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– by Fox Troilo

Now in the realm of public domain, there are several versions of Sherlock Holmes afoot. Most prominent are BBC’s Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, its American counterparty Elementary with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, and the current movie franchise starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. The latter has fans awaiting a promised third entry, and Dr. Watson has begun to pull back the curtain on what to expect.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Law notes that the element of time between films will also feature into character development, saying:

“As always, the essence of the story is their codependency. We’re going to examine — since it’s been several years since we’ve seen them — we’re going to play up the fact that they haven’t seen each other for a long time either.”

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The idea of Holmes and Watson needing the other is not novel, as it’s been explored in every medium starting with Sir Conan Arthur Doyle’s books. What’s fascinating are the different permutations this relationship has taken in the various series. In Sherlock, it’s incredibly passive to the point of being one-sided—Watson is in an almost toxic relationship, giving endlessly to Holmes, nearly begging for recognition and feedback. When it comes, it is deep and grand, but those moments are rare. In the Sherlock Holmes movies, the master detective is far more overt and even manipulative, acknowledging how much he feels he needs Watson, going to great lengths to ensure their bond and equilibrium remain undisturbed and unchanged, even in the face of evolution (i.e. John’s marriage to Mary).

The fact that Law and Downey will explore a bond that has been devoid of face-to-face communication is an interesting one, especially considering the era of connectivity we currently live in. These are two men who consider each other brothers but especially for Watson, current life events might consistently immediately deter constant interaction—a cumulative pattern that would likely cause despair to Holmes. This results in an intriguing reversal from the Sherlock show. There, Watson always takes Holmes back, no matter how annoying and frustrating he becomes due to his standoffish nature. Here, it is likely that Holmes has to be patient and wait for Watson to come around, with waiting and patience serving as two qualities Sherlock most certainly lacks.

While this tidbit from Law is hardly a revelation in terms of plot, it does signal an intentional narrative arc for the two main characters. This is only interesting given their cinematic relationship so far, but it does tease at an interesting question—how effective are either of these geniuses without their counterbalance? If the production maintains its current timetable, we’ll find out in December 2020.

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SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly

Fox serves as an entertainment journalist in the Washington, D.C. When not covering cinematic news for LRM, he critiques films as a member of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Fox also has a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Strategy from Indiana University Bloomington.