Last September it was reported that Guy Ritchie was going to be at the helm for the upcoming comic book adaptation, Lobo. However, that appeared to be news to Ritchie, when in an interview with MTV last December he questioned being confirmed for the project. And so, for the last month, it’s been all speculation whether Ritchie would end up directing Lobo.

Today we gets news from The Los Angeles Times that Ritchie has ditched Lobo in favor of – that’s right, you guessed it – Sherlock Holmes 2. Word of his departure comes from Joel Silver, producer on both the Sherlock Holmes sequel and the Lobo adaptation. Silver says that Warner Bros. wants to parlay the success of the first Sherlock Holmes into a franchise as quickly as possible, and the sequel is now being fast-tracked for a summer 2010 shooting start.

Here’s what Silver said about Ritchie’s involvement (or lack thereof) with Lobo:

“I don’t think he’s going to do it [Lobo] now… The studio wants us and Guy to focus on making another ‘Sherlock Holmes.’ So I think we’re going to be doing that. But we’re seeing what happens with this. Everybody is analyzing everything. It’s all kind of happening right now as we talk. ‘Sherlock’ is sitting at just about $400 million in worldwide gross and showing itself to be pretty effective and pretty strong. So we’re trying to see if we can do something quickly with another ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie. We have some ideas and some good story points.”

So does that mean the project will be postponed as they wait on Ritchie to finish up with Sherlock Holmes 2? Not likely, as Silver explains:

“I would guess a different director… It’s all happening at once now. Everybody is talking about everything… It’s an ongoing conversation. Downey loves the experience of playing Sherlock and would love to play him again, and I’d love to see him play it again. Jude and all of them will be back and it will be great.”

Ritchie (apparently) departing Lobo means he’s keeping in step with Sherlock himself, Robert Downey Jr., who recently ditched the Jon Favreau directed Cowboys & Aliens, in favor of another Holmes movie (both movies are set to shoot this summer and I guess Holmes 2 won out). Even if I’d still like to see Ritchie direct Lobo (after all, he’s been directing lowlife criminals, thugs and general bad guys for almost his whole career) and would’ve liked to see Downey battle aliens as a cowboy, I can’t say I blame either of them. After all, with almost $400 million in the bank for the first Sherlock Holmes (and more on the way when it opens in additional international markets), a sequel is pretty much a guaranteed success, right?

Guy Ritchie delivered a very successful Sherlock Holmes

No matter if Ritchie is off the project for good, Lobo remains a viable property for Silver and co-producers Akiva Goldsman and Andrew Rona. Silver says they’re working on it right now and says, “it will be nice to put it together and make it happen.”

BONUS: LA Times brought up the back and forth rumor of Brad Pitt coming in to play classic Holmes foe Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes 2. Silver had this to say about it – “Well, I mean, we talked about that at one point, but you know as of right now we’re not sure what we’re going to do. We’ll see what happens.” I’d like to see it happen, and maybe with Pitt having worked with Ritchie before on Snatch it will happen.

Are you disappointed Guy Ritchie is apparently off the Lobo adaptation? Which director would you like to see pick up the reigns instead? Do you think a Sherlock Holmes sequel is a guaranteed success?

There’s currently no release date for Lobo, and Sherlock Holmes 2 is set to start shooting this summer (presumably) for  release sometime in 2011.

Source: LA Times