Much has changed over the (almost) two years that've passed since Sherlock season 2 aired. Show leads Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (John Watson) reunited onscreen as a halfling and dragon, Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat introduced the world to a new time-traveler - played by Peter Capaldi - on Doctor Who, and another contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective popped up in New York.
Meanwhile, in the Sherlock universe, rumors have persisted that the eponymous high-functioning sociopath is still alive, despite his apparent demise (read: plunge to his death) two years earlier in the events depicted in "The Reichenbach Fall." Of course, time waits for no man - not even the great Sherlock Holmes - and though his old police acquaintances continue to debate him being alive (or not) many months later, Watson has seemingly abandoned his vow to serve as Sherlock's bro for life (remember when he made that?) and - gasp! - started to move on with his life, as symbolized by his newly-grown (but soon to be shaven) facial hair.
However, when London is threatened by a mysterious terrorist attack, Sherlock emerges from the shadows and seeks to reconcile ties with Watson - who, understandably, is somewhat displeased about his friend having faked his death and not contacted him in two years. Thereafter, the pair face their most terrifying and daunting challenge to date: Watson's impending marriage ceremony (also, there's a killer at the reception, or something).
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Also featured in these images (via Bleeding Cool) are Sherlock season 3 cast additions Amanda Abbington (Case Histories) as Watson's object of affection (both on and off-screen), Alice Lowe (The World's End) playing a mystery character (nurse?), and Lars Mikkelsen (Headhunter) as Charles Augustus Magnussen - a diabolical fiend and the one man who Sherlock truly despises. Maybe he just really wants to be Sherlock's friend, and the latter's rejection drives Magnussen to blackmail important figures around the Western world.
In general, Sherlock season 3 looks to offer the same quality of entertainment as the previous seasons, beginning with the titular sleuth's emotional wound-opening return in "The Empty Hearse" (written by series co-creator Mark Gatiss), followed by what may be the comparatively light-weight antics of John's wedding in "The Sign of Three" (penned by "The Reichenbach Fall" writer Steve Thompson). After that, we'll see if Moffat can end the season with a bang, through his script for "His Last Vow."
Sherlock season 3 premieres on BBC One on January 1st, 2014, before it returns to PBS later that same month on January 19th.
Source: Bleeding Cool