A trailer for Guy Ritchie’s sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, will (unsurprisingly) premiere in theaters in front of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 this upcoming Friday. So keep an eye out for it to arrive online before the week is out.

In the meantime, two posters for the Sherlock Holmes sequel have made their way online, offering fans an early look at Jared Harris as the nefarious Professor Moriarty and Noomi Rapace as the mysterious gypsy, Sim.

The Mad Men actor and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo actress are the two big additions to the Sherlock Holmes franchise, which still features Robery Downey Jr. as the film’s eponymous detective and Jude Law as his ever-loyal (if often infuriated) associate, Dr. Watson.

In the first Sherlock Holmes, we were left wondering just what the top-hatted Moriarty looked like, since he remained in shadows throughout the film (hence the title of the sequel). Now, one of the new posters for the followup reveals just that – and also offers assurances that Downey Jr.’s Holmes (among other things) still isn’t in the habit of being clean shaven.

Check out the new Game of Shadows posters (via Yahoo! Movies) in the gallery below:

Harris as Moriarty appears to be going the same “You Can Tell I’m Evil Because of my Facial Hair” route that Orlando Bloom is in the upcoming Three Musketeers movie. Of course, the former has the screen presence and acting chops to make a bearded Moriarty work as Holmes’ refined but diabolical opponent, while the former Pirates of the Caribbean franchise star just looks… well, kind of silly.

Rapace, by comparison, did a fair amount of research for her turn as a gypsy, and her efforts look to have paid off. Rachel McAdams’ Irene Adler was fun, but arguably underused as the female lead in the first Sherlock Holmes, so hopefully Rapace’s Sim will be more involved in Holmes and Watson’s “wacky” adventures in the second installment.

Back in 2009, Sherlock Holmes was released in theaters just a week after Avatar began its multi-bilion dollar run at the U.S. and global box office. Holmes still managed to hold its own, bringing in some $524 million around the world and earning its fair share of critical accolades for being a fun and exciting period action-adventure pic that boasted a buddy pairing (Downey Jr. and Law) who had great chemistry.

This year, Game of Shadows will have to compete with another franchise-installment-with-a-clunky-title, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, during its opening weekend. Don’t be surprised if more people turn out to see Downey Jr. reprise his turn as a brilliant detective than watch Tom Cruise kick butt as the spy Ethan Hunt (though the M:I – 4 trailer suggests the Cruise vehicle may be worth checking out, too).

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows arrives in U.S. theaters on December 16th, 2011.

Source: Yahoo! Movies