Skip to main content

Can John Luther kick James Bond’s ass? The Fallen Sun’s creators weigh in on the debate

One of the most popular British shows to emerge in the last 15 years is Luther. Starring Idris Elba as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, the BBC One series lasted five seasons, was a critical and commercial success, and made an international star out of Elba, who frequently tops hypothetical lists of actors who would make a great James Bond. After a three-year absence, Elba returns to the role that made him famous with Luther: The Fallen Sun, a feature-length Netflix film co-starring future Wicked actress Cynthia Erivo and Andor‘s Andy Serkis.

Digital Trends got the chance to talk to Luther’s creator and writer, Neil Cross, and director Jamie Payne about how Luther has evolved throughout the years and what the future holds for the police detective. They also weigh in on the most pressing debate of 2023: can John Luther kick James Bond’s ass in a fight?

Related Videos
A man stands in an alley in Luther: The Fallen Sun.

Digital Trends: Neil, you are the father of Luther. How does this movie represent the character’s evolution from when we first saw him in the first season of Luther more than a decade ago in 2010?

Neil Cross:  I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m not one of those writers who puts deliberate arcs into a story because I’m not a real writer. I just make things up as I go along. So I look at it after I’ve done it. To me, the arc of the television show is the arc of a man who is forced by circumstances to look into and accept his own true nature. And the minute he accepts his own true nature, he can no longer be a police officer. That’s the end of the TV show. Luther: The Fallen Sun represents the same man having to accept who he now knows he is.

Jamie, you’re relatively new to the Luther franchise, correct?

Jamie Payne: Yeah. I directed season 5 and now this film.

How did you approach portraying this character in a feature-length format?

Payne: Well, when I directed season 5, I had four previous seasons to reference for clues as to who Luther was. There was also a novel, Luther: The Calling, that taught me a lot about who he was ahead of this film.

For me, it’s the story that comes first. There is no point in my process where there’s not something on the page. As a director, whether I’m doing episodic television or a feature film, I’m creatively responding to the writing. That’s the first part of the process.

My genuine passion for Luther as a character, my friendship with Neil and Idris, and the responsibility that I feel to the world they created together enabled me to use every single skill that I developed over 20 years of directing a wide variety of television programs to make sure that I was making the best movie possible.

A man stands in a subway tunnel in Luther: The Fallen Sun.

Without spoiling anything, is this the last we’ll see of Luther? Do you both have anything planned. like another series or movie with Idris coming back? Or is The Fallen Sun the final chapter in the Luther saga?

Cross: I will be writing Luther until someone puts me in a straitjacket and drags me away and locks me away.

Payne: Even then, he won’t stop writing Luther stories. [Laughs]

There’s been some talk in the news about a scene in The Fallen Sun that gives, and I quote, “an extended middle finger to James Bond.” I have to ask: if Luther had to fight James Bond, who would win?

Cross: I’ve never been asked that question!

We can go through all the different Bonds too. For example, if it’s Sean Connery’s Bond versus Idris Elba’s Luther, who wins?

Payne: Wow, this is fun.

Cross: Well, I have to say that what Luther has in his favor against all of the iterations of Bond is that he’s always doing it for himself. Bond is ultimately doing it for the government. And I think Luther’s drive and passion are what ultimately give him the edge. Although if it’s Luther versus Sean Connery, I don’t actually know what the answer to that is, but I do know that I would quite like to watch it. That’s something that I would love to see.

Luther: The Fallen Sun | Official Trailer | Netflix

I thought about this a lot recently. For me, Luther versus Connery’s Bond is a draw. Luther vs. Roger Moore? Luther wins. Luther versus Timothy Dalton? Luther wins. Luther versus Pierce Brosnan? Luther wins, but it’s a tough fight. Luther versus Daniel Craig? Craig wins because he will cheat and lie and fight dirty to beat Luther.

Cross: [Laughs] You know what? I grew up wanting to do stop-motion and you inspired me to go back and do some stop-motion movies just so that I can see Luther battle each of the Bonds.

Payne: I’d like to see Luther versus all the Bonds at the same time.

It’s 2023. We have the technology to make all that happen.

Luther: The Fallen Sun is now streaming on Netflix.

Editors' Recommendations

10 most popular Netflix TV shows of all time
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in a scene from Bridgerton.

In 2012, Netflix offered its first exclusive content with the Norwegian crime series Lilyhammer starring The Sopranos' Steven Van Zandt. One year later, House of Cards became the first television series produced by Netflix. In the 10 years since House of Cards, Netflix has produced over 1,500 original series globally.

In the beginning, House of Cards was the streamer's premier television series. However, the trajectory of Netflix changed with the release of Stranger Things in 2016. With four seasons over seven years, Stranger Things is now one of the most recognizable television properties in the world. In 2022 alone, Netflix had a string of hits that included as Wednesday, Inventing Anna, and the return of Bridgerton. In the history of the service, what are the most popular shows of all time?

Read more
Dead Ringers trailer has twice the Rachel Weisz
dead ringers trailer rachel weisz prime video

Rachel Weisz (Black Widow) is in double the trouble as the Oscar winner plays twins in Prime Video's upcoming series Dead Ringers, which released its official trailer on Wednesday morning. The psychological thriller is a gender-flipped adaption of David Cronenberg's 1988 film of the same name starring Jeremy Irons (House of Gucci).

Weisz plays Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twin gynecologists looking to push the limits of medical ethics and revolutionize women's health care. As one of the twins says in the trailer, they do work that is "groundbreaking, but hopeful." The twins are disturbingly codependent, as the women share everything from drugs to lovers and ideals. Set to the Soft Cell's Tainted Love, the trailer shows how the twins seek to change how women give birth, even if it involves radical measures.

Read more
The best thrillers on Netflix right now
Johnny Depp in Secret Window (2004)

Looking to add some adrenaline to your daily life? One of the best ways to safely do so is by indulging in an awesome thriller film or two. Putting our hearts and minds to the test, excellent titles from this celebrated genre showcase characters and situations of all kinds, but the stakes are usually quite high. There are typically puzzles to solve, foes to distrust, and alliances threatened, too. You know, all the makings of a quiet stream-worthy Sunday.

And luckily, if your DVD player has finally bit the dust, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy all the best thrillers on Netflix right now. From new discoveries to celebrated classics, we guarantee you’ll find something in our monthly roundup that you dig.

Read more