Sherlock’ fans, your day has arrived! The PBS Masterpiece drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman made its Comic-Con 2013, sans either Cumberbatch or Freeman! Executive producers Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, and producer/writer/star Mark Gatiss stopped by Ballroom 20 to preview the new season, which should debut earlier in 2014, so what did we see and learn from the panel?

Shock of shocks, Moffat and Gatiss wouldn’t offer up any real details of Sherlock’s ultimate survival from the Season 2 finale “The Reichenbach Fall,' but we did actually see a scene from the second episode of season 3, “The Sign of Three!” We’re mostly sworn to secrecy, but suffice to say, shippers of the bromance between Sherlock and John will have their best material yet, as John asks Sherlock to fill a surprising role. Oh, and there’s a human eyeball, why not!

Here’s a rundown of everything we learned from the ‘Sherlock’ S3 panel:

  • Despite not being present for the panel, both Cumberbatch and Freeman taped video greetings for Comic-Con fans, in which Cumberbatch’s supposedly explained Sherlock’s fall as the feed kept cutting out! Suffice to say, there’s a helicopter, monkey dolls and a cup of tea. Maybe.
  • Moffat in particular teased that the explanation of Sherlock’s survival will prove small against the actual reunion between Sherlock and Watson, which carries much more emotional weight.
  • Andrew Scott (Moriarty) will return, but only as his own corpse, as producers firmly confirmed him to be dead. Moffat laughed at the idea of both characters delivering fake suicides to one another as a waste of a scene.
  • We’ll see “quite a bit” of Mycroft next season, as the premiere will involve a great deal of “housekeeping” and fallout from Sherlock’s return.
  • Both Cumberbatch and Freeman are officially optioned for series 4, but despite Cumberbatch’s earlier words, nothing is official yet. In particular, Moffat expressed his fondness for the UK model of programming, which could see the characters returning for episodes over many years, rather than run the franchise into the ground as early as possible.
  • Gatiss expressed an interest in adapting “The Redheaded League,” while Moffat’s personal favorite was “The Speckled Band.”
  • Naturally, the fan questions turned toward the fastest mystery-solver: Sherlock, Batman, or Doctor Who. Moffat took Batman out of the running, but added that the three would all end up in a “bitchfight” anyway.
  • Moffat’s favorite moments come from series three, which takes on a dark tone, but incorporates more human, realistic and fun moments between the characters.

We’ll keep on with the latest from ‘Sherlock’ series 3, but what say you? Are you excited to see Benedict CUmberbatch and Martin Freeman return?

More From ScreenCrush