Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law will return for Sherlock Holmes 3, Warner Bros. announced Monday, slotting the second sequel for a December 25, 2020 release date. It’s been seven years since the last film, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and nine years since the actors first played Sherlock and Dr. Watson respectively in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes.
The studio hasn’t provided any other details along with the new announcement, except that Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato has written the script. Though Guy Ritchie directed the first two films, no director is yet attached to Sherlock Holmes 3. Both films were set near the turn of the 20th century, and ended with Holmes faking his death after meeting Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.
The original Sherlock Holmes was a critical and commercial success, hitting 70 percent on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and grossing $524 million worldwide off a $90-million budget. Though the sequel continued the popularity streak – it made $545.4 million worldwide off a $125-million budget – critics weren’t pleased with the results, and it landed on a rotten 59 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
It’s likely why Warner Bros. didn’t greenlight a second sequel back then, although Downey Jr.’s packed schedule thanks to Marvel – since 2011, he’s done The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War – might also have been a reason. The Iron Man actor is set to end his participation with Avengers 4 next year, which has already completed filming, and thus frees him to do Sherlock Holmes 3.
Jude Law, on the other hand, has recently joined two franchises: he’s playing a young Albus Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and future sequels, and he plays Mar-Vell and a mentor to the titular character in Captain Marvel, the first female-led superhero film from Marvel Studios.
The Christmas 2020 release date for Sherlock Holmes 3 puts it a week after Avatar 2, James Cameron’s oft-delayed sequel to his 2009 original. There’s also an untitled Disney live-action film in the same week, plus the sequel to Universal Pictures’ animated hint, Sing 2.