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Officially Official

Amanda Abbington Confirms She’s Mary Morstan, Talks Season Three of Sherlock


It’s been generally assumed that actress Amanda Abbington will play Mary Morstan in the long-awaited third season of Sherlock. We know Abbington’s in the show. We know Mary is, too. There are, to my knowledge anyway, no other actresses who’ve been added to the cast. And for John Watson’s wife to be played by actor Martin Freeman‘s real-life partner Abbington, with whom he’s collaborated multiple times… well, it fits.

But it wasn’t until yesterday that it was actually, one hundred percent confirmed. Head under the jump to see what Abbington has to say about playing Morstan and the fan reaction she expects.

Said Abbington to The Scotsman:

“We were at [writer/co-showrunner] Mark Gatiss’s house when [season two, episode two] The Hounds Of Baskerville first came on the telly. Afterwards they went into the kitchen and were sitting talking about the next series. I went in and sat with them. It had been mooted that I would be in it, might have a little part in it. They were talking about who might play Mary and I was like, ‘So, who are you thinking of?’ and they said ‘You’… I got very emotional because it just seemed so amazing, just such a gift.”

Abbington recognizes, however, that many people won’t be so pleased about the arrival of Morstan as she is—indeed, a lot of fans already seem determined to hate her for the perceived threat she poses to the great brOTP (or OTP, your mileage may vary), that is Johnlock. Still, Abbington says, even though her character’s in something of an awkward situation—the romantic partner of the man whose somewhat possessive best friend has just some back from the dead, yikes—she hopes people can move past it and appreciate Mary for who she is:

“When I was at the read-through, I remember watching [Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch], and the chemistry between them is just amazing. They do have this beautiful relationship, so getting in between that – which is what Mary does, she becomes this kind of third wheel – was scary. Also, the fans love these two together, so I’m sure Mary won’t be particularly liked by them, but I hope that on the whole people really like her, because she’s a great character and she has some fantastic secrets.”

Let’s listen to Amanda, people: Don’t hate a female character just because she gets in the way of your OTP. Johnlock will happen if the showrunners want it to (I don’t think there’s any way it actually will, because Moffat, but dream on you shipping diamonds). If it doesn’t, that is not the fault of the female character who “comes between them.” Let’s judge each character on their individual merits and not the role they’re given in other characters’ lives, kay?

(via: Digital Spy)

Previously in Sherlock

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  • Joshua S. MacDougall

    I’m not sure I understand why people would hate her. I mean, Watson doesn’t go away in the stories after he gets married. In fact, he gets married pretty early on in the Sherlock canon though and still participates (I mean… he is the narrator after all) in Sherlock’s cases. I don’t see how this will be much different.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I hope you’re right, but I’ve already seen some aggression directed toward her on Tumblr. The Sherlock fandom can be… intense.

  • http://thescienceofobsession.tumblr.com/ R.O.U.S.

    I’m hoping she’s sassy, a character that can go toe-to-toe with Sherlock. I think that’s our best chance for seeing a good insertion of a ‘third wheel’ into this famous friendship. I’d love to see John just stand back and watch some fireworks. No, that’s not canon, but let’s face it – ACD canon Mary is a barely-there wet blanket, and they wouldn’t be including her here unless they plan to do something fun with her (come on Moffat don’t let me down).

    As for ship-related hating, well some people are just into causing a stir. I’m a diehard Johnlock fan, and I certainly don’t expect any action when I watch this show. There’s a necessity to separate fandom from source material, and folks can have problems with that sometimes.

  • Amy W

    I have to disagree about Mary being a wet blanket. I loved her in Sign of Four (I mean AFTER that she’s barely there, but only because she’s not involved in the stories, but she STARTS the story in Sign of Four), she showed a lot of agency and independence– particularly for a woman of that era, compared to the majority of women (what there is of them at all) in the stories. She was smart– there were several times where she had been thinking ahead and actually anticipated some of Holmes’ questions– she was never like “Oh I’m so helpless, help me, brave men!” but was more like “Okay, I’ve done everything I can do and still can’t solve this, I think I’ll hire this expert I’ve heard about.” (Oh yeah, she’s also brave).

    From a relationship standpoint I loved her even more, for her effect on the chemistry of the guys. She doesn’t “ruin everything” at ALL– she adds a bit of conflict that is REALLY FUN. The book STARTS with Holmes complaining that Watson puts too much emotional stuff in his write-ups of the cases, and then here comes this woman who sweeps the good doctor off his feet, and listen, every time he gets sidetracked in the narrative talking about how wonderful she is and how sappy he feels, I got the sense that, true as it may have been, he was making a POINT of weaving it into the narrative JUST TO ANNOY HOLMES, and it was delicious.

    In short, I love Mary, and Amanda’s perfect (although I’m jealous, she gets to be DOUBLY married to my darling true love soulmate Martin, man, at least let somebody else be PRETEND-married to him!… not that I would have had any chance at the part, being, you know, not an actress or British), and I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

  • Amy W

    He IS right, because it’s stupid to hate on her, but unfortunately some people will anyway. But they’re stupid. I hope the more mature members of fandom will set them straight.

  • http://thescienceofobsession.tumblr.com/ R.O.U.S.

    I stand corrected by your ACD fangasm, and it’s a lovely thing. I never really discussed the original stories much, mostly get involved in more modern meta and then have also read the stories. It’s a shame, really.

    Perhaps instead of ‘wet blanket’ I should have said ‘is barely around.’ Because, honestly, that was about my only impression of her. A bit of ‘oh yeah, and Watson got married.’ I shall give her a bit more thought next time.

  • Amy W

    :D Thanks! I have to admit that I’m not actually a big ACD fan, though, it’s just that Sign of Four is my favorite Holmes story so I remember it best and most passionately.

  • Anonymous

    I hope she’s prepared for the fact that Mary Morstan dies during the 3 years Sherlock Holmes travelled around the world leaving Watson & wife alone in London! ;-)

  • jenna

    the issue i take is that a female character is being used to undermine someone else’s relationship. why is no one talking about how problematic that is? Oh look…here comes the female coming to ruin other relationships. why is no one talking about that? that thats what one her character’s main purposes is?

    Arguably, the Holmes/Watson friendship/relationship will always be the most important because thats just the way it is. And its a good thing.

    I just don’t want them to use Mary to destroy what little they already give us because that would be just so wrong. She’s not supposed to really change anything. Thats my worry here. In the books…the only thing she changed was Watson’s living arrangement. But even then…his relationship with Holmes barely changed at all.

    I’m just afraid they are going to overkill in the new series.

    And as far as canon goes. Yeah she does die. Maybe she won’t have to to die in the show. But she must depart somehow. Even fast and loose as they are with canon, having Mary stick around would be a MAJOR change. And I hope they don’t do that. They don’t have to kill her off. But I do hope for an emotional departure either at the end of Series 3, or in Series 4.

  • Ursula L

    Since this is a modernized Sherlock, I’d expect the relationship between John and Mary to be modernized, not the Victorian ideal of “separate spheres” that would let John run off with Sherlock and leave Mary at home all the time.

    Both John and Mary should be expecting a more equal relationship. Probably both working outside the home, and with both John and Mary being at home regularly, both participating in housework, cooking, etc.

    Not John having his job as a Doctor, and running off with Sherlock, and leaving Mary behind all the time to keep things running at home.

    So a contemporary John/Mary relationship should have more affect on the John/Sherlock relationship than the Victorian one did.

  • Amy W

    But in this case, weren’t those particular three years supposed to have happened in between THESE two seasons?

  • Anonymous

    Disclaimer. I LOVE Amanda. She’s so in tune with the BBC Sherlockians it’s very heartwarming. I jus think that casting her as Mary had less to do with her skill as an actress (which is very high) and more with “Well the fans will HAVE to like Mary because it’s Amanda!”. Seems more like a strategic move to ward off the Johnlock shippers more than anything. Also I’m very apprehensive about Moffat writing Morstan due to his previous track record of “sassy, no nonsense woman who floors the main male characters”

  • Anonymous

    That’s true! But as they are not really caring for the original storylines…