Fans who have been eagerly awaiting the third instalment of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes series have a bit longer to wait, with Robert Downey Jr expected to be reprising his role in a release that arrives at the end of 2020. Jude Law is also back on board as the long-suffering Dr. Watson, although Ritchie’s inclusion as director this time around is uncertain.
A long time has elapsed since A Game of Shadows, the 2011 movie that pitted Holmes against his infamous nemesis, Moriarty. Similarly, the plot of the third film is set to carry on some time after its predecessor. Jared Harris is not expected to return as Moriarty; while the actor has stated his openness to do battle with the legendary detective once again, Harris also declared in August 2018 that he did not expect to feature.
Ritchie’s likely absence from the project is perhaps more surprising, with the first two movies characterized by his trademark directing style. Ritchie’s films since A Game of Shadows have failed to provoke the same level of critical acclaim; The Man from U.N.C.L.E and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword were adequate action romps, but lacked the chemistry that Downey Jr and Law brought to Ritchie’s direction.
The portrayals of Holmes in other media since 2011 has since created an audience accustomed to other actors in the famous role, although Downey Jr. has sufficient charisma and experience to overcome such a hurdle. However, the bar has been set high with Benedict Cumberbatch’s idiosyncratic interpretation of a modern-day Holmes in the much-loved BBC drama Sherlock.
Sherlock first hit television screens between the release of the two Ritchie movies, but has since established a passionate worldwide following. For many, Cumberbatch is now the definitive Sherlock Holmes, while the television format allows greater character development and cliff-hangers that provoke prolonged debate.
Source: Sherlock via Facebook.
In the United States, Elementary has enjoyed consistent success since its premiere in 2012. Featuring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr Joan Watson, the series was renewed for a seventh season earlier this year and has forged its own identity under the shadow of BBC’s Sherlock.
Frogwares have enjoyed similar longevity, with the game developer releasing eight instalments in a video-game series based on Holmes’ cases. The series has been praised for cultivating a mysterious investigative atmosphere that allows players to feel like Holmes when making deductions. Similarly, Holmes and the Stolen Stones brings the suspenseful environment of William Hill’s table games to their jackpot slots, utilizing a traditional depiction of the detective that is far more reminiscent of Downey Jr’s Holmes than Cumberbatch’s.
This prominence in the world of film, television and gaming (not to forget Arthur Conan Doyle’s books that created the character) is testament to the legendary appeal of Sherlock Holmes. That appeal will drive the release of a third Sherlock Holmes film almost a decade after the second, such is the allure of the character. Downey Jr. and Law may have aged ten years, but a character as timeless as this detective will always find a home on the big screen.