Times were simpler when Sherlock premiered on the BBC back in 2010. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman weren't international superstars, for one thing, so it was easier to assume that the show could run uninterrupted for years on end. But because the two actors have become household names and highly coveted for roles in film and television, it's been difficult to keep any sort of regular schedule. Ten episodes have been produced thus far: 2010, 2012, and 2014 saw the release of three-episode seasons (or "series," as the Brits call them), and The Abominable Bride rounded things out early this year. We know that Season 4 is coming out sometime next year, but following comments from the showrunner that we may be approaching the end of the show, Cumberbatch has hinted (via British GQ) at the possibility that he's worn the deerstalker for the last time:
“It might be the end of an era. 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. 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.”
I'm torn about this. It sounds like the upcoming season leaves the characters in a place which could be considered a real ending, so on one hand I'm glad that they aren't thinking about potentially ending on a cliffhanger. But on the other hand, I'm disappointed at the idea that this could be the end. Greedily, I just wish we could have gotten more out of this creative team in the time since the show began, and I'm not ready for it to go yet. But creator/showrunner Steven Moffat seemed to think that it's "unlikely" that season 4 will be the last season, hinting that they could just take a few years off and eventually revisit the show down the line when schedules align.
The future of the show is a mystery Sherlock himself might have trouble solving at this point, but in the meantime, we'll be anticipating the upcoming fourth season as its 2017 release approaches. Check out the trailer here.