon, if at all.
Elba all-but confirms the latter, given what he told London press while promoting the upcoming special. When asked about a "Luther" film, the actor said: "In our heads this [two-parter] was the film. It’s two hours."
Although he did add that he and Cross would still like to make an official "Luther" film, but, as he said: "It takes time, and it’s really about when Neil and I are ready to pull that off."
So, how would you read all that? My take: they’d obviously still like to make a movie, but, in the event that it doesn’t happen, the upcoming 2-part TV special will suffice, because "in their heads" as they were developing it, they thought of it as the film. I’d guess that they likely shopped the idea of a film around, but maybe no studio or financier jumped on it, and so they had to consider the possibility that it would never happen, while the BBC was obviously still interested in bringing the show back, given how much it’s grown in popularity over the years.
All that said, the only thing we know with certainty is that "Luther" returns to BBC America for a one-night 2-hour special event on Thursday, December 17, 9pm ET.
I would say that this puts it head-to-head with Shonda Rhimes night on ABC ("Scandal" at 9pm and "How to get Away With Murder" at 10pm); but both shows should be on X-mas vacation by December 17, leaving "Luther" with likely little competition that night.
Here’s the story breakdown for those who haven’t kept up with the series, courtesy of the press release: Struggling to cope with his own demons after losing so much, it seemed normalcy would always elude the emotionally impulsive detective. Teflon tough, even the strongest couldn’t endure what Luther has seen and been through. Hunting London’s most depraved criminals forced him to tap into the dark recesses of his mind, revealing sides of himself that would horrify most. The heartbreaking loss of his wife to a brutal murderer and his inner-circle of colleagues turning on him in a witch hunt weren’t enough to keep him away from the job. But watching his most trusted colleague and friend, Detective Sergeant Justin Ripley, die in his arms after getting caught in the crossfires of a case, finally pushed him over the slippery slope he’s always towed. A forbidden connection with serial-killer, Alice Morgan, offered him a somewhat skewed version of a happy ending and he took it.
And here’s what’s coming in the December 17 special: This time we find Luther on a leave of absence from the police force, laying low in a rundown cottage. A visit from colleagues, Detective Chief Inspector Theo Bloom and Detective Sergeant Emma Lane, brings a shocking piece of news that draws him back to London in search of the truth. At the same time, a gruesome cannibalistic serial killer has struck the city, eating body parts as he goes. With a trail of clues leading from one crime scene to the next, Detective Superintendent Unit Martin Schenk and his team must work out the twisted logic that connects each victim. But this murdering mastermind is more than a match for Schenk’s police, outsmarting them at every step. It’s not long before Luther makes his triumphant return to the Bullpen, determined to capture the killer before another mutilated body joins the mounting pile. But he’s dogged at every turn by ghosts from his past. Isolated and volatile, it will take every fiber of Luther’s being to keep it together.
“I think there were bigger challenges when he lost his wife and his best friend," Elba says in a press statement. "That was a huge pinnacle and something that it took him a long time to get over. And in this [special] there is something similar that happens to him that is definitely traumatic. I think Luther goes back just because he can’t stay away from it for too long. Ultimately, because he’s a protector, [he] just wants to be able to fix what he can see other people won’t be able to…”
Idris Elba has garnered both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his role as DCI John Luther, with a Golden Globe win in 2013.
Written and created by Neil Cross and directed by Sam Miller, the "Luther" special also stars Laura Haddock as Megan Cantor, a mysterious woman from Luther’s past, John Heffernan as the sadistic cannibal Steven Rose, Patrick Malahide as George Cornelius, an old school gangster, and Michael Smiley returning as computer whiz Benny Silver.
And now we wait for the trailer, which I’m sure will debut any day now…