221b Baker Street will swing open its doors early next year with the fourth season of Sherlock, BBC’s critically-adorned spy series that places Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, but could it herald the show’s swan song? According to co-creator Steven Moffat, “it absolutely could be.”
Word comes by way of the Telegraph, where Moffat touched base on Sherlock season 4 ahead of its bow in 2017. Talk inevitably turned to its leading duo, Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, with Moffat conceding that he’s frankly surprised the BBC was able to secure both actors for a fourth season.
Alas, it’s a conundrum that has only become more pressing with each passing season, as Freeman and Cumberbatch’s star power continues to grow exponentially through big-budget blockbusters in the vein of Doctor Strange. Scheduling headaches have presented a problem in the past – it’s part of the reason Moffat and co-creator Mark Gatiss opt for three extended episodes – and the former concedes that Sherlock may not be on the airwaves for very much longer.
“I don’t know how long we can keep it going. I’m personally willing but I’m hardly the main draw. I would be moderately surprised if this was the last time we ever made this show. But it absolutely could be.”
This isn’t the first time that Moffat has hinted at the show’s inevitable conclusion, though fans had at least expected that Sherlock‘s arc would stretch into a fifth season. Whether this latest development has any bearing on the story of season 4 remains to be seen, but we understand that Amanda Abbington, Una Stubs, Rupert Graves, Jonathan Aris, Louise Brealey and newcomer Toby Jones are among the cast.