By Ross A. Lincoln
“Something’s coming. Maybe it’s Moriarty, maybe it’s not. But something’s coming.” Comic-Con got a first look at Season 4 of Sherlock during today’s panel for the British mystery series. The trailer promises that “everything they know will be tested” and teases an intense, surprisingly action-heavy fourth season that seems closer to John le Carré than Arthur Conan Doyle. In the hall to discuss the upcoming season, which will air in 2017 on PBS, were star Benedict Cumberbatch, co-star Amanda Abbington, co-creators Mark Gatis and Steven Moffat, and producer Sue Vertue.
We’re told this is the darkest thing the showrunners have ever written for the show, and the panelists this morning agreed. Dark, yes, and “a real emotional roller coaster,” Abbington said. But, Gatis added, “with jokes.” Whew.
Not shockingly, the subject of the show’s future came up during the fan Q&A. In a recent interview, Moffat said he would be “mildly surprised” if Season 4 is the last, mainly due to the busy schedules of stars Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. A fan prodded Cumberbatch to agree onstage to come back for Seasons 5, 6, and 7, and after some joking around, Gatis joked, “We can exclusively reveal that there won’t be a fifth season… but there will be a sixth.”
More seriously, Moffat and Gatis clarified that they’ve never said Season 4 would be the last and that they didn’t mean to imply it, chalking it up to the imprecision of the interview process. However, they didn’t confirm a Season 5, so obviously the show has been canceled. Just kidding!
In the end, the panel did manage to let slip what looks like a pretty big clue about the upcoming season. Asked by moderator Chris Hardwick to provide three key words about Season 4, Gatis and Moffat instead opted to provide three names: Thatcher, Smith, and Sherrinford.
Fans of the original Holmes novels know that Sherrinford has particularly crucial importance. For one thing, it was the original name Doyle proposed for his fictional detective. For another, it has been settled on by fans as the name of a hypothetical older Holmes brother. It would seem that Sherlock will be incorporating that fan canon into the show.
Gatis also said of the upcoming season, “Things get resolved and there are evolving relationships.” Said Abbington: “I love playing Mary; she’s sassy, she’s ruthless. All the characters in Sherlock are flawed, making them compelling and great for all the cast to play.”
Hmm. Now, take a look at the trailer above and tell us what you think.
BC: You get a real thrill reading each new script and it’s great to see a real evolution of all the characters especially in S4— Sherlock (@Sherlock221B) July 24, 2016