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Robert Downey Jr. Drops Out of Cowboys & Aliens; Will Do Sherlock Holmes Sequel Instead

Yesterday the LA Times reported that Robert Downey Jr. had dropped out of the lead role in Jon Favreau’s adapatation of the 2006 graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens.  At the time a reason wasn’t given, but now we know why.  EW is reporting that Downey Jr. opted to star in a sequel to Sherlock Holmes instead.  Although Warner Brothers hasn’t green-lit a sequel yet, because of how well its’ doing — nearing $300 million worldwide — WB is expected to put a sequel on the fast-track with a June start date, the exact same time Cowboys & Aliens is scheduled to begin principal photography.

Never-the-less, DreamWorks remains committed to pushing forward with Cowboys & Aliens and are in the process of looking for a new lead with a summer 2011 release date still on the calendar.

With regards to the potential Sherlock Holmes sequel, EW notes that Warner Brothers commissioned a script by Kieran and Michele Mulroney back in September and are now simply locking down the cast to begin production in June.