Move over, MCU, Robert Downey Jr.’s got his eyes on a different shared universe now.
After saying goodbye to Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame, Downey Jr. is returning as the Great Detective in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes 3. But this belated sequel won’t be an “end of a trilogy” kind of deal. In actual fact, it’s being conceived as a launching pad for a Holmes cinematic universe – or, as RDJ is calling it, a “Mystery-Verse.”
Speaking alongside wife and business partner Susan Downey at Fast & Company’s keynote speech today, the actor revealed their plans to use the threequel, which he’ll be starring in opposite Jude Law as Doctor Watson, to spur a load of cross-media spinoffs based on the works of Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
“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 about the future of the franchise. “So to me, why do a third movie if you’re not going to be able to spin off into some real gems of diversity and other times and elements?”
Susan Downey went on to say that they’re specifically looking at ways to expand the franchise onto the small screen, with spinoff projects likely materializing on HBO or HBO Max.
“We think there’s an opportunity to build it out more,” Susan added. “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.”
The Downeys continued by saying that they’re very much inspired by the work of Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios in their ambitions for the Mystery-Verse, citing the experience of working with Marvel for the past decade as “invaluable” and calling the MCU “a masterclass” in how it’s done. Going by Robert Downey Jr.’s comments, it sounds like these plans will share the MCU’s broad approach, encompassing various types of characters, places and even time periods.
Though Netflix just dropped Enola Holmes and Kenneth Branagh has his Poirot movie series, it’s true that there’s no detective-focused shared universe out there. And using the most filmed character in history as a starting point sure sounds like a smart move. But we’ll probably have to wait and see how Sherlock Holmes 3 does, when it eventually gets here, before any concrete plans happen.