Sherlock Holmes 3 has been a long time coming, but the third movie in Guy Ritchie's franchise was actually confirmed way back in January 2012.
A month after Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows hit cinemas, there was already talk of a new entry in the franchise. Not that surprising, given that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation is the most portrayed literary character ever.
Yet with busy schedules for the main players (Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law), it's no wonder there's been a hold up. And then there's, well... *gestures vaguely to the world*
But the show must go on, we think. Here's what we know, and can glean, about the third film.
Sherlock Holmes 3 release date: When will Sherlock Holmes 3 be out in cinemas?
Warner Bros originally set a December 25, 2020 release date for the third movie, but has now pushed it back by a whole year to 2021. At the time we didn't know why, but it turned out to be a prescient move.
Since then, the film has been put on "the back burner" according to director Dexter Fletcher, who is taking over from Ritchie. He said: "That’s sort of sitting on the back burner at the moment until it becomes clear where the world is at and what's going to happen."
Speaking about Sherlock 3 and another film he has in production, The Saint, Fletcher added: "They're both up against the same dilemma, the same issue that we all [have]: how do you get large groups of people together to create something and then shift them all around the world?
"And what do you do with actors that are in a love scene? It's complicated."
Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films have always been Christmas events. The first was released on December 25, 2009, while the sequel A Game of Shadows debuted on December 16, 2011.
The script is being written by Chris Brancato. For now, the film is still in its December 22, 2021 date — but who knows if that will stick.
Sherlock Holmes 3 cast: Who is returning to Sherlock Holmes 3?
Downey and Law are both coming back for the third movie, of course, as without the bromance between Law and Downey, there wouldn't be a Sherlock Holmes series.
No word yet on whether Kelly Reilly (Watson's wife Mary), Stephen Fry (Sherlock's brother Mycroft), or Eddie Marsan (Inspector Lestrade) will return. And could Jared Harris' Moriarty return? More on that below...
Sherlock Holmes 3 plot: What will Sherlock Holmes 3 be about?
"We want it to be the best of the series, so that's a pretty tall order," Downey has said of the third film. So who out of Sherlock's back catalogue of villains will the master detective be up against this time?
The first outing saw Holmes and Watson battling mystical would-be world dominator Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong), while the second film brought us Sherlock's arch-nemesis Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris).
Given that Holmes was supposed to have killed Moriarty at the end of the second film, Harris would seem like a longshot to return. However, Holmes himself was supposed to have died in that same incident, only for the detective to fake his death and secretly turn up in Watson's office.
Our money would be on a return for Moriarty, with Harris hopefully reprising the role. Holmes without Moriarty is like Batman without the Joker – the two need each other to be truly amazing.
Harris doesn't seem that confident on a return though, telling Digital Spy in March 2018 that the last script he saw didn't have Moriarty in it. Whether this will have changed by the time we finally get to filming remains to be seen.
One thing we do know for sure though is that it's set quite some time after A Game of Shadows. "We hope to propel the story forward. As always, the essence of the story is their codependency," Law teased.
"We're going to examine – since it's been several years since we've seen them – we're going to play up the fact that they haven't seen each other for a long time either."
Sherlock Holmes 3 trailer: When will the trailer be out online?
We'll have to wait until the movie is actually filming to have any idea when we can see new footage, but it's probably safe to say we can't expect anything anytime soon. For now, you'll have to rewatch the previous two movies (or any of the plethora of Sherlock Holmes adaptations out there).
Sherlock Holmes 3 is currently scheduled to be released on December 22, 2021.
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