'Sherlock Holmes 3' On The "Back Burner" According To Director Dexter Fletcher

Earlier this month Robert Downey Jr. was talking about how he wanted to create a Sherlock Holmes Cinematic Universe after Sherlock Holmes 3 comes out. And that's all well and good, but first – Sherlock Holmes 3 has to actually get made, and it doesn't seem like that's happening anytime soon. Dexter Fletcher, who is taking over the franchise from Guy Ritchie, recently said that the long-awaited sequel is now "on the back burner," suggesting things won't get off the ground anytime soon.

While I don't think I've ever met anyone who is a huge fan of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films, both movies – Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – were big box office hits. Which often means more sequels are all-but-certain to happen. But Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows came out in 2011, and now it's 2020, and that's a pretty long time to without another sequel.

Sure, there has been plenty of talk about a sequel. Warner Bros. actually announced the sequel back in 2011, and over the years, there has been talk about various scripts being written. In 2018, Warner Bros. said the third film in the franchise would arrive for Christmas 2020. By 2019, Guy Ritchie was no longer attached to direct, and instead Rocketman helmer Dexter Fletcher was in the director's chair. That same year, Warner Bros. pushed the release back to Christmas 2021.

So now what? Earlier this month, star Robert Downey Jr. and producer Susan Downey talked about creating an entire cinematic universe around the films, with the possibility to cross over into TV with HBO Max. "We do think there's opportunity to build it out more, to spin off some characters from the third movie, to see what's going on in the television landscape, to see how Warner Media is starting to build things out with HBO and HBOMax," Susan Downey said. "We definitely have kind of grand schemes and plans and all that, but it takes a lot. It takes a lot of coordination because again, Marvel wasn't built in a day. It took several wins and things that worked very well to then be able to connect them, to then be able to branch out."

Downey Jr. then added: "At this point, we really feel there's not a mystery-verse built out anywhere, and Conan Doyle is the definitive voice in that arena to this day, so to me, why do a third movie if you're not going to be able to spin off into some real gems of diversity, and other times and elements? We're not repeaters, we don't want to just try to do what's been done somewhere else. But I think the model itself has become much more dimensionalized than it was before."

But all of that is easier said than done. During an interview with the Celebrity Catch Up Podcast (via Digital Spy) Dexter Fletcher 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." The reason for the lack of movement on the project is due to the coronavirus, with Fletcher adding: "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."

Other big productions have found workarounds here in the COVID-19 age, but for now, it looks like Sherlock Holmes 3 isn't one of them.