Natalie Dormer's return to Elementary could be just around the corner.
The former Game of Thrones star plays Jamie Moriarty, the detective's nemesis, in the modern-day US Sherlock Holmes drama, but has not been seen on the show since season two when she was returned to her high security prison cell.
In a letter to Lucy Liu's Joan Watson in season three, Moriarty refers to an "unfolding game between [Jonny Lee Miller's] Sherlock and herself" but with season five now over, there's been no sign of it.
Showrunner Rob Doherty hinted last year that attempts were being made to bring Dormer back but said that even her Game of Thrones character having been killed off didn't mean it was a done deal. "Game of Thrones was never the only obstacle between us and Natalie," Doherty told Entertainment Weekly at the time. "She’s extraordinarily busy, tends to have multiple projects going on at one time..."
But now Dormer herself has dropped the strongest hint yet that she will be returning to Elementary – and by our reading of it, that could mean as soon as the next season.
"I would say the chances of me going back to Elementary are pretty high" replied Dormer archly when asked the question at the London Film and Comic Con.
She went on to share her admiration for the writing and innovation in Elementary, and in particular for her own character's story arc, which originally had her cast as Sherlock's formidable love interest Irene Adler – known respectfully by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes as simply "The Woman" – but later revealed her to be criminal mastermind Moriarty.
"[Doherty] offered me the role straight off but he didn’t tell me I was Moriarty," said Dormer. "It was a stroke of genius. He told me before we started shooting but he just offered me Irene Adler and I was, like, 'to play The Woman would be fantastic in this show', and I’ve been a fan of Jonny Lee Miler and Lucy Liu for a long time, so I said yes and then the icing on the cake was ‘oh, you’re the first ever female Moriarty’ so it’s very, very cool."
And despite the superficial changes to the set-up, Dormer thinks Elementary remains true to the spirit of Doyle's work, while making it accessible to a new generation.
"What Rob Doherty did with Irene and Moriarty I think is very clever and just a reimagining of the wealth and texture of the writing because, if you know the books, then Moriarty and Sherlock are sort of dependent on one another, they are two guys who exist to beat the other one, so the idea of putting an ex-love affair, to make people obsessed about each other, is actually a very shrewd clever writing move, so I think it was very intelligent. And it brings Sherlock Holmes to a whole new generation."
Natalie Dormer was speaking at London Film & Comic Con