There are a lot of rumors flying around about season 4 of Sherlock.
It's not going into production until next year, and is set to air in 2017. The showrunners are as tight-lipped as always, but that doesn't mean fans aren't talking. Will Mary Watson die? Will Irene return? Anything we "know" at this point is just speculation.
We know Moftiss (Steve Moffat nd Mark Gatiss- the series showrunners) re really attached to the original stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Even though the show is a modern adaptation, both have professed a desire to stay as loyal as possible to the original works. This isn't a secret, it's been their position from the outset. Adler actress Lara Pulver had this to say:
"I honestly don't know... She's only in one book and Steven [Moffat] and Mark Gatiss are big Conan Doyle fans."
So while it's not out of the realm of possibility, it's highly unlikely we'll see a return of Irene Adler in season four. But do we really even want one?
She's a striking character.
Literally and figuratively. But is that enough of a reason to ignore the original canon and revisit the character? They did already of deviate from canon though... In the original stories, Irene married and moved to America, promising never to use the information she had in a malicious way. But in the BBC version, Irene lost, and we last saw her vulnerable and relying on Sherlock's rescue. The showrunners concluded the story arc but left the story open. Is it worth it to bring her back, or is her story complete as it is?
Her surprise return in season 3 caused a lot of stir.
She wasn't real, but fns were still pleased at her return. Irene Adler was part of Sherlock's imagination sequence when he was trying to solve a case. So he clearly still thinks about her. If she did return, would it still be as a foe, or could she become an ally?