“Sherlock Holmes 3: Every Update You Need To Know”
Last Updated: January 24, 2020
Sherlock Holmes 3 is the follow up to 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and the continuation of the journey of Robert Downey Jr.’s version of the titular character alongside Jude Law’s Dr. John Watson.
The first two films in the period mystery thriller saga, which were both directed by Guy Ritchie, have a combined $1 billion haul at the global box office against a total production budget of just $215 million, proving that the Sherlock Holmes franchise is a profitable one for Warner Bros.
The third film may have been stuck in development hell for a few years now, with a slew of writers reportedly working on the movie’s story, but the project is finally moving forward and even has a release date. Here’s what we know so far about Sherlock Holmes 3.
Robert Downey Jr. will reprise the role of Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes 3. Fresh from the success of the first Iron Man that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, the actor boarded another franchise-in-the-making by signing up to play the titular character in Guy Ritchie’s live-action movie adaptation based on the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He reprised the role in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows two years after, and is now headed back to the 1800s for his third adventure as the popular fictional private detective.
Like Downey Jr., Jude Law will also be back to reprise his role as Dr. John Watson. The last time fans saw the character, he was gearing up for his long-awaited honeymoon with Mary (Kelly Reilly) after Holmes’ supposed death by the end of A Game of Shadows. Law has also talked about what fans can expect in the threequel, saying that they “hope to propel the story forward” and “the essence of the story is their codependency.” According to him, it also appears like a significant time jump will take place before the movie picks up, and another report has since suggested that the film might be set in San Francisco during the Old West.
Sherlock Holmes 3 is currently locked in for a December 22, 2021 release date. This sticks with the Sherlock Holmes franchise’s usual December release pattern, with the previous two movies hitting theaters in December (2009 and 2011, respectively). However, this 2021 date represents a delay of an entire year from the threequel’s originally announced December 2020 release. Sherlock Holmes 3 will face some stiff box office competition too, including DC’s Black Adam, an adaptation of the popular musical Wicked, and Hotel Transylvania 4.
After successfully foiling Professor Moriarty’s (Jared Harris) plans to instigate a war in Europe in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Holmes seemingly sacrificed himself to take out Moriarty and protect Watson and his new wife, Mary, from another of Moriarty’s schemes. Sherlock and Moriarty fell off a balcony and into the Reichenbach falls below, and were immediately presumed dead, with Watson spearheading an emotional funeral and tribute to his fallen friend. However, just when Watson was gearing up to leave for his overdue honeymoon, he received a package containing Mycroft’s breathing device. Suspicious that Holmes may have survived the fall, he went after the delivery man to find out more. It’s only then that it was revealed that Holmes has concealed himself in one of the lounge chairs at Watson’s office using one of his quirky suits. Peaking at Watson’s memoir, he added a question mark following the words “The End,” effectively setting up Sherlock Holmes 3.
For a time it was believed that Guy Ritchie was likely to return to the director’s chair for Sherlock Holmes 3, after helming the first two films, but that’s not the case. In July 2019, it was confirmed that Rocketman filmmaker Dexter Fletcher had been recruited to direct Sherlock Holmes 3. No official reason was given as to why Ritchie won’t be coming back, but Fletcher is a great choice with some recent hits on his resume.
Netflix’s Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato was tapped by Warner Bros. to write the script for Sherlock Holmes 3. More notable for his writing on small screen projects like Law & Order: SVU, The X-Files and Beverly Hills 90210, Brancato also provided the story for the 1997 crime period film, Hoodlum. Back in 2016 and prior to Bracanto’s involvement, the studio assembled a team of writers to create the story and script for Sherlock Holmes 3, but apparently whatever they came up with wasn’t deemed adequate.
Outside of the respective returns of Downey and Law to their leading roles, the only other announced cast member for Sherlock Holmes 3 so far is Paul Anderson, best known for his role on Netflix’s Peaky Blinders. Anderson is reprising his role of Colonel Sebastian Moran from A Game of Shadows, a close confidant to Sherlock’s mortal enemy Moriarty. It remains to be seen how Moran will figure into the story, as details on anything to do with the film’s plot remain scarce.
With the movie almost two years from hitting theaters, and with no official production start date announced, marketing for Sherlock Holmes 3 is still quite a ways away. Depending on when filming is scheduled to begin and expected to wrap up, the promotion may start toward the end of principal photography. Similar to the standard Hollywood marketing schedule, there’s a good chance that the first trailer will be released a year at most out from its release, meaning fans shouldn’t expect to see anything on the trailer front until at least late 2020.
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