How Doctor Strange Affected Benedict Cumberbatch During Sherlock Season 4

sherlock benedict cumberbatch season 4

Benedict Cumberbatch became an international star of the small screen back in 2010 when he made his debut as leading man of the BBC detective series Sherlock. In the years since, he has expanded his career to include leading roles on the big screen as well, and 2016 was a huge year for him as he starred in Marvel's smash hit feature film Doctor Strange. Cumberbatch is returning to television to kick off 2017 with Sherlock Season 4. I spoke with Sherlock director Rachel Talalay about what we could expect in Season 4, and she said this about a connection between Cumberbatch's Sherlock and his Doctor Strange:

Benedict just finished Doctor Strange. He came straight off the set of Doctor Strange onto my set. Because the existence of Benedict as Sherlock existed well before his existence as Doctor Strange, I don't think he brought Doctor Strange. I think that Doctor Strange's humor probably finds some elements in Sherlock. I think it's the other way around. I think Doctor Strange finds Sherlock, not the other way around.

Rachel Talalay directed the Sherlock Season 4 premiere, which will be called "The Six Thatchers" and unfold as a modern take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle story called "The Six Napoleons." The plots of "The Six Thatchers" and Doctor Strange already sounded about as different as different can be, but the close timing of the beginning of Sherlock Season 4 and the end of Doctor Strange meant that Benedict Cumberbatch could potentially bring elements of Doctor Strange to Sherlock Holmes. As it turns out, fans don't have to be on the lookout for nods to Doctor Strange throughout "The Six Thatchers."

We probably won't recognize anything in Season 4 as directly connected to Doctor Strange, but those who saw traits of Sherlock in Doctor Strange weren't just imagining things. Sherlock is arguably Benedict Cumberbatch's most iconic role to date, and he's the only character that Cumberbatch has returned to time and time again throughout his career. It makes sense that he'd be more likely to channel some of his inner Sherlock on other projects than bring other characters to his version of Sherlock, no matter how the timing for filming works out.

All of this said, Rachel Talalay revealed that Benedict Cumberbatch did carry one aspect of his Doctor Strange performance over to Sherlock. Talalay revealed the way that Cumberbatch brought his Marvel character to the BBC, saying this:

Occasionally he did the Doctor Strange accent because of my American accent. He occasionally did his American Doctor Strange accent to me on set, which amused me.

Fans don't need to worry that Sherlock will suddenly sound American when he returns to TV with "The Six Thatchers." Benedict Cumberbatch apparently switched over to his Doctor Strange accent during filming for the Sherlock premiere, but he kept it behind the scenes. Sherlock will still have his English accent, he'll still solve mysteries without any mysticism, and he'll presumably do so without a long flowing cloak a la Doctor Strange. In fact, it sounds like the biggest change will simply be that Sherlock has become more humanized for Season 4, and Cumberbatch certainly won't have borrowed that from his performance in Doctor Strange.

Luckily, we don't need to wait much longer to see Benedict Cumberbatch back in action as Sherlock Holmes. Rachel Talalay's "The Six Thatchers" will reunite Cumberbatch with Martin Freeman for their first contemporary episode of Sherlock since early 2014 in just a few days. You can catch "The Six Thatchers" on Sunday, January 1 on PBS.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).