Robert Downey Jr. was last seen on the big screen playing Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War and will play the character again in 2017, via his supporting role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The actor is gearing up to play Tony once more in Avengers: Infinity War – which ought to be fully into production within the next few months. RDJ is helping to cook up things other than more Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in the kitchen too; including, an HBO TV series that True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto is co-developing (based on RDJ’s idea for a Perry Mason reboot) and a potential third installment in the Guy Ritchie-directed Sherlock Holmes franchise.
There was (briefly) a time earlier this year, when Downey and his Sherlock Holmes collaborators were teasing the possibility of Sherlock Holmes 3 – with the actor reprising as super-sleuth Sherlock alongside Jude Law as his loyal companion Dr. John Watson – starting principal photography in Fall 2016, before Downey needed to turn his attention to Infinity War. A screenwriter was even recruited to write a fresh Sherlock Holmes 3 script draft, but obviously the stars didn’t align as hoped and a third go-round with Downey and Law’s Sherlock/Watson remains an unrealized idea.
Warner Bros. Pictures is still pushing for Sherlock Holmes 3 to happen sooner rather than later, with Variety reporting that the studio has even assembled a writers room to shape the story and script for the threequel. The members of the writers room include Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman and Book of Eli screenwriter Gary Whitta (who also co-wrote this December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), as well as Justin Malen (co-writer of the 2017 Baywatch reboot), Geneva Dworet-Robertson (co-writer of the 2018 Tomb Raider reboot) and Snowden screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald.
An increasing number of studios have begun using writers rooms as an instrument to plot out their shared cinematic universes; Paramount did just that with the Transformers franchise last year and Universal is doing the same with its developing rebooted monster film universe. Writers room are rarer when it comes to single franchise installments such as Sherlock Holmes 3, but the move could allow the project to form a writing “brain trust” that will handle all of the script work hereon out. WB may be doing something similar with its Godzilla/Kong movie universe, as current Godzilla 2 screenwriters Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields are reportedly being lined up to form a writers room that will also oversee 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong.
This move could lead to WB fast-tracking Sherlock Holmes 3 if everything goes according to plan – but there’s not an immediate rush. Ritchie is expected to return as director on the film, but he will be preoccupied with promoting his film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword early next year (ahead of its March 2017 theatrical bow) and he appears to have already found his next directorial effort in Disney’s live-action Aladdin re-telling. Downey and Law will be keeping busy for the foreseeable future too, but there’s hope yet that Ritchie will reunite with Downey and Law for a third (final?) Sherlock adventure… eventually.
We’ll bring you more details on Sherlock Holmes 3 as they become available.