His character made rare but scene-stealing appearances throughout Peaky Blinders, but creator Steven Knight has said that the drama has not ‘struggled’ to move the series on without Venom and Taboo star Hardy.
“I personally believe – and I think everybody involved believes – that this is the best series yet, for all sorts of reasons,” Knight told RadioTimes.com. “There’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of bells ringing, there’s a lot of conflict happening.
“It’s like when [series one and two star] Sam Neill was no longer in it. That felt like a loss, but you move on. You have to.”
Peaky Blinders to “confront” fascism in series five
Knight explained that rather than dwelling in the past, the new series will see the newly-elected Thomas Shelby MP look to exploit his political power.
“Tommy Shelby is always on the way up – and sort of on the way down as well,” Knight said. “Obviously he has political power now, and in series five he confronts fascism. Well, not ‘confront’ exactly, but that is what is happening at the time. The 1930s were all about the rise of fascism; how does Tommy Shelby respond?”
First look at Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders series five
He continued, “Tommy’s main enemy is himself in series five. As ever, he is in control of the exterior – but not in control of the interior.”
He has also recently written and directed thriller film Serenity starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.
McConaughey plays obsessive fishing captain Baker Dill in the film, working on the apparently idyllic seas off Plymouth Island.
While the setting may be very different to the grim skies of Birmingham, Knight said there are similarities between his new creation and Peaky Blinders.
“If you think about it, there are a lot of parallels with Tommy: the war-damaged hero, the closed-down man,” he said. “I suppose in the end, if you’re sourcing this from yourself, you’ll get the same basic elements.”
Speaking at the end of January, Knight also added that he was not concerned by some of the film’s initial negative reviews, arguing that it was “a deliberate attempt to disrupt what is expected”.
“I expected the howls of outrage which it’s got, but what’s been great is in the last couple of days, maybe because of social media, the reviews are starting to get good! It’s a bit alarming. It’s a bit like when Peaky started: people at first were taking the piss, wondering what it was, and now the same people are saying they were there from day one.”
Serenity is released in cinemas and on Sky Cinema from 1st March 2019