His role isn’t much more than a cameo. In fact, Idris Elba appears on screen in Netflix’s Extraction 2 for about five total minutes (the result of just two days of shooting), bookending the film as little more than an exposition device.
Elba’s character, however, signals an exciting future for the franchise, which is already looking toward a third main film and potential spinoffs. Elba’s mysterious man in the suit could, therefore, help anchor either move, a narrative strategy drawing from the Marvel, Star Wars, and John Wick playbooks, which will often first introduce characters in one franchise before sending them off to independent content pastures.
“It was a little bit of all of the above, meaning we knew that Joe had always wanted to expand the Extraction universe, and to populate it with super talented actors who could carry their own movies in this universe and start their own franchises. It just so happened that Chris Hemsworth knew a very talented actor in Idris Elba, and when he reached out and when Idris said, “Yes,” we were all just like, “Oh my gosh, we got to see where this goes.” Then, it just worked so well, the two of them sparkle on screen, there’s a chemistry that you can feel, it’s palpable, and it’s such a great thing to watch. Shooting with those two was such a pleasure every time we got them together. It was only a couple of days, because Idris was in and out, but that time was really fun, those two get along really great and have a special chemistry on screen.”
Elba’s character himself remains a black slate. He represents some government agency or high table or off-the-books cloak and dagger hijinks that’s yet to be explored.
Should Extraction 2 meet whatever viewership threshold Netflix requires for justifying future investment, we’re likely to see much more of him on screen.
Joshua St Clair is an Assistant Editor at Men’s Health Magazine.