In 2011, a little under a decade ago, Warner Bros. Pictures released Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, a Sherlock Holmes story starring Robert Downey Jr. as the title character and Jude Law as his Watson. The film was a sequel to the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes , and followed the famous pair of detectives searching for the killer of Austria’s crown prince through “puzzle pieces” left by Holmes’ nemesis, Moriarty.
It was recently announced that the story will continue with a third film in December of 2021.
The question is, will Rachel McAdams be returning to the third Sherlock film to reprise her role as Irene Adler?
It would make sense for McAdams to return. She played a major role in the first Sherlock Holmes film and offered her own unique spin on the character of Irene Adler. There’s just one little problem: she’s assumed to be dead.
In the first quarter of the last film, A Game of Shadows, Irene Adler meets with Moriarty, only to be poisoned and killed by him.
There is good news for fans of Rachel McAdams, however – Irene Adler’s body was never shown after her death in Game of Shadows. If you’re a fan of mystery stories, you’ll know that no body often means that there’s no crime. This, paired with the fact that her “killer,” Moriarty, is well-known for deceiving Sherlock Holmes, means that a return for Sherlock’s beloved femme fatale could still be on the table.
A few fans of the film series have even taken to discussing theories online as to how and why she could be alive.
Seven years ago, a Redditor by the name of ‘goldstar63’ posted a thread with their theory of how Irene Adler could still be alive following the events of Game of Shadows.
In addition to noting the fact that the viewer never sees a body, they mention that “Irene is very skilled at her job. Knowing the warnings that Sherlock gave to her immediately before her meeting with Moriarty […] it seems unlikely that she would drink anything given to her at a place that he arrived at first.”
It’s also important to note that when the third Sherlock Holmes movie comes out it will have officially been a decade since the last film. If other reboots and anniversary films are anything to go by, it’s likely that filmmakers will want to “get the gang back together,” which would naturally include McAdams.
The time passed between the two films also makes it easier for writers to find a loophole to keep her alive, or to rework some more minor plot points to imply she was alive throughout the sequel – hopefully giving her character a little bit of justice after she was unceremoniously killed off.