Netflix is ramping up its presence in the United Kingdom. And it’s no wonder, given the success the streaming service has generated from the UK hit shows like The Crown, Bridgerton, and The Witcher. Now boasting three studios across the country and new investment in British talent through member training schemes, Netflix recently announced five new scripted series that were not only commissioned from the UK but will also be filmed in the country in 2022, including a new superhero series with an all-Black cast, titled Supacell.
Supacell comes from the mind of British native Rapman. Born Andrew Onwubolu, the 32-year-old rapper rose to fame following his musical drama series depicting gang violence on Youtube, Shiro’s Story. Rapman’s amassed success from the Youtube story earned him an offer from both Quibi and Roc Nation, along with a personal meeting with business mogul Jay-Z himself. Joining forces with the BBC, Rapman eventually turned his initial creation in Shiro’s Story into the feature film Blue Story, which made the short-list by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for the category of outstanding debut by a British writer.
Rapman’s upcoming Netflix endeavor for Supacell is set to be a six-part sci-fi series that follows a group of ordinary people from South London that unexpectedly develop superpowers with no clear connection between them other than them all being Black. As they deal with the impact on their daily lives, one man will have to bring them together to protect the one he loves while avoiding the powerful agents that have taken notice of their special abilities. Rapman will also direct and executive produce the series alongside Mouktrar Mohammed and associate producer Henrietta Lee.
While very few details on Supacell are known, a look back at Netflix’s history of all-Black film can give some insight into the proposed success of the companies latest endeavor. Netflix just recently released the nearly all-Black cast western film, The Harder They Fall which garnished successful critical reviews and viewership ratings. Likewise, Netflix’s successful revival of Top Boy, the British crime drama featuring an all-Black cast in 2019 earned the show a renewal for another upcoming season.
The cinema industry is notorious for casting predominantly White actors for superhero roles, but the immense success received from the (mainly) all Black casting of Black Panther, one of Marvel’s most successful films to date, previews of the largely untapped superhero genre that could prove worthwhile for Netflix with Supacell.
It’s also interesting to note the cult success of one of Star Wars leads, John Boyega’s earlier UK films, Attack the Block, which drew on gang elements as a young John had to save the world from an alien invasion in the blended sci-fi, horror, and comedy film. We can’t help but hope that some elements from this popular film will emanate into Supacell. Other than the upcoming Black superhero project, Netflix also announced plans for four other projects in the UK for 2022 including an adaptation of the popular romance novel One Day, a thriller series titled Eric, The F*** It Bucket, and Kaos. All five endeavors will be filmed in Britain over the course of 2022.