It was recently announced that Robert Downey Jr. will be returning to the world of Sherlock Holmes via two series on HBO Max, and, while it’s not yet confirmed that Downey Jr. will be starring in the shows, fans are excited about the upcoming projects (per Screen Rant).
While a movie only has the scope to stick to one mystery, a series will allow Holmes and Watson to take on numerous cases. Some of which could be based on the vast library of stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800s and early 1900s. From the bigger Sherlock Holmes novels to the plethora of short stories that can be found in compilations, there are many stories ripe for adaptation in the HBO Max series.
Originally published in a magazine, The Adventure Of Charles Augustus Milverton has the famous detective going up against a blackmailer. If the blackmailer wins, it would cause a large scandal for Lady Eva Blackwell.
In the book, it’s described that Holmes despised this blackmailer named Milverton more than most of the murderers that he helped put away. Not only could this provide a more grounded venture for Holmes and continue Robert Downey Jr.’s version of Holmes’ tendency to make rivals.
The first Sherlock Holmes movie featured supernatural horror elements that were debunked by the titular hero. Instead of black magic, everything turned out to be merely tricks and science being used in clever ways to give the illusion of sorcery.
As a result, The Adventure Of The Sussex Vampire would fit well within the Robert Downey Jr. mythos. It’s the story of a rich family who believes that they are being plagued by a vampire akin to Dracula and it’s up to Sherlock and Watson to figure it out. Throw in some twists and turns, it could be a nice throwback to the first Guy Ritchie film in style.
Since Watson’s wife, Mary, became a recurring side character in the Guy Ritchie films, The Sign Of The Four could allow for an episode all about her. In the book, her father’s disappearance is what led Mary to meet Sherlock and Watson so that means the story would need tweaking for this new canon.
This could be the potential story that brings Holmes and Watson back together after Watson’s retirement in Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows. Mary’s father mysteriously disappearing would lead Jude Law’s version of John Watson to hunt for Holmes and reinstate their partnership yet again.
This one has one of the simplest setups for an episode: Holmes and Watson are on a holiday in Cornwall when a vicar’s family is victimized. His brothers have descended into madness and their sister is found dead. Of course, the vacation becomes a new case for Holmes and Watson.
It’s a simple whodunnit story. It’s where Sherlock Holmes is at his best, allowing fans to try and deduce the culprit alongside Sherlock Holmes. As a bonus, the Cornwall setting can provide something different to look at besides industrial Victorian-era London.
One of the more famous Sherlock Holmes stories, Silver Blaze features Sherlock trying to uncover the secret behind a famous racing horse vanishing the night before an important race. Though it may sound like a plot from an episode of Peaky Blinders, it is a favorite for a reason.
The book has just the right mixture of intrigue, tension, and mystery to keep the reader entertained the whole time. It was adapted into movies multiple times, including a 1977 adaptation starring the talented Christopher Plummer as Holmes. It was also loosely adapted into an episode of the Elementary series.
In this story, the detective has to solve a riddle from the 17th century and uncover what an old friend’s staff is up to. This one showcases Sherlock on his own without Watson which could make for an episode in which Sherlock explains what he was up to after he faked his death in A Game Of Shadows.
It also could provide new flavor, using riddles and puzzles to uncover ancient treasures akin to the likes of Indiana Jones. The Guy Ritchie films embraced a more action-adventure tone so this kind of story would fit within the new series.
For the most part, the two Sherlock Holmes films were all from Sherlock’s perspective. The Dying Detective could allow for Jude Law to lead an episode as Watson. With Sherlock Holmes dying of an infectious disease, Watson has to help his friend and partner however he can.
Whether it’s a direct adaptation or spun into its own take on the story, showing Sherlock Holmes as a not-so-indestructible detective would ground the series a bit more. Plus, Watson is always a delight to watch and his friendship with Holmes could be explored more.
The two Guy Ritchie films depict Holmes and Watson as veterans who have been on many cases together. How did the two start? How did these total opposites become best friends and partners? That’s where A Study In Scarlet could be adapted, showcasing the origin of the iconic duo.
As shown in television shows such as The Book Of Boba Fett, de-aging technology has advanced greatly. The Sherlock Holmes series could easily implement the technology to show Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as young men, trying to solve a murder.
This was the final Sherlock Holmes full-length novel written by Arthur Conan Doyle. In it, Moriarty’s agent sends Holmes on another adventure with a ciphered message. With A Game Of Shadows ending with Moriarty’s death and Holmes teasing another adventure, The Valley Of Fear could be the pilot episode of the series.
Moriarty could potentially return from the grave like Sherlock Holmes did but he had his own criminal empire under his control. The villain could be a different agent finishing what Moriarty started.
When it comes to Sherlock Holmes stories, The House Of Baskervilles is undoubtedly the most iconic for its horror style and twists. Even the BBC Sherlock series adapted the story, even if it was in its own modern-day twist.
With Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock set in Victorian England, The Hound Of Baskervilles has the chance to be adapted more loyally to the source material. At the same time, the more steampunk action movie style of the movie leaves the story to be given a unique twist as well.
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