Get Ready For The Sherlock Holmes Universe, Courtesy Of Robert Downey Jr. And HBO Max

Is it the 2010s in here or is it just me? 11 years after Robert Downey Jr. last donned his bowler hat to play Sherlock Holmes on screen, the actor is set to executive produce not one but two Holmes-related shows that are in development for HBO Max, per The Hollywood Reporter. There's no word on whether Downey plans to reprise the role, but both shows will be produced under the Team Downey production banner, which he runs with producer Susan Downey.

The project still appears to be in the early stages of development, with few plot details known. The fact that the streamer is working on not one but two Sherlock Holmes stories, though, indicates that this will be a TV universe of some sort. Lionel Wigram, who produced both of the Guy Ritchie-directed films in which Downey played the famed genius detective, is also slated to executive produce the new shows. Amanda Burrell is also on board to produce.

Get ready for the SHEU (Sherlock Holmes Extended Universe)

This may come as a bit of a surprise for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's insufferably smart investigator, as pop culture seemed to reach a crescendo in Sherlock Holmes obsession several years back. Ritchie's Holmes films may have kicked off the trend in 2009, but other titles soon followed, with the BBC series "Sherlock" beginning in 2010 and CBS' "Elementary" debuting two years later. Most recently, Millie Bobby Brown portrayed the detective's kid sister in "Enola Holmes" on Netflix. Still, most of the Doyle stories are in public domain, meaning Holmes fever can keep coming back in as many incarnations as creators want.

Though the news of a Sherlock Holmes TV universe might be unexpected, Downey has been talking about reviving the story for a while now. In 2020, both Susan Downey and Robert Downey Jr. appeared on a panel at Fast Company's Innovation Festival. On the panel, reported on by IndieWire, they expressed enthusiasm for continuing the story that was apparently originally envisioned for a third Ritchie movie. Susan Downey said:

"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. 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."

At the same event, Robert Downey Jr. indicated that whatever path the pair pursue would look different than the Holmes movies he worked on before, saying, "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."