It’s been well over a year since the last episode of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ modern detective series Sherlock aired – and we still have to wait until the unspecified winter release date to see more – but fans of the show can now celebrate the fact that it has officially started filming again. Progress was stymied by the involvement of its stars – Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman – in major projects like Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Hobbit respectively, but Cumberbatch has promised that we’ll be seeing at least one more season after this one.

The show’s co-creator and actor behind Mycroft Holmes, Mark Gatiss, has already dropped a few hints as to what this new season might bring – the most notable being the reveal of the three ‘teaser words’: Rat, Wedding, Bow.

Gatiss dropped similar hints for season 2, and the three words corresponded to plot elements in each of the three episodes, so we can expect a similar set-up this time round. Two of the new episodes will be directed by Jeremy Lovering (Spooks, Vincent) and the third will be directed by Colm McCarthy, who also helmed the upcoming Doctor Who episode “The Bells of St. John“.

Bleeding Cool has rounded up some details regarding Sherlock season 3, starting with a tweet from Gatiss, who finally reveals the title of the first episode:

Exclusive! Ep 1 will be called The Empty Hearse. The game is on!

The episode title, like most of the previous ones, is a variation on the name of a story by Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle. In this case it’s The Adventure of the Empty House, which was originally published in 1903 after Doyle had faced much public outcry for killing off his beloved character in The Final Problem.

WARNING: SHERLOCK SEASON 2 FINALE SPOILERS BELOW!!!

Gatiss and Moffat faced similar despair and excitement from Sherlock fans after the final episode of season 2, “The Reichenbach Fall”, concluded with Sherlock throwing himself off the roof of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and apparently dying – only to later be seen lurking by his own graveside. It will be interesting to see the reveal on how the character pulled off his “magic trick” – somehow managing to survive a five-story fall unscathed.

Gatiss’ tweet also included this picture of the very first slate of the new season, with a tantalising glimpse of the set reflected in it. Is that shadowy object a plot-crucial prop, or simply a studio light? Could that mysterious silhouetted figure be the outline of the famous detective himself, or simply a random grip who happened to wander into the photo? We can only hope that Gatiss keeps his finger on the social media trigger for the rest of this production block, to offer more glimpses into the long-awaited third season.

A final piece of information that has emerged is the casting of actor Tomi May in the episode, who seems like a likely candidate for the role of Moriarty’s right-hand man, Sebastian Moran. May posted an update on his Twitter page a few days ago revealing that he was on his way to rehearsals for the show.

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Sherlock season 3 will air in late 2013/early 2014.

Source: Bleeding Cool