Is Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes 3 Still Happening? The Director Offers Honest Update

Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Sherlock and Watson in Sherlock Holmes
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Without Iron Man in the MCU anymore, there’s a hole in many of our hearts from the time when we could depend on seeing the charismatic Robert Downey Jr. on screen every couple of years in the franchise. Since Avengers: Endgame, the actor has been taking a break from blockbusters, other than 2020’s Dolittle. However, for years there have been whispers that he could return to the Sherlock Holmes movies with a third installment. Could it still happen? We have the latest. 

Back in 2019, it was announced that Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher would be helming Sherlock Holmes 3, with a December 2021 release date in mind at the time. That never happened, but Fletcher did recently share what’s going on with the project. In his words: 

The pandemic derailed it. I do think it will get made. I think it has to be made. I don’t know what the timeline of that is, unfortunately, but I believe it should be. It’s fantastic. I think it’s about all the right people being at the right place, at the right time. I think it’s that. It’s one of those cruel twists of fate, where the pandemic hit and that scattered people around the world to the wind. But I know that the appetite is huge for it, and I’m sure there are other people acutely aware of that as well. But I believe it should be because it’s brilliant. I very much hope so.

While speaking to Collider, the filmmaker who has long been attached to the Sherlock Holmes threequel shared optimism over the movie getting made. He shared that Sherlock Holmes 3 was “derailed” by the pandemic and it has since “scattered people.” Back in late 2020, Fletcher did share that the project had been placed on the “back burner” until it was clear “where the world is,” but perhaps now that the world is returning to many elements of its pre-pandemic self, the project will finally come to fruition.

Robert Downey Jr. recently filmed Oppenheimer with Christopher Nolan, whereas his Watson, Jude Law, is reportedly playing Henry VIII in the movie Firebrand. Maybe once the pair become more available, they can reprise their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as planned. 

The actors portrayed the classic detective pair in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes and 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which collectively made over $1 billion at the box office. Both movies were directed by Guy Ritchie and the filmmaker was originally going to return to his franchise, but stepped down in 2019 for Fletcher to pick up where the franchise left off. 

Jude Law previously teased that the movie would “play up the fact that they haven't seen each other for a long time either” when speaking about Holmes and Watson. It sounds like Sherlock Holmes 3 already had a script too before COVID-19 changed plans, with Narcos creator Chris Brancato behind the screenplay. 

At the same time, earlier this year, it was reported that Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey are executive producing two Sherlock Holmes spinoffs for HBO Max from characters set to be introduced in Sherlock Holmes 3. While the sequel has yet to be officially greenlit (again) by Warner Bros., we can deduce that chances are hopeful for Downey's return as Sherlock to someday be among the upcoming movies.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.