Comic-Con: 'Sherlock' Christmas Special Debuts First Footage

Sherlock Christmas Special - H 2015

Sherlock is going back to his roots — and now there is video footage to prove it.

The first clip from the Victorian era-set Sherlock Christmas special debuted at Comic-Con, with executive producers Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue and actor Rupert Graves (Lestrade) on hand to work the crowd into a frenzy.

The first clip shows Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes and Martin Freeman's Watson arriving at Baker Street (Watson rocking quite the mustache) as Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) complains that she doesn't get much attention in Watson's stories.

After the footage played, Moffat revealed that the Christmas special will be available in select theaters. When will that be? He said hopefully this year, though he could not confirm it.

"When this special goes out — and we hope certainly in our year — it will also play in selected cinemas around the world to complement that first broadcast," said Moffat.

As for the much-anticipated series four, Moffat balked when asked how the writing went (past tense) — dismaying the crowd by suggesting the writing was still in the future. (Vertue assured the crowd they were working on it.) He cheekily promised cliffhangers and to "sucker punch" viewers emotionally in a way that will keep people in perpetual tears. Quite a tall order.

Earlier, Andrew Scott (Moriarty) appeared via a recorded video message in which he was reading a script for Spectre (he's in the upcoming Bond movie). The crowd went nuts when he called Cumberbatch and Mark Gatiss (Mycroft), who expressed their regrets for not making it to Comic-Con.

The Christmas special has had fans scratching their heads since late 2014 when a photo of Cumberbatch and Freeman surfaced showing the pair decked out in Victorian-era clothing. Moffat revealed in March it would be a stand-alone actually set in Victorian times.

Sherlock has run for three seasons dating back to 2010, earning a ravenous following and helping make Cumberbatch and Freeman geek icons. As the fame of its stars has grown, one of the hurdles Sherlock faces is the tight schedules of its increasingly in-demand leading men. Cumberbatch earned a best actor Oscar nomination for last year's The Imitation Game and is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Doctor Strange. Freeman is also joining the MCU in an undisclosed role in Captain America: Civil War after headlining the Hobbit trilogy from 2012-14 as Bilbo Baggins.

Sherlock airs on Masterpiece on PBS in the U.S.