It’s been three years in the making, but the fourth season of Sherlock is almost here. The hit detective show starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will return to our screens on January 1st and from what we’ve seen in the trailers and promo footage released so far, it looks to be the most dramatic and darkest outing yet.
As you’d expect, the new episodes have been kept tightly under wraps and are mostly shrouded in secrecy. However, a few interesting facts have slipped out in recent months and here, you’ll find 5 things that we know about the upcoming season.
5) Baby Watson Is Born
If you cast your mind back to 2014, you may remember that John Watson and his wife Mary were expecting a baby girl. In what must be the longest pregnancy ever, Baby Watson will finally be born in the first episode of season 4, bringing a new complication to the lives of the Baker Street boys.
Going by the promotional photos, it looks like Sherlock will have a hard time adjusting to the fact that his best friend has someone new to occupy his attention – which is something that should bring some much needed humour to help balance out the darkness of the rest of the season.
4) Sherlock Gets A New Nemesis
After Jim Moriarty and season 3’s Charles Augustus Magnussen, season 4 will introduce another uber-villain for Sherlock to face. This one will be played by Captain America and The Hunger Games actor Toby Jones. Appearing in at least the second episode, which is titled “The Lying Detective,” Jones’ character will be named Culverton Smith.
Speaking about the new villain in a recent interview, Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat promised fans that Smith is the show’s darkest villain yet, and that he represents pure evil. Suffice to say, we can’t wait to see how that pans out for our titular hero.
3) The Third Holmes Brother Might Appear
— Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss) July 25, 2016
At this July’s San Diego Comic-Con, the Sherlock panel revealed a few one-word hints about the new season. By far, the most interesting of them was “Sherrinford.”
In the wider Sherlock Holmes lore, Sherrinford Holmes is the rarely-seen other brother of Sherlock and Mycroft. An oblique reference has been made to his existence in the past, and with this tease, it seems likely that he’ll be unveiled in season 4. In fact, we might even know who’s playing him.
That’s because at the same event, co-creator and Mycroft actor Mark Gatiss Tweeted a photo of himself and co-star Amanda Abbington with Tom Hiddleston (seen above). He captioned it “Blud,” which is a British slang term for “brother.”
So, was Gatiss deliberately teasing the audience, or is this genuine proof that the Thor star will feature in the show? Thankfully, it’s not long until we get to find out.
2) Moriarty Is Definitely Back
Someone we definitely know will appear is Andrew Scott, reprising his fan favourite role as Sherlock’s nemesis Moriarty. Back at the end of season 3, it was revealed that Moriarty had apparently come back from the dead. Though this was later refuted in last year’s special, “The Abominable Bride,” evidence suggests that the character will return in the new season.
At one point in the Comic-Con trailer, we see someone walking across a beach from behind – eagle-eyed fans will recognize the mysterious man as Andrew Scott. This is also backed up by photos snapped during filming which show the actor on that same beach.
We do know that Moriarty is back in some form, then. The only quesiton is: is this just a flashback or a hallucination, or is he really alive?
1) It Could Be The Last Season
Bad news, Sherlock fans. The cast and crew have let slip that this could potentially be the last ever season of the show, but even if it isn’t, it sounds like it won’t return for an even longer stretch than usual.
“I don’t know how long we can keep it going,” Steven Moffat has said about the future of Sherlock. “I would be moderately surprised if this was the last time we ever made this show. But it absolutely could be.”
Benedict Cumberbatch also added fuel to the flames, saying:
“It feels like the end of an era, to be honest. It goes to a place where it will be pretty hard to follow on immediately.”
Later on, however, Cumberbatch went back on his statement and claimed he only intended to say that season 4 will be “the last one for now.” “If it’s right, we’ll do more,” the actor clarified.
So, while we shouldn’t mourn the show just yet, it does sound like season 4 will act as a climax to everything that’s happened so far. Whether it will act as a full stop or lead to a fresh start for the series in the future, we’ll have to see. If it’s the former though, let’s hope these last few episodes let Sherlock go out with a bang.