After the first season of the BBC's "Sherlock" aired to great critical acclaim and success, show runners Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss teased which of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories would make up the three telemovies of the second season. At the time they said 'Woman', ‘Hound' & ‘Fall' which many immediately guessed as being "A Scandal in Bohemia"," "The Hound of Baskervilles" and "The Final Problem".
Now the pair have released the three words that will define the upcoming third season of the show, however these ones aren't as easily identifiable - 'Rat, Wedding, and Bow'. Moffat and Gatiss announced the trio of words this afternoon at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.
Of the three it is 'Bow' that seems to be the easiest to pin down - the WWI spy themed short story "His Last Bow" which was also the last chronological instalment of the Holmes stories. Could this mean this will be the final season of the series?
The best guess for 'Wedding' is the short story "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor", though the more interesting possibility is that it could refer to Watson's future wife Mary Morstan who was introduced in the famed and complex Holmes novel "The Sign of Four". A third possibility is the short story 'The Adventure Of The Solitary Cyclist'.
Similarly 'Rat' could refer to two short stories or one of the novels. Holmes makes reference to, but never explains, an adventure with 'The Giant Rat of Sumatra' in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire". Moffat and Gatiss could be attempting to provide their own take on that unpublished adventure which various other authors have taken a crack at over the years.
'Rat' is also the dying words of a character in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery". The most exciting but least likely possibility though is the novel "The Valley of Fear" which ties back to Moriarty and precedes 'Bow'. There's a reference to a 'rat trap', but it's not a major plot point and a tenuous link at best.
Filming on the third season of "Sherlock" will get underway in January for airing in the second half of 2013.