'Sherlock' Season 4 Gets a Pre-Special & We've Got Some Theories About It

It's a universally accepted fact that being a Sherlock fan means having an endless supply of patience. The first series of Sherlock came out in 2010, the second series came out in 2012, and the third series came out in 2014. That's a two year wait between series of a show and each series only has three episodes in it. Try telling that to any fan of just about any other show and they will look at you like you're insane. But Sherlock fans know that the quality is well worth the quantity and we will take anything that we can get, like the Sherlock season three bonus features on Netflix, with immense gratitude and celebration. Well, here's something else to celebrate. Sherlock is returning for a special before the next series and BBC One has just given us all the details on Twitter.

"Sherlock, the hit BBC One drama, will return for a special, followed by a series of three new episodes," said BBC One in a series of tweets after changing their Twitter display name to Sherlock - #221back. "Shooting on the Sherlock special will begin in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year. We're ready to unleash the most shocking and surprising series of Sherlock yet. The only thing is to expect is the unexpected."

January 2015 might seem like a long way away, but getting four episodes of Sherlock instead of three is enough good news that no one is going to complain. In fact, #221back has been trending on Twitter ever since BBC One made their announcement as people start shrieking and flailing and losing their minds. But what exactly do they mean by the most shocking and surprising series of Sherlock yet? What's more shocking than the fact that Moriarty somehow survived shooting himself in the head? What is that special going to be about? We have some theories.

Theory #1 — Moriarty has a cult.

Think The Following meets Sherlock. In the third series, we were introduced to an Anderson gone mad with figuring out how Sherlock could possibly still be alive and he had a band of followers equally invested in complicated conspiracy theories. What if Moriarty has a cult following of his own that are determined to see Sherlock Holmes taken down for killing their sociopathic leader? In fact, what if that same cult helped Moriarty fake his death?

Theory #2 — Irene Adler is Moriarty.

Since Sherlock helped her escape from death, we have only seen Irene Adler in his mind palace. If Moriarty is back, maybe one of the surprise twists is that Irene Adler will return as well. What if Sherlock pulls an Elementary and Moriarty turns out to actually be Irene Adler this time around? She was working for him when we first met her, so it's about time she starts making him work for her.

Theory #3 — Sebastian Moran finally shows up.

Sebastian Moran was Moriarty's right hand man in the original mythos, but he has yet to show up on Sherlock unless you count Lord Moran in "The Empty Hearse". And I don't count him. Maybe he's taking up the torch after finding out that Moriarty is dead. After all, Moran was the second most dangerous man in London after Moriarty. It's about time he becomes the first most dangerous.

Theory #4 — Mary Watson's past comes back to haunt them.

Some of Moran's traits from the books were passed to Mary Morstan-Watson in Sherlock, such as those amazing marksmanship skills. Maybe Mary's past as a hired gun is going to come back to haunt Sherlock and John now that they've come to accept the real Mary for who she is. Worse, maybe Mary gets blackmailed by an old employer (ahem, Moriarty) into working as his righthand woman.

Theory #5 — BBC One will stop being cryptic.

Okay, maybe not.

Image: BBC One; Tumblr (1; 2; 3; 4)