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Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

With Robert Downey Jr. making his final appearance as Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame earlier this year, the actor’s schedule is finally clear to reprise another beloved fictional icon: Sherlock Holmes. However, word’s come in that for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes 3, rather than Guy Ritchie returning to direct, it will be Rocketman’s Dexter Fletcher helming the threequel.

In the eight years since Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows came out, Guy Ritchie’s been keeping busy with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Aladdin. While some might have logically thought he’d sit back in the director’s chair for Sherlock Holmes 3, evidently that’s not the case, although Variety doesn’t mention why specifically Ritchie isn’t returning. Maybe Disney has already courted him to direct an Aladdin sequel or two?

Instead, Dexter Fletcher has reportedly signed on to oversee the next adventure starring Robert Downey Jr’s incarnation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s popular detective. Fletcher’s directorial career has taken off in the last several years, as along with helming this past May’s Rocketman and Eddie the Eagle in 2016, he also directed Bohemian Rhapsody in Bryan Singer’s place during the final two weeks of filming, for which he received an executive producer credit.

Needless to say that Sherlock Holmes 3 would be another big step forward for his behind-the-camera resume. Along with the first two Sherlock Holmes movies in this series earning a decent amount of positive reviews, they’ve also performed solidly on the commercial scale, taking in $524 million and $545.4 million worldwide, respectively. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of unique sensibilities Dexter Fletcher can infuse into Sherlock Holmes 3 while still honoring the tone/feel that Guy Ritchie delivered in the predecessors.

Along with Robert Downey Jr. obviously being back, Jude Law is also expected to reprise Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes 3 , but no other cast members have been announced yet. Chris Brancato wrote the script, and Susan Downey, Joel Silver, Dan Lin and Lionel Wigram are producing.

When we last left off with Sherlock Homes in A Game of Shadows, he was believed to have died falling off Reichenbach Falls to defeat his arch-nemesis, Professor James Moriarty. However, like his literary counterpart, he survived his fall and subtly clued John Watson in on this. By the time Sherlock Holmes 3 comes out, it will have been a full decade since A Game of Shadows was released, so presumably a similar amount of time will have passed in this fictional world. Beyond that, it’s unclear what the story will be about.

After initially being scheduled for Christmas Day of next year, Sherlock Holmes 3 will now hit theaters on December 21, 2021, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. In the meantime, look through our 2019 release schedule to find out what movies are coming out a little sooner.

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