It's been a long time since we've heard about Sherlock Holmes 3, a direct follow up to the blockbuster smash hit Sherlock Holmes, which hit theaters in 2009 under the direction of Guy Ritchie. It was followed in 2011 by Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Now, star Robert Downey Jr. has confirmed that he is returning for the next sequel, and that Guy Ritchie will be back as well. There is no word yet on whether or not Jude Law will reprise his role as Watson, but the assumption is that he'll also return for a third mystery.

Speaking with ShortList.com, Robert Downey Jr. revealed that production is set to start on a third Sherlock Holmes as early as the end of this year. The man has been super busy playing the iconic Marvel superhero Iron Man over the past couple of years, appearing in three standalone movies, two Avengers adventures, and co-starring in next month's Captain America: Civil War. About returning for Sherlock Holmes 3, he says this.

"We're talking about it right now. We can do some preliminary stuff. If we could shoot it on Skype, we could have the whole [movie] done in a week. When we're making those Sherlock movies it is off the hook. [So] we'll attempt to make one this year. It really is a big deal to go and do those movies. I'm tired all the time, but I'm so excited about it."

Robert Downey Jr. doesn't shy away from the fact that his busy Marvel schedule has kept Sherlock Holmes 3 from moving foreword over the course of the past five years. Which presumably doesn't make Disney rival Warner Bros. very happy. The last movie, A Game of Shadows, saw Holmes faking his death after a fight with his legendary nemesis Moriarty.

Robert Downey Jr. will be in London soon to promote the theatrical release of Captain America: Civil War in the U.K. While he's there, he has meetings set to discuss the movie with director Guy Ritchie, who directed both previous installments, and is currently launching a King Arthur franchise for Warner Bros. with the first titled Knights of the Roundtable. Says Downey Jr. about meeting with Ritchie.

"He'll say 'I'll meet you on my bike', all that sort of macho stuff. I've always considered riding a bike in London as taking your life in your own hands. Guy makes it look easy."

There are no story details released for Sherlock Holmes 3 at this time. No further cast members have been announced. It is expected that Rachel McAdams will be back as Irene Adler. At this time, Warner Bros. has not set a release date, but we might expect to see the movie sometime in late 2017 or early 2018.