'We’ve made something very complete ... It feels like the end'

By James Hibberd
Updated October 03, 2016 at 07:39 PM EDT

Benedict Cumberbatch is sounding more doubtful than ever about Sherlock continuing.

With the fourth season set for early next year, Cumberbatch tells the UK edition of GQ magazine that although he’d love to continue playing the character, the season has an end-game feel; Cumberbatch suggests it might be awhile before he’ll return to the show.

“It might be the end of an era,” he said. “It feels like the end of an era, to be honest. [Season 4] goes to a place where it will be pretty hard to follow on immediately. 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.”

Sherlock has become progressively more difficult to produce as its stars Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman take on more and more big-screen roles. Each three-episode season is a bit like filming a trio of 90-minute movies. Future seasons have always depended on the stars’ availability, but Cumberbatch’s comments strike a more doubtful note than usual.

For context: The time between season 1 and 2 was a year and a half. Then it was a full two years before fans got season 3. The time between season 3 and 4 — not counting a Christmas special — is a full three years, with the show set to return in January. We suspect a season 5 will eventually happen, but it just might take another three years … or more.

Cumberbatch has Doctor Strange coming out Nov. 4, and is expected to reprise the character in Avengers: Infinity War. Freeman is currently shooting the post-apocalyptic thriller Cargo.

Episode Recaps


Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star in the celebrated U.K. series

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  • In Season
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