1 of 2
Christopher Raphael, Warner Bros.
Robert Downey Jr. (left) as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. James Watson in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ action adventure mystery “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

SALT LAKE CITY — Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes will make a return to theaters almost a decade after “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” — this time without director Guy Richie (“Aladdin”).

According to Variety, Warner Bros. is gearing up for development on “Sherlock Holmes 3” with “Rocketman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Dexter Fletcher, who took over development of the latter film after Brian Singer was fired by Fox.

Production on “Sherlock Holmes” was previously delayed by Downey’s Marvel schedule, which kept him busy playing Iron Man in several films since 2011, including “Iron Man 3,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

The movie will also likely see Jude Law (“Captain Marvel”) return as Professor Watson. Comicbook.com reports the movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 21, 2021, meaning it will release 12 years after “A Game of Shadows,” which saw Downey’s Holmes face off against Jared Harris’ (“Mad Men”) Professor Moriarty.

Comment on this story

BBC notes that Downey’s version of Holmes is notable for being much more action-oriented and neurotic than other popular actors filling the role, like Benedict Cumberbatch (“Doctor Strange”) — Downey’s Marvel co-star.

Notably, Holmes appeared to meet his fate falling off a balcony with Moriarty, but a later scene shows a very-much-alive Holmes sneaking into Watson’s office — complete with an armchair-patterned suit.

It remains to be seen if Holmes will have revealed himself to Watson in the years since “A Game of Shadows” or if the sequel will play his survival as some sort of joke.