A couple of weeks ago, Sherlock producer Steven Moffat revealed that super criminal Moriarty would not be returning to the hit show. With the great detective’s arch-nemesis out of the picture, Hypable delves into the original stories to try and deduce who will fill the villain void.

James Moriarty may be Holmes’ most famous adversary, but he is by no means the only deadly foe that Sherlock and John face in the original Conan Doyle stories. In fact, “the most dangerous man in London” only actually appears in one story – “The Final Problem.” Aside from that, he is only ever mentioned or referenced in six of the 60 adventures. So, it is hardly a surprise that co-creators Moffat and Gaitiss decided to retire the criminal mastermind. However, his departure from BBC’s Sherlock does leave incredibly big shoes to fill. So, Hypable’s Harri Sargeant takes a look at some of the other famous villains in the canon, to try and work out who Sherlock could be facing next.


Charles Augustus Milverton

One of the few Sherlock Holmes villains to have an adventure named after them, Charles Augustus Milverton is one of the series’ most vile criminals. Milverton makes his money by collecting compromising letters before ruthlessly blackmailing the subjects, demanding high amounts of cash to avoid scandal. The slimy villain outrages Holmes, who says “I’ve had to do with fifty murderers in my career, but the worst of them never gave me the repulsion which I have for this fellow. “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” features murder, scandal, disguises, and even Holmes and Watson breaking into the criminal’s house.

If he became the new Sherlock villain: we could expect Milverton to deal in videos and private-eye photographs, as well as phone hacking and leaked emails. His targets would probably be celebrities, given our contemporary fascination with gossip and the personal lives of people in the public eye. There would also be a potential return for Kitty Reilley, first seen in ‘The Reichenbach Fall,’ as a frequent purchaser of Milvertons compromising material. Finally, expect some hilarious interaction between John and Sherlock as they attempt to break into the villain’s house.


Dr. Grimesby Roylott

He might be unlikely to appear in series three due to the ‘The Speckled Blonde’ references in ‘A Scandal In Belgravia,’ but Dr. Roylott is a villain screaming out to be brought to life in a contemporary setting. The violent stepfather of Helen Stoner, Roylott is willing to murder the daughters of the woman he widows. He is a quirky, unpredictable man who likes to keep Indian animals like cheetahs, baboons and snakes – all of which are allowed free roam of his estate, alongside a group of gypsies camping on the grounds. He is a terrifying man, threatening the great detective and using serpents to murder. While the story may have already been referenced, ‘The Speckled Band’ is Steven Moffat’s favourite Sherlock Holmes story – so, you never know.

If he became the new Sherlock villain: Roylott’s crimes would probably be changed dramatically and put on a grander scale. He would be a manic, flamboyant man who would probably own a zoo or animal sanctuary. Sherlock and John would be pitted against a variety of dangerous animals, including the famous swamp adder. The gypsies would probably feature a lot, in a terrifying and odd episode laden with metaphors.

Colonel Sebastian Moran

The odds-on favourite to be Moriarty’s successor is also his right-hand man in the Conan Doyle stories. Fans on Tumblr have taken a shining to the character (fan-casting Misfits star Craig Parkinson for the role), and he is also the first villain that Holmes faces after revealing he survived his final showdown with Moriarty. In ‘The Empty House,’ Moran is described as “the second most dangerous man in London” after Moriarty himself. A keen hunter, and crack shot with a sniper, the Colonel swears to kill Holmes in vengeance for his former boss’s death. While he only appears in one story, he proves to be a dangerous enemy and an interesting character. We might have already seen him in Sherlock anyway, as one of the snipers from 2×03.

If he became the new Sherlock villain: Moran would be a slightly different character; the lover of Moriarty if shippers got their way. We could expect him to be a lingering presence throughout the series, never seen but always there. He may even go after John, in an effort to make Sherlock feel as lost as he did when Moriarty killed himself. As a keen card player, Moran may even like to play games with the detective, leaving things to chance in an array of deadly puzzles. Expect an appearance from a tiger or two as well.

So, who do you think the next Sherlock villain will be? One of the above, or someone completely different? Do you think the series will be able to maintain its quality without the deadly Moriarty?

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