Sherlock Holmes 3 has been stuck in development hell for years, but it looks like the film is slowly becoming a reality. Variety reports that Rocketman helmer Dexter Fletcher has come on board to direct the upcoming sequel. Robert Downey Jr. is on board to star as Holmes and Jude Law is expected to return as Watson.
Per Variety, “Warner Bros. had always planned on making a third film. However, Downey’s busy schedule as Iron Man prevented any new filming for the series,” which I don’t really buy. Downey has been Iron Man since 2008. They still managed to crank out Sherlock Holmes in 2009 and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in 2011. The issue is that worldwide, A Game of Shadows only made $21 million more than the first movie, so it’s not like audiences were clamoring for more Holmes movies. They were a nice little Christmas-time blockbuster, but certainly far from essential. If the Sherlock Holmes movies were bigger hits, they’d be a bigger priority and not languishing in development hell as people try to figure out how to adapt Sherlock Holmes, something that’s been happening for over a century.
I like the hire of Fletcher, and I think he’ll bring some new life to the series. While Guy Ritchie’s approach in the first two movies was unmistakable, I think Fletcher will be able to capture the hyperkinetic style while still making it feel fresh. Rocketman is one of my favorite movies of the year so far, and it shows that Fletcher has a real knack for when to go big and when to hold back and focus more on character.
Chris Brancato is currently working on the script for the film with Susan Downey, Joel Silver, Dan Lin, and Lionel Wigram producing. The movie is set to open on December 21, 2021, which will be slightly over ten years since Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows hit theaters. It’s a good thing that Sherlock Holmes is timeless.