Idris Elba has proven that there is a way for BBC’s Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to continue. After four three-episode seasons and a holiday special, Sherlock came to an apparent end in 2017. Cumberbatch, Freeman, and creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have all expressed interest in making Sherlock season 5, but all four – Cumberbatch in particular – have become international stars with competitive schedules.
Idris Elba has been in a similar position. He starred in five seasons of Luther, another BBC detective series set in modern London. Luther season 5 was released in 2019, but future seasons seemed less and less likely due to Elba’s rising fame that included James Bond rumors, roles in both Marvel and DC, and more. Then Netflix announced a film follow up, Luther: The Fallen Sun, which finally hit select theaters in February 2023 before streaming.
Luther’s Movie Shows How Sherlock Can Continue
Instead of a difficult to schedule fifth season, Sherlock could instead continue with a movie. With a shorter, tighter filming schedule, it would be far more likely that Cumberbatch and Freeman’s availability could align. Their recognizable names would also make a standalone movie successful in a new market, whether that be via streaming or theatrical, potentially reaching a wider audience. The higher profile release that would be afforded by a Sherlock movie is also more befitting the modern standing of both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
If Cumberbatch and Freeman really do not have enough time to film a Sherlock movie together, plenty of Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes book stories split Holmes and Watson up for a significant chunk of the action. Even Sherlock was willing to do this in its original run, like in “The Reichenbach Fall” when Sherlock faces Moriarty alone. A continuation of Sherlock should not keep the pair apart for too long, of course, since their chemistry is key to the franchise. It is, however, an option if star scheduling is the major factor stopping the story moving forward.
Why A Sherlock Movie Would Be Better Than Season 5
Though a Sherlock season 5 sounds tempting, a movie would actually be better. The main plot threads of Sherlock, such as the fate of Sherlock’s nemesis Moriarty and Watson’s mysterious wife Mary Morstan, have already been wrapped up. A movie could introduce new stories and characters without being too tied to the TV show’s format. With dozens of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories left and plenty of room for original narratives, a Sherlock movie could take the time to explore one of Sherlock’s more standalone cases.
Luther episodes are approximately an hour long, but Sherlock has the added benefit of episodes that are already near movie length at around 90 minutes. This proves the show could easily adapt into a longer format. It also means Sherlock viewers are already willing to sit through a long episode, so there is little risk of alienating them with a movie. If Luther: The Fallen Sun performs well, Moffat and Gatiss may consider a Sherlock movie starring Cumberbatch and Freeman.
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