When it comes to the BBC’s Sherlock, series co-creator Steven Moffat is nearly in Matthew Weiner territory regarding secrecy. But in a recent interview with EW, the Sherlock scribe shared a few tidbits about what fans can expect from the new season, and his thoughts on piracy, fan fiction, and more:
1. The Format
Let’s get the basics down, first: Moffat says there will be three stand-alone films that are 90 minutes each, like the other seasons. There will also be an ongoing mystery (again, like the prior three seasons have had). The game is afoot!
2. The Story
Regarding the trajectory of the Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) / John Watson (Martin Freeman) relationship, that:
The first series was all about the beginning of their friendship. Second about the formative stages, the love and fear and loss and all that. The third was good days, me and my pal and my pal’s wife. Those are golden days. The missing element in a lot of Sherlock Holmes adaptations is allowing it to be funny. There’s a lot of humor in Sherlock Holmes, and it’s ignored in a lot of adaptations. [Season 4] is going to be… I suppose you’d say… consequences. It’s consequences. Chickens come to roost. It’s dark in some ways—obviously it’s great fun and a Sherlock Holmes romp and all that—but there’s a sense of… things… coming back to bite you. It’s not a safe, sensible way to live. It’s hilarious and exhilarating some days, but some days it’s going to be bloody frightening.
Amen about the humor. It’s one of the things that makes Sherlock such a joy to watch. But, Moffat also said to “remember where we left them,” (regarding Holmes, Watson and Mary — played by Amanda Abbington), going on to also say that “there are answers coming to questions which nobody has asked. There’s one thing that no one has really brought up…” (!! ??)
3. “Benedict and Martin”
Moffat had a lot of effusive praise for both men, of course, saying (to a question about what other challenges they might give them, acting-wise, this season) that,
The reason we still have Benedict and Martin is we still give them acting challenges. Otherwise they wouldn’t come and play with us. They don’t need the money. What we give them in terms of money isn’t something they’d regard as a significant fee anymore. We’re making this in a shed in Wales. We think really carefully about giving them something to play because they’re both amazing actors.
He also noted that though the wait between seasons is hard, it’s part of having these two major actors star in the series. (Worth it, obviously).
4. The Return of Moriarty?
Though Moffat also praised Andrew Scott, he said that Moriarty is not actually a central figure in the original Holmes stories (many of which deal with small-scale crimes), and the series wanted to go bold with their storytelling in killing him off. However, he did said that Scott has been asking if he’ll be coming back for flashbacks (or teases like in Season 3), though Moffat left that idea dangling.
5. The Gap Between the British and American Premieres
About this, Moffat spoke passionately, agreeing with criticism from fans that if the product is not available, it’s the vendor’s fault. Moffat says it’s up to PBS, but he’s seen the shift with less piracy for Doctor Who once BBC America started airing it on the same night it premieres in Britain.
6. Fan Fiction
Moffat also commented on fan fiction (even slash fic!), which he does not disparage,
There’s been some eye-watering stuff of Benedict and Martin together. A load of it has been superb. There’s a tendency to disparage it. I don’t agree. Even the slash fiction, that’s a great way to learn to work. No one really does three-act structure, but just trying to put words that make somebody else turned on, that’s going to teach you more about writing than any writing college you can go to. It’s creative and exciting. I refuse to mock it—because I’m a man who writes Sherlock Holmes fan fiction for a living!
Season 4 feels eons away, but in the meantime, we’ll have the show’s Victorian Christmas Special to look forward to as well (Season 4 should premiere around the same time, but who knows!)