A new social media post from Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. has us wondering whether the actor is getting ready to return to another of his world-famous roles, Sherlock Holmes. Captioned "First Reel?! Here we go! Here's a couple weeks back with Sifu Eric Oram! #WorkoutDowneyJr," the clip shows Downey Jr. perfecting some Wing Chun moves, a martial art which the actor is rather proficient in, but damn if they don't look like some slick Sherlock Holmes moves.
Downey Jr. first stepped into the role of the famous sleuth back in 2009's aptly titled Sherlock Holmes, in which he stars alongside Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, Holmes' companion and close friend. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the movie introduced audiences to Downey's much more action-packed version of the character, as he is hired by a secret society to foil a mysticist's plot to gain control of Britain by seemingly supernatural means.
A sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, was released a few years later, and brought in Jared Harris as Holmes' infamous archenemy, Professor Moriarty. Both movies were critically and commercially successful, and considering their success, a third movie has been in development for the decade since the sequel was released, with Warner Bros. first announcing in October 2011 that a first draft for Sherlock Holmes 3was being produced.
It was not until 2019 that things started to move forward on the project, with Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher on board to helm the threequel. Last year however, Fletcher described Sherlock Holmes 3 as being on the "back burner" amid the ongoing global situation and the uncertainty that surrounds the movie business. "Sherlock's hit its own issues on and off," Fletcher said. "That's sort of sitting on the back burner at the moment until it becomes clear where the world is at and what's going to happen."
Downey though has previously expressed his desire to not only continue the Sherlock Holmes series, but also his plans to take a page out of the Marvel playbook and build a shared universe. "At this point, we really feel that there is not a mystery-verse built out anywhere, and Conan Doyle is the definitive voice in that arena, I think, to this day," he said of his hopes to build on the franchise. "So to me, why do [Sherlock Holmes 3] if you're not going to be able to spin off into some real gems of diversity and other times and elements?"
At the time, Downey Jr.'s wife, producer Susan Downey, went on to explain their approach to the shared "mystery-verse," and how the world of Sherlock Holmes is ripe for expansion. "We think there's an opportunity to build it out more," she said. "Spin-off characters from a third movie, to see what's going on in the television landscape, to see what Warner Media is starting to build out, things with HBO and HBO Max."
Of course, whether Downey Jr. is prepping for a return to the Sherlock Holmes franchise in the clip is sadly unknown at this time. He could simply be enjoying one of his hobbies, or even preparing for a completely different role entirely. But, having now retired his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Tony Stark, a role which no doubt dominated his schedule, could the actor finally have enough free time to resurrect the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and create a whole new shared universe for himself? This comes to us from Robert Downey Jr.'s Instagram account.