Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are starring in two of this year's hotly-anticipated blockbuster sequels (Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), in addition to a handful of noteworthy dramas and smaller projects (The Fifth Estate, World's End) AND preparing to start production on the third season of the BBC's mega-popular Sherlock.
However, due to such factors as the actors being high-in-demand - and Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat's responsibilities as head showrunner on Doctor Who - filming has been delayed on season three. Fans may rejoice, as the modernized spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes and Dr. Watson characters, at last, begins production this month.
Deadline is reporting that Sherlock Season 3 read-throughs began today, ahead of shooting getting underway next week. Primetime Emmy-nominee Paul McGuigan directed four of the six previous episodes in the mystery mini-series (including the S1 finale "The Great Game" and S2 opener "A Scandal in Belgravia"), but he's not available to work on season three due to him directing Fox's new Frankenstein.
As a result, the season three premiere episode will be helmed by Jeremy Lovering - whose resume includes the television series Vincent and MI-5 - and at least one, if not both, of the remaining episodes is going to be directed by Colm McCarthy. The latter is also helping to kick-off the second half of Doctor Who Season 7, as he directed Moffat's screenplay for the premiere episode, "The Bells of St. John."
Two of the three episodes in Sherlock Season 3 will shoot before the Summer, at which point filming will enter a temporary break to accommodate the demanding schedules of its stars and head staff. Thereafter, the third episode shoots in the Fall, with a currently-unspecified Winter release date target (early 2014, by the latest).
Each of the 90-minute Sherlock episodes released so far has been a contemporary re-imagining of a Holmes/Watson story that was originally written by Doyle. Moffat confirmed that trend will continue during season 3 last year, when he revealed a three-word tease that alluded to cases like "The Noble Bachelor", "The Giant Rat of Sumatra" and "His Last Bow" (or, rather, perhaps only certain aspects and sub-plots from Holmes' final adventure).
The mini-series' destiny after season three is currently unsettled, but Cumberbatch has said he sees no reason why both he and Freeman cannot continue on playing the eponymous anti-social investigator and his trusted partner for many years to come. So long as the storytelling quality remains up-to-scratch, there's no reason to suspect fans will soon tire of seeing the actors bring Doyle's characters to life.
More on Sherlock Season 3 as the story develops.