In two Sherlock Holmes films, Robert Downey Jr. turned the classic Arthur Conan Doyle detective into a particularly brutish intellectual; a man who can pivot from deductive reasonings to bare-knuckle boxing; less Benedict Cumberbatch, more Doctor Strange. And now Downey, having run the slow-motion calculations on his Marvel Cinematic Universe films, is ready for more. A lot more. In fact, per Fast Company, the actor-producer wants to turn Sherlock Holmes into a cinematic universe of its own.
“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?” said Downey, speaking to a panel about the possibility (and irrelevance) of simply making a third Sherlock Holmes film. “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.” First of all: This Benoit Blanc and Hercule Poirot erasure will not stand. Second of all: I love mysteries, and while I am a little cinematic universed-out at the moment, I will pretty much take any new entry in that space that I can.
Susan Downey, Robert’s producing partner and wife, made me feel a little more excited about this potential project, rather than just obligated because of my genre predilection: “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 Downeys recently struck gold with HBO’s Perry Mason, an appealingly contemporary take on a time-tested legal mystery genre, and if they want to approach Sherlock Holmes with a similar brush, I am def intrigued!
What inspired the Downeys to go down this path? Why, Kevin Feige, of course. Said Susan about her husband’s former boss: “I do think that the decade of tutelage and observation, what we were both able to have with Marvel, watching them build out and see all the opportunities, was invaluable. It was like a master class.” However, this doesn’t mean the Downeys are interested in simply repeating the MCU formula. As Robert said, “We’re not repeaters, we don’t want to just do what’s been done somewhere else. But I think the model itself has become much more dimensionalized than it was before… It’s also having the right people. Different sensibilities will get you to different places downfield.”
Currently, no future Sherlock Holmes projects have been greenlit, but we’ll keep you update if and when the Downeys’ plans come to fruition. For more in the world of Holmes, here’s our review of Enola Holmes.