We haven’t seen Robert Downey Jr. take on the role of the infamous Sherlock Holmes since December 2011. As we’ve officially hit one decade since the premiere of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, it’s high time to speculate about the state of the production of Sherlock Holmes 3.
While we’re still awaiting confirmation on a variety of details from Warner Bros., here’s everything we know so far about the highly anticipated Sherlock Holmes 3.
The Legacy of Sherlock Holmes Series
The character of Sherlock Holmes came to life at the stroke of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s pen in the late 1800s. He first appeared in A Study in Scarlet, and the public was almost immediately enraptured by this genius detective that could make deductions in a fraction of a second. Holmes consumed Doyle’s writing career, to the point where he had a love-hate relationship with the character, as Holmes’s fame outgrew the author’s.
As the most famous fictional detective of all time, he’s a literary staple. And he’s influenced countless writers that dipped their toes into the mystery and detective genres.
According to the Guinness World Records archives, Holmes is the most portrayed literary human character of all time. By 1990, he was featured in over 25,000 different fictional narratives. These narratives ranged from stage adaptations, TV shows, films, and other publications. Since the 90s, he’s even been featured in video games. He’s so widely known that some people mistake him for a real person, not a work of fiction.
What Makes This Franchise Different?
So what makes the franchise directed by Guy Ritchie any different from the tens of thousands of other adaptations?
For one, the director’s got a knock-out cast to bring the characters to life. Robert Downey Jr’s Holmes is much more tongue-in-cheek than Benedict Cumberbatch’s in the TV series Sherlock, which began airing in 2010. This was the year between the release of the first and second movie.
Robert Downey Jr. gives the character more of a swagger, rather than Cumberbatch’s laser focus on facts, choosing to solve the puzzle rather than waste time on social graces. Their hubris comes from different types of confidence. And the combination of the writers’ adaptation and the actors’ interpretation creates a very different experience of the character for the viewer.
Sherlock Holmes 3 Cast
Now that he’s no longer saving the world as Iron Man, RDJ’s schedule has opened up for him to take on other projects. Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law will return as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson to reprise their roles from the original two films.
As far as the rest of the cast goes, not much has been confirmed. Beloved characters from the previous films, including Kelly Reilly as Watson’s wife Mary, Stephen Fry as Holmes’s brother Mycroft, and Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade are not publicly announced as being a part of the threequel. We’d be surprised if some, or all, of them, did not have at least a cameo. But nothing is yet confirmed.
Jared Harris’s return as Professor James Moriarty is even less certain. He appeared to have met his fateful end in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, but there’s no telling if his character won’t make a dramatic return. Holmes managed to survive their battle, so it stands to reason that Moriarity could have as well.
In 2018, Harris told Digital Spy that he saw a script for Sherlock Holmes 3 that did not include his character. However, there’s no telling if a rewrite hasn’t occurred since then.
Sherlock Holmes 3 Release Date
Warner Bros. originally set the release date for Sherlock Holmes 3 to December 25, 2020. But two Christmases have come and gone without Jude Law and RDJ under our tree. So it’s clear the premiere has been postponed.
As with practically everything these days, you can blame COVID for the delay.
Director Dexter Fletcher, the man taking over for Guy Ritchie, explained the complications. “How do you get large groups of people together to create something and then shift them all around the world?” Fletcher asks.
“And what do you do with actors that are in a love scene? It’s complicated.” Fletcher continues.
Fletcher admitted that the project was on “the back burner,” as of October 2020. And with everything going on in the world, it’s no wonder why.
The only hint we have so far is that we’re likely looking at a December release date. Sherlock Holmes 1 & 2 were released to box office success during the month of December, so it would make sense that Sherlock Holmes 3 would follow that release pattern.
Beyond the box office statistics, December is an important month in Sherlock Holmes history. The first story featuring the character of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, was released in the 1887 edition of Beeton’s Christmas Annual.
However, this release date is entirely speculation as we await more details from Warner Bros., the new director, and cast members on the progress of the third installment of the Sherlock Holmes series.
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