A few months ago the internet was set alight when Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat hinted that the BBC sleuth might have another brother in the upcoming fourth series, with the fan speculation only increasing when Gatiss posted a cryptic photo with actor Tom Hiddleston that some took to mean the Avengers star could be in the frame to play the long-rumoured Sherrinford Holmes.

Since then there have been trailers edited together for the prospective family meeting, endless analysis of whether Gatiss’ caption “Blud” (below) referenced something Sherlock had previously said and general disagreement about whether such a casting would be likely at all. 

But now Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, has joined in to settle the debate – and we’re afraid to tell any Hiddlebatch fans that it seems like they’ll probably have to wait at least until Thor: Ragnarok to see the actors on screen together, because he didn’t have good news.

Asked if the story of Hiddleston joining the series was a complete fabrication, the Doctor Strange star replied that he was worried about “set[ting] the internet on fire again,” before responding in the affirmative that the story was false.

“Yeah!” the actor told RadioTimes.com. “Yeah, sorry…”

Oh dear – still, at least he’ll be working with Hiddleston’s Loki in upcoming Marvel threequel Thor: Ragnarok, right? That seemed to be what the newly-released Doctor Strange’s post-credits sequence hinted at, after all…

“In Thor Ragnarok? Er…I’m sorry. Big fat line through those questions,” the actor replied evasively. “I’m not gonna say anything.” 

Jeez, it’s almost like they don’t WANT fans to endlessly spoil plots for themselves, isn’t it? Some people. 

Whatever the truth, Cumberbatch wouldn’t be drawn on any more Marvel or Sherlock details, saying that in the case of the latter he felt that the three-word clues given by Moffat and Gatiss earlier in the year were plenty for fans to chew on.

“They’ve given three [words] already, and I’m not gonna repeat them,” he told us. “The boys that know what to say and what not to say have already done that for me, so I’m gonna keep schtum.”

However, Cumberbatch was happy enough to talk about one character from the Sherlock world – series 3 villain Charles Augustus Magnussen, who was played by Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen just a couple of years before his actor brother Mads also took Cumberbatch on as baddie Kaecilius in Doctor Strange (with Mads recently telling RadioTimes.com he would “get revenge” for his brother in the Marvel movie).

Coincidence? Far from it, according to their screen foe.

“They’re just very devious, you know?” Cumberbatch said. “They’ve got strong arguments and they’re very dominant, so you have to kind of be careful of those Mikkelsen bros.

“They’re really super nice, which you know, there’s a lot of acting going on when they’re playing their villainy. Then again, they’re both very convincing in it, so there has to be something going on…”

Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Cumberbatch and Lars Mikkelsen

For now, with both Mikkelsens vanquished Cumberbatch is looking forward to his Marvel-lous future as Doctor Strange, with the actor describing his time playing superhero as a “pretty giddy” experience.

“I’m sort of childishly gleeful about it,” Cumberbatch told RadioTimes.com. 

“It hit me three times: once in a costume fitting, once in Manhattan and once finally watching the film and seeing the very end shot of him by the window, going ‘Wow, the next step is him being in The Avengers!’ It’s just kind of thrilling.”

And has he seen the Avengers: Infinity War script? Anything he can tell us about it?

“I have,” Cumberbatch replied – “and I’m very much looking forward to it.” 

Not exactly plot-busting info, but hey – in the secretive world of BBC dramas and Marvel movies, we take what we can get. 

Doctor Strange is on release in UK cinemas now