By the time 'Sherlock' series 3 airs, it will have been almost two years since the series 2 finale (and its massive cliffhanger). That's an eternity in TV years, and it's thanks in part to the growing careers of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Both have become highly visible film stars since 'Sherlock's' last episode: Cumberbatch was the villain in this summer's 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and has nabbed high profile roles in 'August: Osage County' and 'The Fifth Estate,' while Freeman is the star of the 'Hobbit' trilogy (also featuring Cumberbatch as both villains) and will appear in the upcoming sci-fi comedy 'The World's End.'
Both are so busy that keeping 'Sherlock' going seems hardly sustainable. But worry not, say executive producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. The duo (who are quite prolific writers themselves) are insistent that 'Sherlock' will go on for as long as it can -- decades, maybe. There's no end in sight.
“We love the idea of the audience growing up with the show and the characters growing too," shared Gatiss, who also plays Sherlock's brother Mycroft. "There is something lovely in the idea of Martin and Benedict aged 55 sitting at a fireplace, being the age we associate with Holmes and Watson.”
In fact, it's the staggered production schedule that keeps 'Sherlock's' longevity such a viable option. “By the accident of how we make the episodes there is a huge gap in between filming when Benedict and Martin can go off and make big movies and then come back to the show we all love doing," Gatiss added. "If we keep that model going, it is ideal."
Moffat, meanwhile, is quite busy himself with helming 'Doctor Who,' another massive British series. As fans of that show have no doubt discovered, Moffat is of the 'less is more' school of thinking: "There is a traditional model of making television where you make an awful lot of episodes over five, six or seven years until you get utterly sick of it and never make the show again but why not make episodes over an awful lot of years so no one gets suffocated by it?” he asked.
Of course, that relies on Cumberbatch and Freeman being willing to continue the series -- but Moffat assures fans that they are: "They are always delighted to come back and they are the same blokes as ever, just much more famous and they won’t talk to us now.”
'Sherlock' series 3 is expected to premiere in early 2014.