It feels like we’re all sleeping on Supacell a bit. This new Netflix superhero series was first announced back in November 2021, has a super-strong cast, and has been filming since summer 2022, but there’s very little news about it. It doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page yet.
Let’s put that right and get better acquainted with this fresh upcoming British superhero drama that could rival the likes of Misfits and Extraordinary:
Supacell Was Created By Pioneering Rapper-Turned-Filmmaker Rapman
Impressively, Rapman – real name Andrew Onwubolu – is only 33 but already has an MBE for services to drama and music. He’s known for dealing with socially conscious themes like suicide, blood donors, and domestic abuse.
You’ll most likely know Rapman for Blue Story, his critically-acclaimed 2019 film, told through the medium of rap, which starred Karla Simone-Spence (The Confessions of Frannie Langton) and Top Boy’s Michael Ward, who won his BAFTA Rising Star Award for his role in the film. Blue Story also won an NME Award for Best Film (and a Best Actor Award for Ward).
Supacell is his first TV project, and in an Instagram post, Rapman confirmed he’s the “first black person to create, write and direct his own show on Netflix UK”.
Like Hit Shows Misfits and Extraordinary, It Deals With Ordinary People, Not Superheroes
The official synopsis describes Supacell as a series “about a group of five ordinary people who unexpectedly develop superpowers. They have little in common except for one thing: they are all Black South Londoners. It is down to one man, Michael Lasaki, to bring them all together in order to save the woman he loves.”
This has similar vibes to excellent British superhero shows like E4’s Misfits, about a group of young offenders who accidentally acquire super powers while completing community service, and recent Disney+ release Extraordinary, which flips the superhero theme on its head by centring on the one ‘ordinary’ person in a world where everyone else develops superpowers when they turn 18.
As BamSmackPow’s Andre Farquharson points out, it seems like what will set Supacell apart from these other shows is”‘displaying the Black experience for international audiences to witness”.
This Six-Part Black British Superhero Drama Bucks The Marvel/DC Trends
Speaking to Deadline, Rapman confirmed that the characters in Supacell will not conform to some of the more common superhero tropes, explaining:
“If I got powers, my first thing wouldn’t be to go and buy a spandex outfit. I was thinking ‘What can I use my powers for to put my family in a better position?’ As much as I love Marvel and DC you know it’s going to work out in the end but in our story you just don’t know what’s going to happen because it’s a grounded superpowers show. They are hero characters but they’re all very flawed.”
He described his characters as “ordinary people who wear their everyday clothes and grow over time,” adding: “Put it this way: we’ve got all the powers you can get in Marvel and they come to South London.”
The Cast Is Led By Doctor Who Star Tosin Cole
Tosin Cole – best known for playing companion Ryan Sinclair in Doctor Who – stars as Michael Lasaki, a “van driver, an everyday working man” who is deeply in love with Dionne, played by The Responder’s breakout star Adelayo Adedayo.
Other lead cast members include Nadine Mills (Sliced) as Sabrina, Eric Kofi Abrefa (Blue Story) as Andre, The Rig’s Calvin Demba as Rodney and Josh Tedeku (A Town Called Malice) as Tazer.
Filming Began in August 2022
Supacell started shooting in South London back in summer last year, before moving on to other locations including Edinburgh in October and Harrow in early 2023. Onlookers posted a video of some filming taking place in central London in January.
The Show Will Also Support Black Creatives Trying To Break Into The TV Industry
When developing the show, Rapman, Netflix and New Wave Productions founded the Supacell Six Scheme, an initiative which will give six Black creatives the opportunity to grow in their chosen field through shadowing crew, access to experts in their field and additional upskilling courses.
We’re expecting Supacell to be released later in 2023, so watch this space.