Could Season 4 Be the End for Sherlock?


Sherlock Season 4 is coming in 2017. But rumor has it – yes, again – that this new installment might be the show’s swan song. 

Benedict Cumberbatch has the internet all in a tizzy again. And it’s not for the usual reasons.

During a recent interview with British GQ, it appears that the actor implied that his mega-popular British mystery series Sherlock may have run its course. He even hinted that the upcoming fourth season – set to premiere in early 2017 – could be its last.

Oh, dear.

"“It might be the end of an era. It feels like the end of an era, to be honest. [Season 4] goes to a place where it will be pretty hard to follow on immediately,” Cumberbatch told the magazine. “We never say never on the show. I’d love to revisit it, I’d love to keep revisiting it, I stand by that, but in the immediate future we all have things that we want to crack on with and we’ve made something very complete as it is, so I think we’ll just wait and see. The idea of never playing him again is really galling.”"

Well, that certainly doesn’t sound as though we’ll be getting another new series in 2018 or anything. But no one who’s a die-hard Sherlock fan would ever really expect that anyway.

Let’s face it – with very rare exceptions (i.e. one-off specials like The Abominable Bride), we’re only getting new Sherlock roughly every two years. And that’s a best case scenario. The series’ cast and creative team have always been super busy with other projects, and that doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. The scheduling intricacies involved in putting a three-month Sherlock shoot together have always been daunting. Production has been delayed and reshuffled more than once at various points. Basically: If you watch Sherlock, you’ve already gotten really good at waiting.

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 24: (L-R) Producer Sue Vertue, actors Amanda Abbington and Benedict Cumberbatch, writer/producer Steven Moffat, and actor/writer/producer Mark Gatiss attend the press call for ‘Sherlock’ during Comic-Con International 2016 at Hilton Bayfront on July 24, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

So what does all that mean for the future of the show?

Here’s the thing: Some version of the rumor that the show is ending has surfaced at least once during the production of every season of Sherlock since it exploded in popularity way back in 2010. Please calm down, internet. There’s no real reason to assume this year’s version of that rumor is any more true than the previous ones were.

Does it seem likely that Sherlock will continue to take long breaks between seasons? Heck yeah. It seems possible – even probable, maybe – that given the massive success of the show’s stars, those breaks between seasons could get even longer. (Both Cumberbatch and co-star Martin Freeman are in Marvel movies now. Y’all know how that promotional grind goes.)

It’s even possible that the show really is going to hang it up after Season 4.

But, I doubt it.

At the Sherlock panel San Diego Comic Con this past July, Moffat was quite adamant about the fact that he’s never claimed that Season 4 would be the series’ finale. In fact, he actually said that he’d be surprised if the show ended after this season. (Don’t believe me? Check out this video of the panel Q&A starting at around 5:55. Or read this Telegraph interview.)

All of that doesn’t mean that the show is guaranteed to go on, of course. And none of us know how long the powers that be will be able to wrangle the increasingly demanding schedules of all the folks involved.

Next: Two Sherlock Season 4 Episode Titles Revealed

But, remember that every time any member of Team Sherlock is asked about whether or not the show could continue, they’ve all said they’d like to keep making it for years ino the future. And there’s something very appealing about the idea of checking back in with this Holmes and Watson once every handful of years to see how they progress into old age. That’s all still possible. It’s just likely that we’re going to have to wait a while for all of that to happen.

Which is kind of our current status quo anyway, yeah?

Keep calm and carry on, Sherlock fandom. We’re going to be okay.