Sherlock is returning Jan. 1, 2016 with a one-off Victorian-era special. New details regarding the plot of the episode allow fans to commit numerous acts of speculation over the newest installment, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. Fans of the series have been privy to several teaser trailers in the past, as well as a trailer for the upcoming fourth season.
PBS has released an official description of the special:
“Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) return as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the acclaimed modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories. But now our heroes find themselves in 1890s London. Beloved characters Mary Morstan (played by Amanda Abbington), Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) also turn up at 221b Baker Street.”
The premiere dates for the U.K. and the U.S. debuts of the special edition are, for the first time ever, on the same day. Fan lobbying, as well as online piracy has encouraged network executives to synchronize their releases.
One question regarding the plot that fans have yet to figure out is if Andrew Scott will return as a regular in the upcoming season to reprise the character Moriarty. There is speculation on whether the character’s suicide was authentic; fans have noted the possible parallels between the “storyteller” role Moriarty embodied, coupled with his apparent attraction to folk tales, and the Grimm’s Fairy Tales story, “The Wedding of Mrs. Fox.” A scene in The Reichenbach Fall shows Moriarty wearing a silver fox pin that has lead theorists to believe that the writers may reveal his suicide to be a fake, as one variant of “The Wedding of Mrs. Fox” depicts.
Mark Gatiss, one of Sherlock‘s co-creators has stated that season 4, which will begin filming this spring, “will take Sherlock and John Watson into deeper and darker waters than ever before.” Darker themes are hinted at during the season 4 trailer, where numerous words appear onscreen; “ugly-duckling blood,” “betrayal,” “MorSTan,” “blackmail,” “Moran,” “Godfather,” “magpie conspiracy,” “DNA test,” “high treason,” “challenge,” “framed,” “sentiment,” “soul mate” and “murder” are all seen for brief moments, which highlights the fairy tale themes that fans have picked up on.
Whether or not Moriarty will make his triumphant return is unclear, but it appears that Sherlock and Watson will find a new enemy in the “second most dangerous man in London,” Sebastian Moran. Moran is a character in Sir Conan Doyle’s Sherlock series, and is Professor James Moriarty’s right-hand-man, personal sniper and bodyguard. Moran is considered by London police to be the second most dangerous man in the city, after Moriarty.