Exclusive: Robert Downey Jr. Getting His Own Sci-Fi Detective Movie

Robert Downey Jr will star in a future dystopian detective story titled The Nightshade Chronicles, directed by Shane Black.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

Robert Downey Jr

Robert Downey Jr will star in The Nightshade Chronicles, a dystopian science fiction story directed by Lethal Weapon creator Shane Black. According to our trusted and proven sources, the Iron Man actor will be reteaming with his frequent collaborator for a story about a retired detective brought back into action to solve a series of murders, which is about a classic of a noir story as it gets. While Robert Downey Jr has kept a relatively low profile since the end of his run with Marvel, it appears he is increasingly ready to get back on the screen.

The Nightshade Chronicles will star Robert Downey Jr as a retired detective who is brought into an active investigation into a series of brutal murders in a future dystopia, which certainly has some Blade Runner vibes. Further details of the plot are still scarce, but given director Shane Black’s track record, it is likely that it will take place sometime around Christmas, involve a downtrodden protagonist who finds himself rediscovering a spark for life, and likely involve a voiceover narration from Robert Downey Jr. 

Robert Downey Jr and Shane Black first worked together on the latter’s directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005. At the time, RDJ had just begun to surface from a long career slump following legal issues and long-term drug abuse (to the point that his friend Mel Gibson personally had to pay to insure him for a film), while Black himself was also emerging from a lean period after his 1990s heyday. While Kiss Kiss Bang Bang only broke even at the box office, it was critically well-regarded and served as a comeback vehicle for both men.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Since then, it is obvious that Robert Downey Jr and Shane Black enjoy working together. RDJ appeared in a crucial cameo in Black’s 2016 neo-noir action comedy The Nice Guys, and Black was recruited to both write and direct Iron Man 3, one of the more unusual and comedic Marvel movies. Black and Robert Downey Jr are also set to revive the hardboiled Parker series (based on the novels by Richard Stark, aka Donald E. Westlake) for Amazon Prime Video, so the duo is clearly not stopping anytime soon. 

Interestingly, there is a series of novels titled The Nightshade Chronicles by writer Hilary Wagner and illustrator Omar Rayyan, but given that they are children’s books about a civilization of super-intelligent rats underneath a modern city, we are pretty sure (mostly, anyway) that they are unrelated to Robert Downey Jr’s new project. Considering that the actor had one of his biggest failures with a movie about CGI talking animals with Doolittle, it would stand to reason he would avoid that genre for the time being. 

While Doolittle is the only film Robert Downey Jr has starred in since Avengers: Endgame, he has a whole slew of upcoming projects. The aforementioned Parker project with Shane Black is titled Play Dirty, and he will also appear in the upcoming Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer.