The cliffhanger is solveable
At the Sherlock panel in Comic-Con’s Ballroom 20, Steven Moffat (creator, writer), Sue Vertue (producer) and Mark Gatiss (creator, writer, star) were on hand to tease the show’s upcoming third series.
One of the key questions that the trio faced revolved around that cliffhanger in the closing moments of the last episode of series 2. While they wouldn’t give the game away too easily, they did confirm that viewers are able to work out the solution themselves from the evidence on display.
And it’s set to be a rational explanation, one they had planned before they shot the second series’ closing scenes.
Although Benedict Cumberbatch did have his own explanation…
Signal has been lost
Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t actually present in the Ballroom to join the panel, although he did provide a rather special video message, which proves that he really should do more comedy.
Addressing the camera, Cumberbatch went into a spoilerific discussion about the identity of Star Trek Into Darkness villain John Harrison, before being told he wasn’t here to discuss that film.
Taken aback, he went on to talk about what he was obviously here to cover… his role as Smaug in The Hobbit: Part 2 .
When it was finally explained to him that he was here to discuss Sherlock (“But that’s a TV show…”), he went into a detailed analysis of how the Baker Street sleuth survived the fall from the building, using cuddly toys for illustration. Sadly for the audience though, there was a problem with the signal and the sound cut out, just as he was about to explain quite how Sherlock managed to survive. Drat.
Martin Freeman's still in character
The attendees were also treated to a video message from Martin Freeman, in full Hobbit get-up.
Dressed as a bedraggled Bilbo Baggins, he explained that he was just wrapping up his scenes on Peter Jackson’s epic, before returning to the UK to film the final episode of series 3 (which is currently two down, one to go).
Freeman and Cumberbatch’s recently found movie megastardom was the topic of much discussion, with Moffat pointing out that casting the pair now would’ve been practically impossible.
Good thing he bagged them when he did…
There are clues for the new stories
The creative trio were asked about the clues that have been dropped for the next three episodes: rat, wedding, bow.
The clues each represent an episode, with the first – ‘The Empty Hearse’ – set to be based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Empty House’.
As with their previous adaptations though, Moffat and Gatiss confirmed that the original story would provide the basis for the inspiration, before being heavily expanded on (Conan Doyle’s slim tales only providing enough material for about 20 minutes of TV each).
As for the rat, we know it’ll be in there somehow, but for now we’re not quite so sure. Hints were made about the emotional core of the episode though…
The fall has an impact
What the team were willing to say about the first episode involved the impact that Sherlock’s return would have on his nearest and dearest: in particular, John Watson.
It seems that they’ll be exploring the idea that it’s actually quite upsetting to come to terms with the loss of a friend who then suddenly reappears. Could TV’s greatest bromance be at stake?
Gatiss also confirmed that his Mycroft would be left reeling from the discovery.
But that’s not the only major development in the third series…
Alarm bells are ringing
**Potential spoilers follow **
When asked whether the ‘wedding’ clue for the second episode meant we’d get to see Watson getting hitched, Moffat confirmed it: “Hot off the presses, 110 years ago…” he deadpanned. “We hoped you wouldn’t go ahead and read on.”
So, Watson will be hitting a major life milestone, with Moffat claiming that the thought of Sherlock acting as Best Man was too delicious an opportunity to pass up.
And while the team admitted that the first episode would inevitably go to some dark places, they insisted that there would be a lot of humour this time out, and they brought some evidence to prove it…
The first clip has been revealed
Knowing how to whip a Comic-Con audience into a frenzy, Moffat, Vertue and Gatiss came armed with an exclusive clip from the second episode of series 2.
We were sworn to Con-secrecy into not revealing the contents of said clip, although trust us when we say that it went down very well with the crowd.
Without giving away any plot details, it showcased a wonderful lightness of touch, and had the crowd in stitches. We’re now even more desperate to see the full episodes, which won’t air on the US’s PBS until ‘early 2014’, with a UK release yet to be confirmed.
There could be another cliffhanger
Moffat faced a question on whether series 3 would end in a cliffhanger, in keeping with the tradition of its previous two series.
While, naturally, he didn’t go into any details, he did give an impression of how he wanted the audience to react to the final episode.
Acting out their supposed reaction, Moffat claimed he was hoping for a series of “They woudn’t stop it there… would they?” responses from viewers.
Whether that means he’s planning a Lord Of The Rings -style series of multiple endings, we’re not sure, but it does look like the wait for series 4 could end up being as tense and unbearable as the gap between series 2 and 3.
Is series 4 on the cards?
When the topic of a fourth season of the show came up, Moffat claimed that the interest that Cumberbatch has declared will help the commission (calling his involvement, “the most important signature”).
Vertue went on to add that a fourth series had been optioned, but that they weren’t sure when it would actually be made.
The general gist from the creative trio was that as long as everyone wanted to keep doing it, they would keep coming back for more.
The future looks good for Sherlock
Gatiss went on to point out how much they liked Sherlock ’s mould-breaking format: rather than just cranking out series after series, Cumberbatch and Freeman’s movie appointments have meant that there has been a longer wait between series than you get on the average TV show.
This means that, rather than saturating the market, it actually leaves the audience hungry for more, and allows the characters room to breathe and grow on screen.
It was even mentioned that it’d be nice to see Cumberbatch and Freeman’s Holmes and Watson sitting round a fireplace aged 55, much closer to the age that most people know the characters to be. Good thing they got an early start…
And while Watson might be tying the knot, there’s not set to be any romance on Sherlock’s horizon. Although Molly will continue to be a key character, Vertue confirmed that her arc would not go “the way that Tumblr thinks it’s going to go.”
Despite maintaining a cloak of secrecy, the panel dropped enough clues to have us feeling pretty confident that the future is bright for Sherlock . Roll on the series 3 premiere…
Are you a Sherlock fan? Looking forward to the third series? Tell us below…