Sherlock: Will There Be A Season 5? Here's What We Know

(Welcome to Will There Be Another Season?, a series where we answer that question and explore what comes next.)

It's been four and a half years since "Sherlock," the series that helped catapult Benedict Cumberbatch into being a household name back in 2010, aired its most recent episode. "The Final Problem" aired in January of 2017, and even before it arrived, fans were wondering if we would ever see another season (or "series," as the Brits call it) of the stylish mystery show. Here's what co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have said about the possibility of getting the gang back together.

Rather Depends on Our Two Stars

The biggest obstacle to "Sherlock" getting a fifth season is, ironically, the popularity of the men whom the show helped turn into worldwide stars. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are incredibly in-demand performers, and dipping in and out of gigantic film franchises naturally takes up a considerable amount of their time. It took seven years for the showrunners to be able to orchestrate four seasons of three 90-minute episodes, so it's always been a struggle to get all of the schedules to align, and that's only become more pronounced as the two actors have grown in popularity.

But the showrunners are open to coming back. In a now-deleted Facebook post from 2017, Moffat wrote:

"Re: Sherlock's future – for those of you asking, it's definitely the end. Of Chapter One. Dr Watson is now Doyle's brave widower and Sherlock Holmes has become the wise and humane version of the main run of the stories (we've focused, so far, on the cold Holmes of the early days.) Whether we ever get to Chapter Two – our boys consciously living the myth and battling wrong-doers – rather depends on our two stars. I'd be slightly surprised if we never made it again. But I've been surprised before."

What Would Sherlock Season 5 Be Like?

In the closing moments of "Sherlock" season 4, Gatiss and Moffat played with the idea of flashing text that read "The Beginning" on the screen, but ultimately thought it was too cheesy and refrained from doing so. The reason that idea came to mind echoes what Moffat said in that previous comment: a new season would be the "beginning" of a set of adventures with the more familiar, traditional versions of these characters instead of the younger, up-and-coming versions. In an interview with RadioTimes, Gatiss talked about how the first four seasons were "really a backstory" for Holmes and Watson, serving as a possible springboard into different stories.

"The reason we [ended with] Rathbone Place is that, actually, if we do come back – and we would love to come back – we could absolutely very easily start with a knock at the door and Sherlock saying to John, 'Do you want to come out and play?'. They have become the two heroes that we always knew them to be." 

In that same interview, Moffat explained that the character of Sherlock has finally learned that his humanity, which he previously tried to suppress because he viewed it as a weakness or a liability, is actually one of his biggest strengths. That gives him an edge over his two siblings, Eurus (Sian Brooke) and Mycroft (played by Gatiss).

"He isn't as smart as Eurus, he isn't as smart as Mycroft, but he is always going to win against them because he is better and stronger. That is him becoming the Sherlock Holmes of Basil Rathbone and [fellow Holmes actor] Jeremy Brett, the one we're used to, the wise old man...who is still terrifying and still cold but has a heart that you never doubt."

Moffat pointed out that season 4's ending could work as a natural conclusion to the overall show if necessary, whereas previous seasons ended with "whopping great cliffhangers" that were begging to be resolved. Still, last we heard, he and Gatiss were "not planning" for season 4 to be the final installment of the show, so maybe one day, if Cumberbatch and Freeman's schedules happen to have a hole in them at the same time as Gatiss and Moffat's, we could see Sherlock and Watson ride again. Yes, "Sherlock" fans, the game is afoot – only this time, "the game" is coordinating the schedules for global superstars.