Robert Downey Jr. Wants to Create a Sherlock Holmes Cinematic Universe

When it comes to the concept of the cinematic universe, Marvel was hardly the first out of the gate, that would be Universal, but they were the ones that made it into a massive success in the modern-day. It just wasn't something anyone thought could be pulled off, and Marvel pulled it off. Someone who has been there since day one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Robert Downey Jr., and for eleven years, he helped build that universe into one of the most successful franchises of all time. Now he's out [probably], but that doesn't mean that Downey Jr. is done with the cinematic universe. The last we heard, there were still rumblings about a third Sherlock Holmes movie with Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and it sounds like a project that Downey Jr. is very much interested in. Not only is he interested, but he also wants to build out an entire universe according to a talk posted on FastCompany during the Innovation Festival panel.

"At this point, we really feel that there is not a mystery-verse built out anywhere, and Conan Doyle is the definitive voice in that arena, I think, to this day," Downey Jr. said. "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 do what's been done somewhere else. But I think the model itself has become much more dimensionalized than it was before."

A still from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Credit: Warner Bros.
A still from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Credit: Warner Bros.

The concept of the cinematic universe becoming the next big thing is all over the freaking place in pop culture, but it really only seems to have worked for Marvel. Universal tried to do it again with the Dark Universe, which failed twice out the gate, and Warner Bros. movies got better once they stopped trying to copy the Marvel model, threw up their hands, and let people make whatever they wanted and to hell with canon. Warner Bros. and Marvel have both found ways to connect TV shows and movie universes into one. While DC and Warner Bros. are leaning more into a bunch of different universes, Marvel is leaning in even harder with their Disney+ shows becoming required reading, to what extent we don't know, for the movies in phase four and beyond. Susan Downey, who would be an executive producer on this project, talked about the possibility of taking advantage of something like HBO Max.

"We think there's an opportunity to build it out more," Susan Downey adds. "Spin-off characters from a third movie, to see what's going on in the television landscape, to see what Warner Media is starting to build out, things with HBO and HBO Max."

The mystery genre is experiencing something of a boom right now. Murder on the Orient Express went on to be a massive hit for Fox, and its sequel Death on the Nile is supposedly coming out this December. Knives Out was a huge success for Lionsgate, and they have already greenlit a second movie, no doubt hoping to turn it into a franchise. Enola Holmes was a pretty big hit for Netflix, and there are already rumors of sequels and spin-offs of those versions of the Holmes character. It seems that everyone wants a good, old school mystery and the Downey Jr. Holmes movies were fun little productions with plenty of style. However, before Downey Jr. commits to a cinematic universe, he might want to make sure there is a demand for a third Sherlock Holmes movie and have it actually get off of the ground first.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She's also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at
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