The World's Greatest Detective has been involved in a copyright battle between the estate of Sherlock Homes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Netflix since before the latter company released Enola Holmes, a film that included Millie Bobby Brown as the previously unknown younger sister of the great detective. Now, several months after the film's release, and general success, the legal battle is over, which may clear the way for a sequel film, which could see the cast, including Henry Cavill as Sherlock, return.
According to THR, the lawsuit brought be the Conan Doyle Estate against Netflix has been settled and the lawsuit in New Mexico Federal Court has been officially dismissed. The terms of the settlement were not revealed, though one assumes that each side got something that they wanted without giving up much more than they felt was necessary.
One can guess that part of Netflix's expectation was not having to deal with legal challenges again, which may mean that a sequel to Enola Holmes, something that seems quite possible considering the popularity of the first film, is now a much bigger possibility. It's understandable Netflix might have been unwilling to greenlight such a thing while the legal battle was still ongoing.
The estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had claimed that the character of Sherlock Holmes that was being portrayed in Enola Holmes by Henry Cavill was still under copyright. While the vast majority of the original Sherlock Holmes stories have since seen their copyright end, the final batch of stories, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes are still under copyright, and the estate argued that elements of Holmes' character seen in the movie, such as him being a warmer and kinder person, were specific to these later stories.
In early November, Netflix responded to this claim, claiming that copyright law simply did not extend to these concepts. That was the last official filling in the suit until the dismissal.
Now that the case is over, we'll have to see if that means that a sequel to the film could now begin to take shape at Netflix. Director Harry Bradbeer had already confirmed that the possibility of sequels had been discussed. The book series that the Enola Holmes character is based on has multiple entries, so clearly Netflix is at least somewhat interested. It makes sense the streaming giant would have held off until the legal issues were completed. If the Estate of Conan Doyle had won even a partial victory in court, it likely would have prevented Netflix from making such a movie, or at the very least made it considerably more expensive to do so.
Enola Holmes was embraced by fans and critics and Henry Cavill's Sherlock (and his hair) was one of the major reasons for that. With the legal battle over, perhaps we'll now see a sequel begin to take shape.
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