A Sherlock Holmes Cinematic Universe? That's what Robert Downey Jr. is hoping to kick off with his next Sherlock Holmes movie, Sherlock Holmes 3, currently slated for Christmas 2021. Playing Iron Man for a decade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Downey Jr. has had plenty of experience seeing the benefits (and reaping the rewards) of interconnected storylines running across several movies, and he now plans to apply what he has learnt to Sherlock Holmes.
“At this point, we really feel that there is not a mystery-verse built out anywhere, and [Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur] Conan Doyle is the definitive voice in that arena, I think, to this day,” Downey Jr. told Fast Company. “So to me, why do a third [Sherlock Holmes] movie if you're not going to be able to spin off into some real gems of diversity and other times and elements?”
His wife and producing partner 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 WarnerMedia is starting to build out, things with HBO and HBO Max.”
This suggests Downey Jr., along with Jude Law's Dr. John Watson, will anchor the big screen Sherlock Holmes movies, which will introduce new characters that might then get their own TV series. The Sherlock Holmes film series is produced by Village Roadshow Pictures that has a co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Pictures. Warner Bros., HBO, and streaming service HBO Max are sister companies under the WarnerMedia umbrella, in turn owned by telecom giant AT&T.
Team Downey — the production outfit owned by Susan and Robert — that will produce Sherlock Holmes 3 isn't the first to think of this multi-media strategy. Warner Bros. and HBO Max have already begun exploring this approach with many of the former's blockbuster titles.
Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi movie Dune has a spin-off called Dune: The Sisterhood set at HBO Max. And there are two more from the DC vault, in an untitled Gotham City Police Department drama set in the same universe as the Robert Pattinson-led The Batman, and John Cena-starrer Peacemaker based on the new character from James Gunn's soft reboot The Suicide Squad.
The first two Sherlock Holmes films made $1.07 billion (about Rs. 7,850 crores) at the box office, but Downey Jr.'s Holmes has been on ice since 2011. A third entry was announced in mid-2018 with a Christmas 2020 release date, but was then pushed to Christmas 2021. Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher was hired in July last year but there's been little news since.
Sherlock Holmes 3 will most likely get pushed to 2022, given Warner Bros. just set The Matrix 4 for Christmas 2021.