Updated at 5:47 p.m EST on Jan. 20
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories have already been given the Hollywood franchise treatment, in a pair of movies starring Robert Downey Jr. as the fictional detective.
But given the immense international popularity of BBC’s Sherlock (which got nearly 4 million U.S. viewers Sunday night for its Season 3 premiere), might Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman take a turn as Holmes and Watson on the big screen?
“We don’t rule anything out,” series co-creator Steven Moffat told Entertainment Weekly.
The show has made bonafide movie stars of both Cumberbatch and Freeman. This year alone, Cumberbatch starred in Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Freeman was in The World’s End and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. And yet despite their superstardom, they’re likely to film at least two more seasons of Sherlock, which the creators have already mapped out.
“There’s something quite special about the fact that it’s on television, starring those two,” Moffat said in the interview. “That wasn’t the case in the beginning. Mark [Gatiss, Sherlock's co-creator] and I sometimes imagine what would happen if we had written it now and were saying, ‘We’d like Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for the parts!’”
Even though it’s now hard to imagine anyone else playing the astute yet socially awkward detective, Benedict Cumberbatch admits that he initially had qualms with the role. “My reservation was ‘Well, this is a very iconic character, there will be a lot of attention on it,’” Cumberbatch said. “This was before I had had any significant success, [but] I knew there would still be a lot of focus on it. And while I had done work, it wasn’t stepping into the populist limelight like playing a character like Holmes. So I did have a pause for thought.”
This story has been updated with the number of viewers for Sherlock‘s Season 3 premiere in the U.S.