BySean Erickson, writer at
Exploring the area between movie geek and film nerd.
Sean Erickson

It already been over a year since we last saw Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as his loyal friend John Watson. And we still have a while to wait for Season 4 of Sherlock to officially kick off sometime in 2016. But in true BBC fashion, we will be getting a Christmas special this year that is being considered as part of the Sherlock Series 4 return.

Sherlock 2015 Christmas Special

As with many BBC Christmas specials, the episode is shaping up to be something of a stand-alone adventure with the events largely taking place in 1895 Victorian Era England. This move and the year in particular isn't a random choice by any means. As co-creator Mark Gattis recently confirmed the date, the BBC explained that 1895 was the hight of Sherlock Holmes' popularity at the time and it was the year that creator Author Conan Doyle killed the character, only to resurrect him later on - much the same way the show Sherlock did during Season 2 and Season 3.

Sherlock Season 4 begins in 1895 England.
Sherlock Season 4 begins in 1895 England.

This significant date in the history of the Sherlock Holmes character has already been hinted at in the show. Acutely observant Sherlockians noticed that this was the number that was shown in Sherlock's second season when we got a look at the page hits John Watson's blog was getting. This Victorian Era adventure appears to be something that the show's creators may have had brewing for some time now.

Sherlock 2016 Season 4 Series Return

As for any other details regarding the Christmas special or the return to the modern era story when Sherlock Season 4 begins in earnest in 2016, co-creators Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat aren't revealing too many clues. But in Moffat's recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, he hinted at where the show will picking up even though writing for the next three episodes after the Christmas special hasn't really begun.

"You can sort of see that in the way series 3 went. It’s great that he’s back and John’s [Martin Freeman] got a wife and Sherlock [Benedict Cumberbatch] likes her and isn’t it adorable, and then it all goes to hell. Remember where we left them."

Moffat said that they set up "a little thing" in the third season that no one is talking about and that Sherlock Season 4 will be largely about consequences. This has led many to speculate about the fate of John Watson's new bride Mary and the fact that John Watson did indeed end up as a widower in the Author Conan Doyle stories.

Did the Sherlock series 3 wedding set up a tragedy?
Did the Sherlock series 3 wedding set up a tragedy?

Sherlock's Tragic & Devastating Consequences

Even Martin Freeman has openly speculated that he expects John Watson's marriage to Mary Watson to be short lived. He was quoted in The Telegraph as saying that, “While we play fast and loose with the original stories, we generally follow the trajectory of what Conan Doyle did. So [Watson] gets married and then Mary dies – so at some point presumably she’ll die.”

So with words like "tragedy", "devastating" and "consequences" being bandied about quite liberally when the show's creators talk about Sherlock's upcoming season - it sounds like it won't be all fun and games for the dynamic duo of Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Christmas special has been confirmed as having completed filming earlier this year but no date has been announced for when the three 90 minute episodes of Sherlock Series 4 will begin airing on the BBC. But I think we can officially say, the game is afoot.

What do you think? Where is Sherlock Season 4 headed? Is the time nigh for Mary Watson? Hit the comments section with your best season 4 fan fiction!


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