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.