Sherlock Holmes' time at 221B Baker Street may soon come to an end on the BBC.
Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat recently spoke about the show's upcoming fourth season and suggested that it's possibly the last.
The problem isn't for lack of trying, though: it's just that the show's main actors, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, are such big international stars now that they don't have as much time to dedicate to the series. Freeman and Cumberbatch both recently starred in The Hobbit movies, with Cumberbatch starring in almost everything else, including the big Marvel movie Doctor Strange.
"I don't know how long we can keep it going," Moffat said to the Telegraph. "I'm personally willing but I'm hardly the main draw. I would be moderately surprised if this was the last time we ever made this show. But it absolutely could be."
Moffat commented that he was "amazed" that both stars keep coming back to do the show, but their schedules probably won't allow that to happen indefinitely.
Sherlock is popular, though: not only did it help launch Cumberbatch's career, but it is also a hit with critics and recently received six Emmy nominations this year for its Christmas episode, "The Abominable Bride" in 2015.
Cast and crew are working on the fourth season, which, like the show's previous seasons, will only consist of three episodes. Although no plot details are available yet for season four, the series did announce that Toby Jones will portray the villain this time around.
However, not all is lost, as Moffat suggested that the show could run indefinitely, but just not as regularly as before (although its schedule has never really been regular). The show could stop for a few years and then come back when both actors have the time to do it.
"We do have two film stars in the program," Moffat said. "They haven't needed to do these jobs for a very long time. They're coming back because they want to. I'm amazed that we've got this far. I thought that once they had become extremely successful, we would only get to do one more series. There's never going to come a time when we do a longer run, because this is what the series has become. It's an occasional treat where you get three movies. It's how it works."
Sherlock season four will air in 2017. Meanwhile, Moffat is also hard at work as showrunner for Doctor Who, with new episodes also airing in 2017: after that, though, he plans on stepping down and handing that series over to Chris Chibnall.