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One of the biggest surprises in the Sherlock season 3 finale came at the very end of the episode, and showrunner Steven Moffat says it’s part of a larger plan.

Asked by Vulture whether or not Moriarty’s appearance at the end is a big plot point or just something to mess with people, Moffat replied, “I can’t really say what we’re doing with that, but there is no last-minute whim in this. We’ve had what we’re going to do with Moriarty in place from before the second season. Exactly what we’re going to do. I remember talking it through with Andrew Scott, who plays Moriarty. Wait and see what’s going to happen.”

These comments suggest that Moriarty may have deep ties to season 4, and that he is really back in physical form (or will somehow make digital appearances by a new villain in season 4 to mess with Sherlock).

Moffat also discussed the evolution of Molly from a one-off appearance to a regular. “She’s developed hugely,” he says. “She wasn’t even meant to come back after her first appearance, but she worked so well. Louise Brealey was so good. The girl with the unrequited crush became the first person to make Sherlock apologize in ‘A Scandal in Belgravia,’ and then you see it really shift around. Whereas all of Sherlock’s emotion on the rooftop when he’s talking to John in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ is completely faked — he’s just trying to give his friend a bad time so he’ll be in an emotional state to believe what’s about to happen — the emotion when Sherlock turns up to Molly in that episode and says ‘I need you,’ I mean, it’s amazing everyone didn’t just get it right there.”

Read more with Moffat over on Vulture.

What do you think Moriarty will be up to in ‘Sherlock’ season 4?

  • Kelishas

    1) I am super excited for a Moriarty return!!
    2) Not surprised that the writers have been messing with us…I remember seeing a clip from a steven moffat interview where he was responding to a question with “what? You think they faked suicided each other on that roof?!” Apparently the correct answer was YES!
    3) I realize that the series 3 finale aired in North America on Sunday (which is when I watched it!), but I hope that everyone who PVRed it had a chance to watch it before reading the headline of this article.

    • Anon

      The ‘They faked suicided at each other” part was actually pretty amusing, considering that Mark Gatiss and Sue were trying or not trying to laugh at either the joke, or the fact Moffat’s probably lying

  • PabloRuiz7

    I don’t think Moriarty’s alive…I think we’ll see someone like SebastIan Moran, his right hand, acting on his orders…

    • shabs

      Moran is in jail though (not a huge deterant with pal like Moriarty I realize). He was in the first ep of series 3 as the guy who planted the bombs etc.

    • Mrs_Badcrumble

      For me there are 2 scenarios:
      1 – Moriarty is alive but Sherlock and Mycroft know about it. There is no way they would be fooled with an attempt suicide when they were doing just that. They would make absolutely sure that he was positively dead!
      2 – The image of Moriarty used in the end of the season (“did you miss me?”) was a montage so he is dead and someone is using him to get attention. Or to get Sherlock back.

      But I agree with you – I’m more inclined for him being dead.
      Obviously we are used to the brilliancy of Moffat and Gatiss so the truth might be something no one even thought about!

  • Josh

    I didn’t think that what Sherlock was saying on the roof was faked. I thought that it was completely genuine! Why did Moffat have to go and say that! That scene made quite a few people cry, it definitely had me in tears because everyone thought about how much they are going to miss eachother! GOddamn it!

    • Alana

      OF COURSE it was ‘fake’ — he tells John that he was a fake all along, which isn’t true. It’s a ‘fake’ suicide note, a ‘fake’ confession meant to convince John that he is about to kill himself.

      • laquetta moore

        I might be inclined to agree with you on this point. Sherlock is always telling John that he “sees”, yet fails to observe…

      • Dejan Dragicevic

        “It’s all fake, John. Just a magic trick, that’s all.” After that one, it was apparent as it can get.

  • Elphaba Thropp

    “Whereas all of Sherlock’s emotion on the rooftop when he’s talking to John in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ is completely faked — he’s just trying to give his friend a bad time so he’ll be in an emotional state to believe what’s about to happen — the emotion when Sherlock turns up to Molly in that episode and says ‘I need you,’ I mean, it’s amazing everyone didn’t just get it right there.” ”
    I thought it was a bit obvious that Molly helped him, because of that scene…? I can’t be the only one who knew right away that Molly was in on it?

    • Alana

      Of course .. but he isn’t talking about the ‘role’ Molly would play in helping Sherlock, he is talking about the ‘genuine’ feeling in that comment ‘I need you’ in contrast to the ‘fake’ feeling in the conversation with John.

      Earlier, she had challenged Sherlock about how he reminded her of her father, whose feelings were only shown when he thought nobody was looking — Sherlock realized that Molly was probably the only person who ‘saw’ him. So, he ‘needs her’ in his life.

  • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

    After thinking it over for a few weeks and reading a lot of theories as well, part of me wants to think Moriarty faked his death too and that he’s coming back. But another part of me thinks that its someone else using a guise to pretend to be Moriarty. I’m not completely familiar with the original Sherlock Holmes canon, but I’ve heard that Moriarty had a brother and/or sister. So if that’s true, maybe something will come of that.

    • kyriela

      Iv heard a theory that the bridesmaid that sherlock pretended to date is moriatys sister. Something about them both being irish. And in the hospital he said are we even now? And she didnt reply. Cant quite remember the details as I saw it quite a few weeks ago in the uk. Will have to re watch it@

      • rh1127

        I don’t know if she’s Moriarty’s sister or not, but there’s got to be something more to her. For one thing, people don’t go around getting engaged to people they’ve only been dating a month and never even slept with (“just once would’ve been nice”). Second, if she was Magnussen’s PA she HAD to know he wasn’t out of the office like he was supposed to be, so why would she let him come up? I think she was playing him as much as he was playing her.

  • Charles Griffey

    There are 2 people named Moriarty in the stories, Jim Moriarty and Professor James Moriarty. My guess is Scott will play Jim’s brother James who is the real mastermind. The trick would be to separate Jim Moriarty and James Moriarty, but it is very possible.

    • Jack

      Jim is short for James though. So arn’t they the same person? So glad that they are bringing Moriarty back!

      • Charles Griffey

        Well, it wasn’t in Conan Doyle’s story. Was Moriarty in the show ever called James or “Professor”?

        • mr_cabbage

          During the trial in episode 3 of season 2, Moriarty is referred to as James couple times.

      • Anon

        You’ll never know–with ACD’s problem with continuity and with Moffat and Gatiss technically messing with us via long hiatus, Jim may or may not be the actual Moriarty. But I do hope Andrew Scott still plays Moriarty.

    • Vincent Vizachero

      If I’m not mistaken, at different points Doyle mentions two different brothers of Moriarity and calls them BOTH James.

      Continuity was not Doyle’s strong suit, I think.

  • froggyhpmb3

    I remember reading an interview where they said Moriarty wasn’t coming back because Andrew Scott didn’t want to do it anymore then I saw him this season and realized
    Though to be fair super excited that wasn’t true and I’m really glad he’s back. Andrew Scott is brilliant.

    • Half-blood_Ravenclaw

      Andrew Scott was the Moriarty actor I actually liked, since I thought he was just another character in Molly’s morgue when I watched The Great Game, then I see him being the psychopath. Brilliant actor, that guy.
      That interview convinced me that Moffat and Gatiss have taught every actor involved in Sherlock to lie right in the interviewer’s face.

  • Seriel

    It was obvious that Moriarty will be back. It seems to me that he might, however, has a different face. All signs in heaven and the earth suggest that on the credits Benedict name will appear more than once.

  • rh1127

    Guys, guys, guys… Moriarty’s not alive. You’re being trolled by the masters. No WAY could he get that over on Mycroft. Not when everyone around the hospital was placed there by Sherlock and Mycroft. A body switch would be impossible. You know when the writers kept saying “there are only so many ways you can jump off a building and not hit the pavement” and fans continued to get more and more elaborate with their theories? What’s fun about this show is it’s always a small, obvious thing when something seems really huge. Phone call from Irene Adler to Moriarty in the wrapup of the S1 cliffhanger, air bag in the wrapup of the S2 cliffhanger, mind palace instead of vaults and augmented reality glasses in S3. Someone is using his likeness. An associate that Sherlock missed, a sibling, or Mycroft himself in order to keep Sherlock out of exile. (All of that, and I refuse to believe Moftiss would be such bad writers as to have two geniuses go up on a roof and, to use Moffat’s own words, fake suicide at each other.)

    • ayydubb

      So no way could Moriarty fake his death because Mycroft’s people were everywhere, but you accept that Mycroft managed to fill an entire street with actors after Moriarty was already there, without him noticing anything amiss? the whole “no way could _______ fool _______ like that” argument works both ways.

  • Noah Bama

    Moffat was not Moriarty. He was Moriarty’s right hand man. The real Moriarty is too smart to reveal himself.

  • Dillybar

    I think we all should pay attention to the third sibling. Mycroft did mention the fate of the other sibling as a sign of his unattachment to family and feeling.

    Perhaps something within family ties?

  • DaveACIM

    well after being a solid American Patriot for over 50 years, I hereby defer to the English Crown, as the Brits have clearly shown there superiority by creating the best damn tv show of all time. Season three was amazing, and mind-blowing at the end–WOW God Bless the Queen!

  • Bookworm741

    I feel like we’re missing a point though. Moffat and Gatiss have said we can choose whether or not to believe Sherlock’s story of how he survived Reichenbach Fall. Because why would he tell Anderson? Maybe it was to keep him from continuing to create theories. So if he didn’t tell Anderson the whole truth about how he survived, could part of that lie be that Moriarty didn’t kill himself? This could be way off base though… Can someone help me? Did they ever mention Moriarty’s dead body on the roof? I always tried to listen for it, but never heard it anywhere. I’ve always wondered what the people thought when they found Moriarty’s dead body too, but it doesn’t seem to ever come up.

    Also, on the comment of Janine being Moriarty’s sister: well, I mean, it’s quite plausible. If there were two Moriartys in the original Sherlock Holmes and they were Jim and James (similar/same names), isn’t Jim/James and Janine super close too? I like all the points about Janine being smarter than she seems. Why else would she let Sherlock up if she knew Magnussan was still there?

    I don’t know what to think at this point. I’m just looking forward to the next season!

  • frank

    the worst part is if they have had this stuff planed since back in series 2 to bring moriarty back then they probably gave us enough clues to figure

  • Irene

    Moffat and Gatiss: “He’s dead, what more do you want? Do you think they just faked suicided at each other? ‘Oh, you were faking? I was faking too.’ ”


    • Half-blood_Ravenclaw

      Gatiss was laughing the whole time when Moffat said the words. It’s either he was laughing at the joke implied, or he’s laughing that Moffat actually thought we’d buy that.

  • Justin

    Irene Adler might be Moriarty and that Moriarty might not be Moriarty afterall but just one of her workmen.

  • Uncle Brizey

    Real suicide, fake Moriarty. That’s my take on it. I think. Maybe.

  • WinterRose16

    I’m going to toss my theory out there and say that Moriarty actually died in Season 2 and that we’re seeing a contingency plan carried out by his network. It’s worth mentioning that Moriarty had a brother who was a colonel in the original Doyle stories, so perhaps Andrew Scott is playing two roles a la Lindsey Lohan or Hayley Mills in both versions of The Parent Trap, or that all of Moriarty’s appearances are posthumous, through video footage and such. It is like Moftiss to take obscure little details like that and create whole new stories out of them.

  • mrvetschool

    Going with the theory that moriarty has a twin…both called james if you believe Wikipedia

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