New Sherlock Holmes projects are in the works at HBO Max, and Robert Downey Jr. is reportedly returning to the franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Downey Jr. is helping to develop at least two TV shows for the streamer. He will be an executive producer on these projects, but it's not clear if he will reprise his role as the titular detective — or appear on screen at all.
Downey Jr. played Sherlock Holmes on the big screen in 2009 and 2011, around the same time he was helping launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Iron Man. Those two movies were originally intended to be followed by a third installment, but it kept getting postponed until it finally fizzled out. Now, HBO Max is reportedly trying to kick that momentum back up again, and Downey Jr. and his collaborator Lionel Wigram is on board. It's not clear if Wigram's co-writers or director Guy Ritchie will be returning as well.
Downey Jr. and Wigram are both expected to executive produce the two series, but it's not clear if one or both of them will star Downey Jr. in the titular role. So far, the only talent attached to the projects is behind the camera, including EPs Amanda Burrell and Susan Downey.
HBO Max declined to comment on THR's story one way or the other. The other major star in Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes movies was Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, who was not mentioned in this reveal. The previous movies also included Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, Jared Harris as Professor James Moriarty, Kelly Reilly as Mary Morstan and Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade, among others. Some of these characters are frequent players in Sherlock Holmes stories, but because of the episodic nature of the source material, it's hard to say whether they would make frequent appearances in the franchise.
Sherlock Holmes was created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote four novels and 56 short stories about Holmes and Watson. These are considered some of the most adapted stories of all time with at least 75 actors playing versions of Holmes on the screen. Along with Downey Jr.'s version, the most popular take of the last few years is probably the modern iteration starring his MCU co-star Benjamin Cumberbatch.
At the time of this writing, both of Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes movies are streaming on HBO Max. Stay tuned for updates on the sequels and expansions as they become available.