It’s been less than a meteoric rise to the top for Idris Elba, rather a slow slog, with plenty of hard work and adapting in between. He’s been a top-level drug lord in HBO’s The Wire, Captain Janek in Prometheus and Stacker Pentecost in Guillermo del Toro’s action epic, Pacific Rim.

Idris Elba LutherElba ponders things on Luther

British audiences know him for his turn as Luther in the crime drama of the same name, while U.S folks will recognize him as Stringer Bell. Soon, though, the world will know him as Nelson Mandela in Mandela, a film for which he’s already being touted as Oscar material for.

Idris ElbaLuther is set to come to an explosive end

The immediate future, though, sees third series of Luther come to an end. Maverick cop John Luther has another complex plot to unravel, and audiences are left with mixed feelings as they face a world without the gritty crime drama. Their fears should be allayed by Elba’s confidence that a film is going to be made, and it’s set to tell Luther’s personal story – how he became to be how he is.

Idris ElbaIdris Elba in Pacific Rim

It’s more than likely that Elba’s turn as Mandela will propel him into the pantheon of superstar actors currently existing in Hollywood. Make no mistake; he’s hot property as he is, but this is just the beginning for the 40-year-old whose career has already spanned two decades. He’s currently favourite for the Best Actor nod when the Academy Awards are bandied about in February 2014, and judging by the trailer, that sounds about right.

Idris ElbaNaomie Harris
Elba and Naomie Harris star in Mandela

His growing reputation has shot him to the top of the ‘next Bond’ rumours list. Daniel Craig is nailed on for the next two films, with Sam Mendes confirmed for #24 – no surprise considering the success of Skyfall – but Elba is being touted as the man to take over the tux and become the first black 007.

Idris ElbaThe future is bright for Elba, despite all that mess

With a place already cemented in Box Set history for his role in The Wire, a leading part in a popular BBC drama, some sci fi action to put on his CV, not to mention playing one of the world’s most celebrated men in Mandela and a possible turn as Britain’s favourite super spy, the future is almost blindingly light for Hackney’s prodigal son.

Idris Elba Ruth Wilson LutherIdris Elba and Ruth Wilson on set for Luther