Benedict Cumberbatch is open to having a female Sherlock Holmes in the future. The British actor, who has played the contemporary version of the iconic character for four seasons now in the hit BBC TV series Sherlock, has made it clear that he has no problem whatsoever with the thought that a gender switch might be executed for the fan-favorite detective in the future.
Coming off of the huge announcement that long-running British series Doctor Who has tapped Jodie Whittaker to take over Peter Capaldi's spot as the next reincarnation of the eponymous Time Lord, discussions about gender-swapping popular roles in mainstream media have become more frequent than ever. After years of campaigns for a female time-traveling doctor, the Broadchurch star was finally announced to be the Thirteenth regeneration of the character. Admittedly, not everyone was very receptive to the change, with some questioning the decision made by the BBC. Cumberbatch, however, is among those who are thrilled to see Whittaker's take on such a pop culture icon.
Speaking to Variety while promoting his upcoming drama The Child In Time (which is the first venture from his new production company, SunnyMarch), the Oscars-nominated actor leapt to Doctor Who's casting shake-up's defense and expressed his excitement to see Whittaker's version of the Doctor:
“It’s an alien. Why can’t it be a woman, why can’t it be any gender? It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t speak as someone who has the right as a fan to have an incredibly strong opinion. I just speak as someone who wants to see Jodie Whittaker’s performance as the Doctor. I think she’s an extraordinary actress and we're lucky, culturally, to have got her to agree to do it, let alone any debate ensuing about whether it’s right or wrong.”
Given his approval of a female Doctor, Cumberbatch was then asked about his thoughts of possibly also having a female version of his sassy detective role, Sherlock Holmes. Similar to his thoughts on Doctor Who, Cumberbatch does not see any problem with having a female Sherlock Holmes appear on either the small and/or big screen in the future. “Why not? I don’t care. ‘Sherlockina’ is coming to you soon,” he said.
While Cumberbatch does have a point regarding Doctor Who's gender swap, it might be a bit more complicated to do a similar change with Sherlock. The eponymous Time Lord's regeneration every few years (or seasons, with regard to the show itself) provides the series with an opportunity to easily execute the lead modification without having to get into the nitty-gritty of what happened to the other iterations of the character and how come the new one is suddenly female after a slew of men playing the role. Sherlock's various incantations, on the other hand, are all rather independent of one another. As such, should a female Holmes eventually makes her debut on the big and/or small screen, it would presumably be a separate entity from Cumberbatch's version.