Sherlock series four ended over the weekend, and maybe the whole show ended, too, as there is no guarantee of a return any time soon. Sherlock has always been a series of long hiatuses, but as its stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, have gotten more and more famous, it has clearly become more difficult to include the show in their schedules. If you asked me why there won’t be any more Sherlock, I’d say they built careers beyond Sherlock and don’t really need it anymore, and also because the show has clearly run out of ideas and needs to take a break before attempting another run, hopefully with more coherent storytelling.
But if you ask The Sun they’ll tell you Sherlock might be done for good because Cumberbatch and Freeman are “hardly close” and “spend their time apart between shots”. But The Sun also has sources who say they’re “professional and very polite”, if not as close as you might think given they’ve worked together on and off for like six years. Which is normal.
So Cumberbatch and Freeman aren’t super best friends—most co-stars aren’t. And do they have to be? They’re doing a job, and while it fosters camaraderie, honestly, once the shoot is over, you probably won’t see or speak to your co-stars until the press tour. And then once that’s done, you might not spend any more time with those people. Making a movie—despite being a TV show, Sherlock has always operated more like a movie than a regular series—is like going to summer camp. You hang out for an intense few weeks, maybe months, and then it’s over and you move on. Maybe you get to come back a year or two later and hang out with those same people again, but you’re still going back to your real life when it’s over.
There’s no law that says actors have to be super best friends. We’re spoiled because of stuff like the Avengers, a cast that includes many real-life friendships, like Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, who go way back. The Avengers showed marketing departments that a chummy cast doing press that feels more like hanging out can go a long way to selling a movie in an age where social media puts 24/7 attention on press tours, so other casts have been encouraged to emulate that model (even a lot of the Avengers aren’t as close as you think). But the reality is, even if you like your co-stars and don’t mind spending time with them, the “friendships” are often more like workplace relationships. You like that person, you work well with them, but you don’t miss them on the weekends.
Is Sherlock over (for the time being) because Cumberbatch and Freeman aren’t BFFs? No. And there’s nothing to suggest real interpersonal conflict, either. They just sound like your average pair of co-stars who get on well enough but don’t have much in common beyond the work.