Robert Downey Jr. Holds the Key to Sherlock Holmes 3.
The renowned director Guy Ritchie has recently shared some insights into the delay of the much-awaited Sherlock Holmes 3. He cited that the main reason behind this delay was none other than the franchise’s star, Robert Downey Jr.
The two blockbuster Sherlock Holmes films that came out in 2009 and 2011 remain some of Guy Ritchie’s most recognized work. With Downey Jr. in the lead role, the films gave Sherlock Holmes’ legendary detective story a fresh spin filled with humor and action. These movies brought in over a billion dollars combined, making a solid case for sequels.
However, despite the success and audience demand, a third Sherlock Holmes movie has remained elusive. As Ritchie shared in a recent interview with Collider, the delay is primarily due to Downey Jr.’s involvement and desire to oversee all aspects of the project.
The director explained, “Well, honestly, I left this up to Robert [Downey Jr.]. So Robert wanted to be in charge of this. The ball’s in his court, so he’s in charge of the script, he’s in charge of the whole thing. I’ve moonwalked out of that until there’s a time for me to get involved.”
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. tried to move ahead without Ritchie, assigning Dexter Fletcher (known for Bohemian Rhapsody) as the director for Sherlock 3 in 2019. The movie was set for a 2020 release, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted those plans, and the project has been on hold since. However, Ritchie hinted he might return to the franchise if Downey Jr. decides to continue with it.
The Sherlock Holmes franchise, initiated by Ritchie and led by Downey Jr., was an instant hit. The first film in 2009 was critically acclaimed, securing a Golden Globe win for Downey Jr. and two Oscar nominations. The sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, continued the success trend, grossing $543 million. Naturally, a third film was ordered, but it has been stuck in development limbo ever since.
Downey Jr.’s heavy involvement with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Iron Man had cast doubts over the future of Sherlock Holmes 3. But recent developments have sparked hope again, such as the hiring of Dexter Fletcher as the director. Plus, Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan, have reportedly collaborated with Warner Bros. to create spin-off TV shows based on Sherlock Holmes for HBO Max. This move seems to confirm Downey Jr.’s continued interest in the character.
Though Ritchie is currently not part of the franchise, he confirmed that Downey Jr. is committed to making Sherlock Holmes 3 as good as possible. Now that Downey Jr.’s commitments with MCU are over, it appears that his schedule could accommodate a new Sherlock Holmes project. However, with other projects like Shane Black’s Play Dirty and an adaptation of The Sympathizer on his plate, the Sherlock Holmes sequel may still be a few steps away.