A charming mystery caper that dominated the Netflix Top 10 most-watched list for weeks before becoming one of the streaming service’s most popular original movies ever after drawing in 76 million viewers in the space of a month hardly sounds like the type of thing to invite legal action, but the producers of Enola Holmes still found themselves being sued by the estate of Sherlock creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The majority of the author’s stories are the property of the public domain and can be adapted by anyone in any way they want, but there were nonetheless some elements of Henry Cavill’s performance that rankled the estate enough to file a lawsuit. The Superman star was certainly a warmer and more relatable Sherlock than audiences were used to seeing, but didn’t seem unrecognizable enough to warrant a courtroom battle.
Thankfully, Netflix have now settled the case and presumably forked over some cold hard cash to do so, with the initial complaint based on the fact that the kinder aspects of Holmes’ personality are still protected by the copyright surrounding the final ten Conan Doyle stories that haven’t yet lapsed into the public domain.
That happens at the end of 2022, so by the time director Harry Bradbeer gets around to the last few of his five potential Enola Holmes sequels, he could realistically turn the great detective into a stand-up comedian who hugs everyone that he sees and there’s nothing that the Conan Doyle estate could do about it.
Of course, this also marks the second time a Sherlock lawsuit has been settled out of court after the team behind Ian McKellen’s 2015 drama Mr. Holmes opted for a payout instead of a trial as well, and it’ll probably be the last one based on how soon the copyright expires.