Director Claims “The Ball’s In His Court” For Robert Downey Jr.’s Return to Beloved Franchise

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Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in 'Iron Man' (2008)

Credit: Marvel Studios

The director says it’s all up to Robert Downey Jr…

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark "Performance Issues"
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Robert Downey Jr. renaissance defined cinema of the early 2000s. Fans were elated to see the rehabilitated actor back on his feet and knocking every single role out of the Park. Arguably his most famous role in recent years has been, of course, Tony Stark/Iron Man, starting with Iron Man (2008) and wrapping up with Avengers: Endgame (2019), but there’s another role that fans loved him in as well and one that started another renaissance of sorts.

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Robert Downey Jr. Helped Pass the Torch With New Replacement

Shortly after his debut as Tony Stark, Downey Jr. brought to life a classic literary figure in a very new and imaginative way. Sherlock Holmes (2009) did away with the classical, stodgy view of the world’s most famous detective. Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes was rumpled, unkempt, and lacking in social niceties but was a certified genius and an expert fighter, incorporating an authentic late 19th-century fighting style. This wasn’t the only thing fans loved, however.

(LtR) Rachel McAdams, Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Strong in Sherlock Holmes
Credit: Warner Bros.

The Innovative cinema style was also a key factor in the film’s success. The washed-out color palate and the costume design, but overall, the editing was captivating. It was a new experience for fans to see the inner workings of Holmes’ (Downey Jr.) mind, to see in a visual representation, narrated by the man himself, his step-by-step analysis of a situation and how he would break it down, then to see him execute the plan to the detail as planned. The best element, however, was the cast.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes
Credit: Warner Bros.

If a studio plans to undertake a Sherlock Holmes story, there needs to be outstanding chemistry between the two leads, and Warner Media nailed it. Jude Law was the perfect Watson to Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes. The rest of the cast wasn’t a step behind either: Rachel McAdams made a perfect Irene Adler, Eddie Marsen a fantastic Lestrade, and Mark Strong’s Lord Blackwood was as engaging and spooky as he was believable.

Mark Strong and Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes
Credit: Warner Bros.

With both the 2009 film and the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (2011), both being wildly popular, it came as somewhat of a surprise that the studio didn’t pursue a third film in the franchise, especially with how Game of Shadows ended. Sure, Robert Downey Jr. was tied up at Marvel Studios, but a popular franchise is a popular franchise. Naturally, with his role being wrapped up with the Marvel Cinematic UniverseSherlock Holmes fans began speculating: would he return to sleuthing?

Robert Downey Jr. and Rachel McAdams in Sherlock Holmes
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Why Marvel Execs Say Hiring Robert Downey Jr. Again Is “No Longer on the Table”

Director Guy Ritchie says it’s possible. According to an article from CBR, which covered a recent interview the director gave with Collider, there’s only one thing holding up a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-based sequel. Ritchie claimed that the entire production rests squarely on Robert Downey Jr.’s shoulders to happen or not happen:

“So Robert wanted to be in charge of this…The ball’s in his court, so he’s in charge of the script, he’s in charge of the whole thing. I’ve moonwalked out of that until there’s a time for me to get involved.”

So, will audiences see a Sherlock Holmes 3? It’s up to the star himself. Both Downey Jr. and Jude Law have said in the past that they enjoyed working together and wouldn’t mind working together again in the capacity of the great literary figures. Who knows? Downey Jr. and Law both have a significant amount of time on their hands now, after the former finished his stint with Marvel, and the latter likely won’t have any more Fantastic Beasts films to take part in.

Would you like to see another Sherlock Holmes movie? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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