Benedict Cumberbatch teases return of Sherlock – with one condition ‘Maybe it’s too soon’

Una Stubbs and Sherlock cast discuss fan gifts in 2015

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Now a major Marvel star, Doctor Strange’s Benedict Cumberbatch achieved worldwide success with his breakthrough role as Sherlock Holmes in BBC One’s modern revival of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories. Four years after the mixed bag of series four, the actor told Esquire UK he may still return at some point in the future. 

Cumberbatch and co-star Martin Freeman could eventually return as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson for another outing of Sherlock. 

The British star, 45, will return as Doctor Strange in upcoming Marvel projects, but he may find time to return to his first major leading role. 

He recently teased: “Oh look, I still say never say never. I really like that character…”

Having become Hollywood A-listers since the show’s debut in 2010, series co-creator Mark Gatiss confirmed the stars’ busy schedules had put series five on hold for now. 

However, both Gatiss and fellow showrunner Stephen Moffat had been plotting the next three episodes before scheduling conflicts brought the series to a halt. 

Ahead of the return of Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Cumberbatch talked to Esquire about his upcoming projects.

While there are no solid plans to return to the world of Sherlock, the actor definitely isn’t averse to reprising his iconic performance. 

“It’s just, the circumstances need to be right,” he continued.

“I think maybe it’s too soon now to see it have another life.”

Cumberbatch indicated his time on the series may have come to an end for good, though the perfect opportunity could come along for one last hurrah. 

He also suggested it’s still too soon after Sherlock’s fourth series for the BBC to attempt another TV version of the classic Holmes stories.

One of the most adapted characters in literary history, the iconic sleuth has appeared in hundreds of TV series, films, comics and video games in the past 100 years.

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Even alongside Cumberbatch’s interpretation, Holmes has been adapted into the American series Elementary, two films starring Robert Downey Jr and most recently played by Henry Lloyd-Hughes in the short lived series The Irregulars. 

He was also portrayed by Superman star Henry Cavill in the Netflix spin-off Enola Holmes, with Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown set to return for a sequel next year. 

With so many Sherlock Holmes projects still upcoming, Cumberbatch may be reluctant to take on the role once more over ten years after the show’s debut. 

“I think, wonderful as it is, it’s had its moment for now,” he admitted.

“But that’s not to say it wouldn’t have another iteration in the future.”

If Cumberbatch and Freeman are reluctant to return in the coming years, the Beeb may look at other possibilities to revive one of its most successful outputs of the last decade. 

Although the return of Sherlock is still a pipe dream for fans, Cumberbatch is still going strong with more from Doctor Strange and an acclaimed performance in The Power of the Dog still to come. 

Sherlock series 1-4 are available to stream on BBC iPlayer. The Winter 2021 issue of Esquire UK is on sale now.


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