Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch admits he is aware of the “very good idea” behind the reappearance of arch-villain Moriarty at the end of the last series – but says he's tried to put it out of his mind in order to add to the surprise when he first reads the script.
Asked whether he knew what was behind the apparent return from the dead of Andrew Scott’s arch-villain in the series three cliffhanger, Cumberbatch said “Yes. I think so. I casually choose to forget in order to rediscover it again a little bit.”
Cumberbatch said that he and co-star Martin freeman – who plays Sherlock’s friend Dr John Watson – like to come fresh to the scripts so they can get a similar thrill to that viewers experience when they first watch the episodes.
“It’s very weird. Our audience hit with it is when Martin and I read the script,” Cumberbatch told MTV in an interview at San Diego Comic-Con. “And also when we get a rough idea of where it’s going to go before we get the script. But I like casually forgetting, not least because there’s a lot of other traffic between then and now but also because it’s more fun because it’s slightly more fresh.
“But it’s a very good idea, I do remember that detail. I’m just trying not to remember it so I don’t blurt it out.”
As far as fans were aware, Moriarty was dead and gone after shooting himself in the head during his rooftop encounter with Sherlock at the end of series two. So it was a major shock when he resurfaced in an animation shown on screens around Britain at the end of the season three finale – and even more so when Scott himself appeared, looking straight to camera, in the final frames.
Since then, viewers have been wondering whether Moriarty, like Sherlock, did indeed fake his own death or if there's another less straightforward explanation for his apparent return.
Cumberbatch – who will begin filming a one-off special and the new fourth series in January – suggested that he shared the anticipation felt by fans.
"I’m ridiculously excited about it because the whole purpose of us doing it again is that we can do it better than we did it last time and the pitch for this series is so exciting."