Netflix's Luther movie retcons the TV show's ending

idris elba as john luther, luther the fallen sun
How Netflix's Luther film retcons TV show's endingNetflix

It's always a tricky business continuing any series after its finale has been released, whether that's a TV show or a movie, especially if the climax is pretty definitive.

Luther might not have ended its five-season run on BBC One with John Luther (Idris Elba) being killed, but his imprisonment for various misdemeanours over the years certainly felt like a full stop. Luther might have a death wish, but that was never going to happen, so prison was the next-best satisfying ending.

When talk turned to continuing the show with a feature-length movie though, it provided a conundrum for creator Neil Cross to solve. It's not like they could just start it by having had Luther serving his time and back working as a DCI.

Luther is ridiculous, but it's not that ridiculous.

So what to do in order to organically continue Luther's story without totally ruining the show's ending? It turns out that Cross might have had one eye on James Bond and Spectre when it came to working out a reason for continuing.

Minor spoilers ahead for Luther: The Fallen Sun if you haven't seen the movie yet.

idris elba, luther the fallen sun

If your memory needs jogging, let's have a quick recap of how Luther ended for everybody's favourite gruff detective who can really work a trench coat.

Luther manages to stop husband and wife serial killer duo Jeremy and Vivian Lake, but it doesn't come without some severe costs. Along the way, total innocents Benny and DS Halliday were killed (one by an assassin and one by Alice Morgan) and Luther was partly responsible for both deaths.

His long-suffering both DSU Martin Schenk had given Luther plenty of leeway over the years, but this was the final straw (or straws). This was especially the case since Halliday's body was found near where Jeremy Lake was tied up, which Schenk knew was Luther's doing so it directly linked him to the crime scene.

By the time Schenk caught up with Luther, he had a final showdown with Alice which led to her (potentially) falling to her death. While Schenk wouldn't publicly disgrace Luther, he knew he had no choice but to arrest him as he had bent the law one too many times – if not more.

We thought that was exactly why Luther had ended up in prison, but it turns out that it was down to a totally different case entirely. In a retcon very similar to Blofeld being the "author" of all of James Bond's pain in Spectre, it's revealed that Luther's prison sentence is all thanks to David Robey (Andy Serkis).

andy serkis, luther the fallen sun

At the start of Luther: The Fallen Sun, Luther is investigating the kidnapping of teenager Callum Aldrich, which was apparently happening around the same time as Luther was tracking down the murderous Lakes.

Luther doesn't know it was Robey who had kidnapped the teen, but Robey knows that Luther is on the case.

Unfortunately for tech expert Robey, Luther lives a "very analog" life and doesn't have an online presence. Fortunately for Robey though, he has a long list of blackmail victims and he asks one of them to give him everything on Luther.

"Every furtive little secret, every intimate disgrace. I want his corruption. I want evidence of any misstep. Any wrongdoing. Any line he's crossed. I want his shame," he tells this unknown victim. (Given we see later in the movie that Robey is blackmailing DS Archie Woodward, it could well have been him.)

idris elba, luther the fallen sun

Robey clearly got what he wanted as it's then revealed in a news report that an "apparently incriminating dossier" was leaked to the media about Luther's misdeeds.

"He now stands charged of a shocking catalog of crimes including breaking and entering, suspect intimidation, tampering with evidence, bribery. A litany of alleged vigilante activity that critics say attest to a man who felt entitled to take justice into his own hands," the reporter explains.

We're sure that being involved with the death of a fellow detective was probably among the (long) list of Luther's crimes. However, it's still a retcon of the series finale that, while it doesn't make it totally pointless, does lessen Schenk's heartbreaking decision to arrest his friend.

Clearly, he should have just let Luther run and then Robey would have leaked the dossier anyway, which is what really led to Luther's incarceration.

Luther: The Fallen Sun is available to watch now on Netflix.

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