'Sherlock Holmes 3' Release Date Pushed To 2021, My Dear Watson

There have been no clues to indicate Sherlock Holmes 3 is anywhere close to ready to start shooting, so you don't have to be the world's greatest detective to deduce that the film was unlikely to make its Christmas 2020 release date. As a result, Warner Bros. has pushed the Robert Downey Jr. sequel back an entire year, to December 2021. That will make it the first entry in the franchise in ten years, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows having been released in 2011.

The game is afoot...eventually. Deadline reports that Sherlock Holmes 3 has been bumped to December 22, 2021, which will presumably give everyone a lot more time to think of an actual story to tell. The first Sherlock Holmes opened in 2009, with Guy Ritchie at the helm and Robert Downey Jr. playing the socially inept sleuth. Jude Law played his constant companion Dr. Watson. The film was the very definition of fine, featuring Ritchie's usual speed-up/slow-down action set pieces, and Downey Jr. doing his best while Law stole most of the show.

Ritchie, Downey Jr. and Law returned for 2011's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which wasn't even slightly enjoyable, but it still made money. In fact, both of these films were huge hits, which is why Warner Bros. is keen to get another one going. The third entry was first announced back in 2011, with Drew Pearce announced to write the script. Pearce was replaced by Justin Haythe. In 2013, Law said that the script was still being worked on. But in 2014, Susan Downey – Downey Jr.'s producing partner and wife – said that while there was an idea for a third film, there was still no script.

This "we're working on the script" dance went on for a few more years, before word came in 2017 that shooting on the third film might start in late 2018. Obviously, that didn't happen. By May 2018, Warner Bros. had locked down a December 25, 2020 release date for the third film. And now, they've pushed it back. This clearly indicates the movie is nowhere close to ready (maybe they're still writing that script?).

It's not clear if Ritchie will return to helm the third movie, but Downey Jr. and Law are both expected to reprise their roles. Back when the 2020 release date was announced, Chris Brancato was named as the new scriptwriter. Whether or not that's still the case remains to be seen. Releasing the third entry in the series ten years after the last one seems risky, but people do seem to love these films, so maybe it will all work out for the best.