Even though there were almost two years between Sherlock seasons 1 and 2, fans need not worry that it will be another long wait before season 3 makes it on the air. Co-creator Steven Moffat promises that it won’t be "too long" before you’ll be seeing Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) back at 221B Baker Street – just don’t expect it to be all that soon.
Speaking with the Radio Times, Moffat emphasizes the time and effort that goes into producing each episode of Sherlock.
"Get used to a bit of starvation. We're making movies - those six films we've made could go in the cinema. You can't factory produce that - it's a different kind of show. So, when we're good and ready - it won't be that long - but when we're ready, you'll get the follow-up."
This comment, while directed more towards British viewers, who are more accustomed with short season runs of popular television series than their over-seas counterparts, highlights not only their intention of wanting to create the absolutely best programming possible, but also the difficulty in doing so.
For all intents and purposes, everyone associated with Sherlock has become a hot commodity in the entertainment industry. With Moffat busy full-time with Doctor Who (and perhaps a Tin-Tin sequel), Cumberbatch cast as the villain in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek 2 and Freeman staring in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit (which Cumberbatch will also be in), it quickly becomes apparent how difficult it would be to fit Sherlock season 3 - essentially 3 feature films – in their schedule.
Thankfully, everyone associated with Sherlock is up for the challenge. Neither Cumberbatch nor Freeman have any intention of leaving the series, and with Moffat being as big of a fan of Sherlock Holmes as Doctor Who, he’s confirmed that he’s in for the long haul – perhaps a longer haul than anyone expected.
While discussing his intentions with the series, Moffat revealed his brilliant plan of wanting to bring Sherlock back 20 years from now, with Cumberbatch and Freeman reprising their roles.
"I fondly imagine it'd be nice to stop it for a while and come back and see what they're like in their 40s or 50s. Because normally these two characters are portrayed in their 50s.
So we're actually at the beginning. It might be interesting in a couple of decades when they come back and [we] see what they're like."
Certainly an intriguing notion for Sherlock Holmes fans, Moffatt’s grand vision does have some precedence in the television world. From 1991-2006, Helen Mirren continuously reprised her role as detective Jane Tennison in the original UK series Prime Suspect. Filming 16 episodes over the course of 15 years, Prime Suspect followed Mirren’s character through the entirety of her career on the force. Add 5 years more years to that and Sherlock might just be one of the greatest television series, featuring one of the literature's greatest characters, ever to air.
But what about Sherlock season 3? What will happen when Sherlock and Watson return to television?
While Moffat is staying quiet about what’s to come, he admits that there’s been a plan in place from the beginning – a plan that is playing out perfectly.
"We knew we had this cliffhanger coming, we knew that we were doing 'The Final Problem', and we did not want people to know that [Holmes] survived.
We wanted to wind the audience up so that the final shot [of series two] would have the impact that it evidently did.
We were commissioned for series two and series three at the same time, but we decided to keep it under wraps that day that series three was in the bag."
Continuing, Moffat highlights some elements that may be included in the future:
"He and Holmes don't always live together and I think that's become a lazy way of doing Sherlock Holmes - they always live together.
They didn't actually and why would they? Nobody flat-shares forever, so there's loads of details we can get in there."
And what about the mischievous Moriarty? While nothing has been set in stone, Andrew Scott, the actor that plays Moriarty, has almost completely ruled out any type of return to the series.
"I have had an absolute blast. He is an extraordinary character to play. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to do it."
Without the wonderfully evil Moriarty, it’s difficult to figure out what direction Sherlock will head in, as it goes into season 3. Thankfully, series creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are not only brilliant writers, but they also know every Sherlock Holmes story inside and out.
So if there’s one duo you should put your faith in more than Sherlock and Watson, it’s Moffat and Gatiss.
Sherlock season 2 will premiere on PBS in May. Expect Sherlock season 3 to premiere Summer 2013
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio