Fans of BBC's Sherlock have had to be very patient thanks to the long gaps between seasons. Over the past six years, there have only been three seasons and ten episodes total. Luckily, another set of adventures for Sherlock Holmes and John Watson is finally on the way for 2017. Now, star Benedict Cumberbatch has an idea of how much longer the series could last. Cumberbatch said this about the possible future for Sherlock after Season 4:
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.
Sherlock has had a pretty decent run, all things considered. The careers of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have really taken off since the Sherlock premiere back in 2010, so we can count ourselves lucky that we've gotten as much of Sherlock and John as we have. Besides, the show has been so twisty and turn-y in the past few seasons that it may run out of crazy "Gotcha!" endings sooner rather than later. If Season 4 comes to a solid conclusion--and Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be indicating it might--perhaps it would be best to say goodbye to Sherlock.
That said, Sherlock has come back from impossible places before. Ends of eras don't feel entirely permanent when it comes to a world in which the lead character can so convincingly fake his own death that even his medical professional best friend didn't know he survived. Moriarty seems to be the villain who continues his villainy no matter how dead he appears. Even if Sherlock does seem to end after Season 4, who's to say that it could never return at a later date?
Benedict Cumberbatch certainly seems willing to stick with it. He went on in his chat with UK's GQ to say this about an end for Sherlock:
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.
Considering that Benedict Cumberbatch is less than a month away from making his grand Marvel debut with the premiere of Doctor Strange, it makes sense that he'd want to focus on some non-Sherlock roles for the time being. Doctor Strange could be the movie that makes or breaks Cumberbatch's big screen premiere. Still, Sherlock is really a timeless character. Unless Sherlock is blown to smithereens in the final scene of Season 4, there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to reprise the role at any point in the future.
Luckily, we don't have to start panicking about the end of Sherlock just yet. We have at least three whole episodes ahead of us with Season 4. The next set promise to be darker and more intense than ever when they premiere in 2017, and the new big bad sounds intriguing. The first episode will debut on BBC on January 1, 2017 and usually hits the schedule in the US around the same time. In the meantime, you can check out our fall TV premiere schedule to see what else you can watch to pass the time before Sherlock Season 4.