Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman Weigh In on a Potential 'Sherlock' Season 5

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in "Sherlock". (Photo: BBC/Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films for MASTERPIECE)

Mystery series Sherlock basically made a global star out of actor Benedict Cumberbatch, launching him into everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Doctor Strange), to the Star Trek franchise (Star Trek Into Darkness), and the Lord of the Rings prequels (The Hobbit trilogy). And while the series hasn't been seen on our screens in several years - the Season 4 finale aired in 2017 and felt a lot like a series finale to many - fans everywhere can't seem to let go of the idea of a return to Baker Street. At least, if the rate at which the actors consistently get asked about it is any indication.

Speaking to Collider about his upcoming espionage thriller The Courier, Cumberbatch was once again questioned on whether we might ever see a fifth season of the popular mystery series. 

The actor's reply is kind enough but doesn't offer any real indication that fans should get their hopes up any time soon. (If ever.)

"I'm the worst person to ask on this because I never say never, obviously. But I don't know. And I'm the worst person to ask because my slate's pretty, pretty full at the moment, as is Martin [Freeman, Watson] and all the other key players involved. So, who knows? Maybe one day, if the script's right. And I say 'the script,' maybe it could be a film rather than the series. Who knows? But anyway, not for now."

Cumberbatch has certainly kept himself busy since he hung up his deerstalker, earning an Oscar nomination for his starring role in Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game and an Emmy nomination for Showtime limited series Patrick Melrose. But he's hardly the only Sherlock alum with a full calendar these days - Freeman's currently working on the Black Panther sequel and the second season of the comedy Breeders premieres this month on FX. This may be why he seems a bit keen on the idea of a one-off special or feature film, rather than another full season of Sherlock.

Also speaking to Collider, Freeman sounds as though he is as equally skilled in vagaries as his co-star, but not completely against the prospect. (Which, honestly, is a step up from the 2018 interview in which he sounded pretty sick of the whole thing. Progress?)

Yeah, I think it is possible. It might be more likely, yeah. I think we’ve all left it so that it’s not a full stop, it’s just a big ellipsis or a big pause. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to say, ‘Oh, it’s a full stop.’ I’m not sure. To be honest, I’m a big believer in not going past your sell-by-date, in anything, really. Don’t outstay your welcome. So, I suppose we would have to see if we have outstayed our welcome when the time comes, and whether people have moved on to something else. So, I don’t know. I really liked doing it. I’m very proud of the show. It’s one of the best written things I’ve done. It’s one of the best directed things I’ve done. I really enjoy doing it, but I don’t know. It’s been awhile now. It’s four years since a new one was on. So, yeah, maybe the more likely thing is a one-off.

Given that episodes of Sherlock were already feature-length, there's some merit to the idea of a movie, or another one-off special in the vein of "The Abominable Bride". 

But with the series stars busy with other projects and co-creator Steven Moffatt in production on his new The Time Traveler's Wife series for HBO, this is all so much idle speculation at the moment. And maybe that's for the best for right now - after all, the series did leave its protagonists in a pretty good place. Wouldn't it make more sense to check back in with them at some point in the future when they're both older and that might have changed?

How do you feel about the prospect - or lack thereof - of more Sherlock? Sound off in the comments.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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