(L to R) Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in 2011’s ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.’
Sherlock Holmes is a character that has been brought to the screen so many times at this point, it’s a wonder that TV and movie creators can find a fresh take on the idea. Robert Downey Jr. famously played the genius detective in two movies and if he has his way, there will be some Holmes extensions in the works at HBO Max.
This all stems from an interview that the actor/producer gave back in 2020 to Fast Company, where he explained he was looking to oversee some new developments in the Holmes world. “At this point, we really feel that there is not a mystery-verse built out anywhere, and Conan Doyle is the definitive voice in that arena, I think, to this day,” the star said about future installments of ‘Sherlock Holmes’. “So, to me, why do a third movie if you’re not going to be able to spin off into some real gems of diversity and other times and elements?”
Influenced, of course, by his decade spent working with the Marvel team, he’s now looking to apply that ethos to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation. While the pandemic appears to have gotten in the way of plans for the shows, Deadline reports that HBO Max now has two potential spin-offs in early development.
They would extend the world created in Guy Ritchie’s two ‘Holmes’ movies, the 2009 original and 2011 sequel ‘A Game of Shadows’. The movies also starred Jude Law as Dr. Watson, but the shows are unlikely to feature the main duo.
Robert Downey Jr. in 2009’s ‘Sherlock Holmes.’
Instead, the blueprints call for the shows to be built upon characters that will be introduced in the third movie. There’s just one slight hitch to an otherwise solid idea: that movie has yet to be made.
Though ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Rocketman’ director Dexter Fletcher remains attached to handle the movie, it has been delayed more than once, partly by the pandemic and partly by its star’s busy schedule. Still, both Downey and his chosen director have said that they intend to get the movie in production. And this news could signal some forward movement.
It’s also not surprising to see HBO Max looking to expand another movie franchise on TV – it has seen big success with ‘Peacemaker’, which James Gunn based on the John Cena character from ‘The Suicide Squad’. And there are also shows in the works that will build on characters from ‘Dune’ (the Bene Gesserit sisterhood) and ‘The Batman’ (Colin Farrell’s Penguin character).
Any ‘Holmes’ show would, of course, have to differentiate itself from the long history of Sherlock TV – besides the BBC’s successful ‘Sherlock’ and CBS’ long-running series ‘Elementary’ – there have been all sorts of variations on the basic concept of the crafty character.
But with the backing of Downey Jr. and producing partner Susan Downey, the ‘Holmes’ shows could end up being a fun new take… Assuming they can finally get to work on the third movie. The game’s afoot!