The first trailer for Enola Holmes, the film starring Millie Bobby Brown that focuses on Sherlock Holmes’ brilliant teenage sister, arrived as Netflix was in the middle of a lawsuit for the project.
Enola Holmes is based on a series of books by Nancy Springer that reinvents the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by putting Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister at the heart of a series. Although the film focuses on Enola, the lawsuit brought by Doyle’s estate specifically concerns Sherlock (played by Henry Cavill). Doyle’s estate is suing Netflix (alongside Springer, Penguin Random House, and the film production company associated with the film) over the way Sherlock is portrayed; in essence, he’s way too nice. I guess that shines through in the trailer. There’s a scene where Sherlock defends his fiery sister against his older brother, Mycroft, who is upset that she is… a human being, basically.
The trial in general is pretty savage. Some court rulings in the early 2010s concluded that many Doyle stories are in the public domain, so Springer has the right to borrow from them without violating copyright rules. There is however a series of 10 stories that are still protected by copyright. The estate is suing because it alleges that Enola Holmes goes back to some of those 10 stories and therefore infringes their copyright. If Netflix wants to use a version of Sherlock Holmes that cares about people, they need to license that version of the character because it is different from the version available in the public domain.
Here is a section of the lawsuit that explains how Doyle obtained his two different versions of Sherlock Holmes.
After the stories that are now in the public domain, and before the copyrighted stories, the Great War happened. During World War I, Conan Doyle lost his eldest son, Arthur Alleyne Kingsley. Four months later, he lost his brother, Brigadier-General Innes Doyle. When Conan Doyle returned to Holmes in the protected stories between 1923 and 1927, it was no longer enough for the character of Holmes to be the most brilliant rational and analytical mind. Holmes needed to be human. The character needed to develop human connection and empathy.
Conan Doyle made the surprising artistic decision to evolve his most famous character – known around the world as a heartless brain – into a character with a heart. Holmes got hotter. He has become capable of friendship. He could express his emotions. He began to respect women.
Independently! This version of Sherlock Holmes Is have feelings, and quite frankly i stan.