Sherlock is set to debut its highly anticipated fourth season next month, and costar Benedict Cumberbatch - who portrays the title character Sherlock Holmes in a modern setting - has teased in the past that the three episode installment could potentially serve as the last season for the show. Of course, Cumberbatch has not entirely ruled out future seasons either, if the story is right. Conflicted messages aside, given the actor's rise to fame - most recently as the lead in Doctor Strange - moving on from the BBC show would seem like a natural step.
However, showrunner Steven Moffat recently opened up about the lingering rumors of Sherlock and its possible ending, revealing that the end may not be as close as fans may think.
Via EW, Moffat says that Cumberbatch was misquoted in regards to Sherlock ending, and the actor is very excited at the prospect of the show continuing on. Moffat did stress that they intend to keep the quality of the show high and that getting the cast together for filming is difficult, while acknowledging that the possibility of the show ending is always there with every season. Moffat's full answer is available below:
This is really worth saying because it’s getting exhausting for us all. That’s not what Benedict said. That’s what someone edited his words into the meaning of. It seems to be impossible these days not to be misquoted. He was quite specific about being keen to carry on. [It's] hard to get us all together. We want to keep the quality up. We haven’t even seen this [season air] yet. We don’t know. We haven’t sat down with the intent to anything yet. But we’re always aware that it could be over. But the fact is Benedict did not say that.
While it's certainly a good idea to take the showrunner at his word when talking about the status of Sherlock, Martin Freeman, who plays John Watson and serves as the other costar, recently expressed doubt at the future of the show as well, saying season 4 had a feeling of "pause" to it. Again, though, Martin did not altogether rule out the possibility of more.
If Moffat is indeed still dedicated to making more Sherlock, as his above comments suggest, it seems more likely than not that fans will get a fifth season at some point or another. BBC seemingly has no problem working around Cumberbatch and Freeman's schedules, and mixed in with the short three episode count, the future is not as dark for Sherlock as previously believed.
The downside is that it may be years before a season 5 materializes, if the three plus year gap between season 3 and 4 is any indication. With Cumberbatch's Marvel duties no doubt growing as he becomes more of an integral part of the MCU, the wait for season 5 could prove to be even longer than that. Still, if the quality is consistently good, most fans are probably willing to bear with Moffat and the cast of Sherlock if it eventually leads to future episodes.
Sherlock season 4 premieres January 1, 2017 with "The Six Thatchers" on BBC.