Earlier this year, Netflix released a film, directed by Harry Bradbeer, entitled “Enola Holmes.” The film focused on the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, who travels to London in search of their missing mother, and is based on novels by Nancy Springer. It stars Millie Bobby Brown as the titular character, Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes, Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes, and Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes, the matron of the family.
Enola was raised single-handedly by Eudoria, taught traditionally “unethical” things such as chess, jiu jitsu, so on and so forth. When she wakes up on her 16th birthday, her mother has disappeared and left her only a few gifts for her birthday. Her more famous brothers soon arrive. Mycroft, the eldest brother, has taken over the Holmes estate in Eudoria’s absence. He does not seem to sense that Enola is just as clever as Sherlock and Eudoria. Sherlock, however, seems to recognize this and appears to encourage her behavior throughout the film.
Full of twists and a clever romantic subplot, “Enola Holmes” (2020) is a film for the ages. However, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle, the original creator of Sherlock Holmes, seems to believe otherwise. The estate is suing Netflix, Springer, and her publisher, Penguin Random House, for drawing from 10 copyrighted works for the publications and the film. They claim that the personality of Sherlock Holmes is based upon those works that are still protected, portraying more emotion than his typical “aloof” personality.
The estate claims that Springer and Netflix used material from the copyrighted works to paint Sherlock with a more human appearance than described in the works within the public domain. However, the only warmth that the character seems to have lies with his willingness to allow his sister to pursue her dream of finding their mother. His respect for his sister seemingly goes against their copyright. The case has not yet been decided, though there seems to be very little basis in support of the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle.