One of Netflix’s newly released films, “Enola Holmes,” has been the talk of the town recently, but for the wrong reasons. While fellow FSC freshman Kira Littlejohn believes the film was “amazing, had great character development, and the plot made sense,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate would like to think otherwise. The problem isn’t even with the main character, Enola Holmes, but her brother, Sherlock Holmes, portrayed by Henry Cavill.
The estate of Doyle has filed a lawsuit against Cavill’s depiction of the iconic character, because he was showing “too much emotion” and actually respected women, which violates Doyle’s copyright.
Now you may be wondering, why is Doyle’s estate, out of all people and places, filing a lawsuit against the Netflix film? The answer is simple.
If you don’t already know, “Enola Holmes” is based on a series of novels by author Nancy Springer. She decided to create a teenage sister to Sherlock Holmes, accompanying him on his adventures, as well as some of her own.
The novels feature a variety of elements from Doyle’s stories, who is the original creator of Sherlock Holmes. Fortunately, most of the details aren’t covered by copyright, but around ten details still reside under the estate. The estate argued Springer’s stories and Netflix’s film adaptation draw too many key elements and details from those stories, prompting them to move forward with their lawsuit.
This isn’t the first time any kind of Sherlock Holmes-inspired movie has dealt with a lawsuit. The Doyle estate made a somewhat similar argument five years ago against Miramax’s film Mr. Holmes, claiming the film included plot details about his retirement, but doesn’t actually occur until the final stories.
Basically, if any film production company wants the greenlight on producing a Sherlock Holmes film, they need to pay up to the estate, if they even want to consider giving Mr. Holmes any type of personality.
While this lawsuit may seem far-fetched, the Doyle Estate just wants the centuries-old character to retain qualities of his old self. In recent years, Holmes has made the transition from an intelligent man with no heart, to a man who’s not only a great detective, but displays empathy and compassion as well. This may seem as a plus to film-watchers who envy the iconic character, but the estate believes providing more emotionally-complex versions only gives Holmes “multiple personalities”.
As we sit here with confusion, wondering when everything will unfold in this lawsuit, just sick back, and remember the wise words of Cavill: “The legal stuff is above my pay grade.”