Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law

Believe it or not, but it’s been close to a decade since the release of SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS, and the third installment of the franchise has stalled again and again during that time. As it stands now, the film is set to be directed by Dexter Fletcher (ROCKETMAN) and is currently slated for a December 22, 2021 release, but I’m not about to hold my breath.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe now behind him, Robert Downey Jr. has obviously learned a little something after working with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige all that time. During a keynote panel at Fast Company‘s Innovation Festival, Robert Downey Jr. and producer Susan Downey spoke of their plans to expand the SHERLOCK HOLMES franchise into its own cinematic universe. “At this point, we really feel that there is not a mystery-verse built out anywhere, and Conan Doyle is the definitive voice in that arena, I think, to this day,” Downey Jr. said. “So to me, why do a third movie if you’re not going to be able to spin off into some real gems of diversity and other times and elements?” Susan Downey added, “We think there’s an opportunity to build it out more. Spin-off characters from a third movie, to see what’s going on in the television landscape, to see what Warner Media is starting to build out, things with HBO and HBO Max.” The Downey’s compared their decade at Marvel Studios to something of a “master class,” and as Robert Downey Jr. was there from the very beginning, he’s got a unique perspective into what went on behind the scenes to create one of the biggest cinematic universes of all-time.

What I saw was very humble beginnings, very uncertain outcomes, a lot of creative risk-taking, but there was also an algorithm to the potential. It’s also having the right people. Different sensibilities will get you to different places downfield.

Beyond the third installment of the SHERLOCK HOLMES franchise, we don’t know of any further SHERLOCK projects in development, but if Robert Downey Jr. is right, the next film could offer us a peek into how the franchise plans to expand beyond the exploits of Holmes (Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law).

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