'Sherlock Holmes 3' is Now in the Hands of 'Rocketman' Director Dexter Fletcher

Guy Ritchie gave new life to Sherlock Holmes with two films starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as the mystery solving duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson. But the third installment will be in the hands of someone else.

Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher has been hired to helm Sherlock Holmes 3, which is slated for release in December 2021, 10 years after Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows hit theaters.

Variety has word on Dexter Fletcher stepping up as Sherlock Holmes 3 director, though it’s not clear why Guy Ritchie opted not to come back. But even without Ritchie, the film will still have Robert Downey Jr. back in the lead role. Jude Law is expected to return as well, but it sounds like his deal hasn’t been finalized yet. It’s unclear whether Rachel McAdams will return as as Irene Adler.

Dexter Fletcher is an exciting choice for a franchise that had started to feel a little stale in its sequel. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t pack the same calculated punch as the first film. Fletcher proved he has style with Rocketman, and he also has a dry British sensibility that is perfect for the comedy at the center of this franchise.

It remains to be seen what Sherlock Holmes 3 will be about, but the script will be written by Chris Brancato. Will the movie pick up shortly after the events of the last movie, or will a significant amount of time have passed just like it has in the real world? Though we don’t know the timeline, we’ve heard that the movie will bring Holmes and Watson to America during the time of the Old West, specifically in San Francisco. That sounds like a refreshing change of pace from London.

It’ll be interesting to see if Moriarty somehow makes a comeback in Sherlock Holmes 3. Jared Harris played Sherlock’s nemesis in the sequel, and he was presumed dead after Holmes plunged into the Reichenbach Falls with him. Holmes also used that opportunity to fake his own death, leaving him an easy out to head to the United States. But Moriarty has never been easily dispatched with, so he could always return.

The real question is whether audiences are still interested in the prospect of another Sherlock Holmes movie at this point. Sure, audiences love Robert Downey Jr. after his long run as Iron Man, but Game of Shadows made about $23 million less than the first movie in the United States. At the same time, it made $21 million more worldwide, so that almost makes up for it. But after 10 years of laying dormant, it might be a challenge to get audiences back on board, especially with all the franchise fatigue that seems to be happening this summer. We’ll find out in a couple years.

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