'Sherlock' season 4 air date, spoilers, cast news: Will 'Outlander' actor Sam Heughan play Sherrinford Holmes?

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The rumor mill is churning once again and this time Scottish actor Sam Heughan’s name has come up. The “Outlander” star became linked to “Sherlock” after he exchanged messages with “Sherlock” co-creator Mark Gatiss on Twitter last week.

After fans found out that the two were communicating, they quickly jumped to the conclusion that Heughan was going to be in the upcoming season of “Sherlock.” Reports say Heughan may join the cast and play the third Holmes brother, Sherrinford. Tom Hiddleston has been linked to the role for months now, and sources say Heughan may have been brought in to replace Hiddleston.

It should be noted that Sherrinford is supposed to be the hypothetical elder brother of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch). So, if Heughan is really going to play Sherrinford are they going to make him appear older than Sherlock? Heughan is a few years younger than Cumberbatch.

It is rumored that Sherrinford actually taught Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) and his deduction skills are far better than his younger brothers’. Will the third Holmes brother show up in “Sherlock” season 4? Will he be an antagonist? Of course, this rumor hasn’t been verified yet and it is just speculation until proven otherwise.

In other “Sherlock” news, Cumberbatch recently spoke with The Guardian and he said fans would get to know more about Sherlock’s past in the upcoming season.

“I remember asking [creator] Steven Moffatt what his backstory was for Sherlock ‘Oh, he’s just brilliant!’ was his response. That’s lasted until this series, where you’ll find out a lot more about his backstory. As far as preparation goes, it’s important to understand the who, what, where, why of the character before you meet him.”

Sources believe “Sherlock” season 4 will premiere on Jan. 1, 2017. Seasons 2 and 3 of “Sherlock” also premiered on the first day of the year.