Sherlock Holmes x 3! Are Any Of Them LGBT?

It is the age old question…Is he gay or European?  In the case of beloved fictional character Sherlock Holmes the answer right now might just be – wait for it – both! Rumors are swirling that in two upcoming high-profile Sherlock Holmes adaptations the much discussed, often questioned sexuality of the British detective will be addressed. 

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson  – Warner Bros

The rumors surrounding one project keep getting louder and louder as the release date approaches. The producers of the upcoming “Sherlock Holmes 3” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law will reportedly confirm that Holmes and Watson are gay. Downey Jr., in fact, has fed the rumor mill for years, with sound bites like this one about the relationship between Holmes and Watson, 


“{they are} two men who happen to be roommates, wrestle a lot and share a bed…Guy {Ritchie} wanted to make this about the relationship between Watson and Holmes. They’re both mean and complicated.”

in 2009, Downey Jr. and David Letterman had a very frank conversation where Letterman alluded to the fact stating, “Now, from what I recall, there was always the suggestion that there was a different level of relationship between Sherlock and Dr. Watson.” Downey Jr., then responded that Watson’s wife could be a beard! 

A quick internet search of Holmes’ sexuality nets words like “asexual” and “married to his work” and “not interested in romantic relationships.” The adaptation fueling the most discussion of Holmes’ sexuality, much to the dismay of the creators and producers, is BBC’s Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch (left) as Sherlock in BBC series “Sherlock.” photo courtesy of BBC.

Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat had this to say on the topic,

 “It’s a funny thing when a character for over 100 years has been saying, ‘I don’t do that at all,’” “[Sherlock]’s not interested in [sex]. He’s willfully staying away from that to keep his brain pure — a Victorian belief, that. But everyone wants to believe he’s gay. He’s not gay. He’s not straight.”

Cumberbatch, who won an Emmy in 2014 for his performance, has said this about the character,

He’s asexual. He doesn’t want any, and it’s very purposeful on his part. I think he’s been burnt in the past. I think he also realizes he can’t beat female intuition; he can’t. So to embroil himself where he might be enslaved through adoration or sexual desire or any kind of power or chemistry to do with love is too big a risk for him.”


Finally, seems Netflix executives are thinking of taking some major liberties and planning on a bisexual Sherlock Holmes in the sequel to their blockbuster prequel movie, “Enola Holmes.” 

Henry Cavill in ‘Enola Holmes’ (Credit: Netflix)

“Enola Holmes,” stars Millie Bobby Brown as the title character, Sherlock Holmes’ little sister. The movie focuses on Enola as she starts an investigation into their mother, with Henry Cavill playing Sherlock as he too begins his detective career. 

The first “Enola Holmes” was able to sidestep any talk of Holmes’ sexuality as Sherlock was a supporting character AND the prequel is set years before he meets Watson. The bromance between Holmes and Watson fuels much of the “are they or aren’t they” talk. The relationship between Holmes and Watson is a central storyline on the BBC series, generating fan fiction and endless debates about the sexuality of the two characters. 


The only road block for Netflix might be a woman named Andrea Plunket, who claims to have the publishing rights to the character. Those publishing rights are much disputed though.

While she has been told in court that she does not, she still persists in her claims and has sold the rights to publishing houses before. While Netflix may not be too concerned about this as they are a major company, the possibility of Plunket suing them for establishing Sherlock’s sexuality is there. She threatened to make problems for the Guy Ritchie series for the similiar reasons.  

Got all that? Three different adaptations, three different takes on the character and three different actors! Your turn, Instincters…what do you think? Is Sherlock gay? bisexual? asexual? Sound off in the comment section below, and while you are doing that check out the trailer for “Sherlock Holmes 3.” The movie is scheduled to open December 20, 2021, after the original release date was pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 



Sources: Entertainment Weekly, We Got This Covered, Vulture, Wired, Giant Freaking Robot


6 thoughts on “Sherlock Holmes x 3! Are Any Of Them LGBT?”

  1. I read the original stories since turning 16 in 1988; I don’t think Holmes is gay, as he treated Watson like a brother; without Watson, Holmes would be friendless, alone; they’re as close as brothers; Watson is heterosexual, straight, married; Holmes is asexual, note the comment from “A Scandal in Bohemia”.

  2. I don’t think so; I’ve read the original stories since I turned 16 in 1988; Watson is straight, heterosexual, married; Holmes treats him like a brother; without Watson, Holmes would be alone, friendless; consider Watson’s remark about Holmes from “A Scandal in Bohemia”: “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen: but, as a lover, he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer – excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.” If so, then Holmes was asexual.

  3. Avid Holmes fan from childhood. Holmes has always been a “devout bachelor” as they used to call it. I think that the BBC show played it out best. Sherlock has more than just bro-feelings for Watson, but doesn’t act on it. First, it’s obvious from the get-go that Watson is straight; second, Sherlock doesn’t want to blow the only “real” relationship he’s ever had. That is more important.
    I Like the way RDJ play him as well. English “bachelor” of the times, but a little flamboyant. Watson (Jude Law) I believe is as straight as his book counterpart. That should remain, or it changes the whole dynamics of their relationship.

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  5. Can’t two friends just be friends anymore. I love the two movies and don’t mind light hinting for comedy sake but if their going down this route then I’ll won’t bother. Judging by how little talk their is I don’t think many are hyped at all.

  6. In reading the books I’ve always thought Mr Holmes & Dr Watson were more than just friends. Mrs Watson thinks Dr Watson is often taken astray by Holmes and often seems jealous of their relationship. The two men are inordinately fond of each others company.


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