This article! #69 says that the first cut of HLV was five and a half hours long, which (and, disclaimer, I’m not a film person or anything here, but) seems really excessive given that an entire series of Sherlock is only four and a half hours long? And only 13.5 hours of it exist in the entire world? Particularly given how they’ve claimed that they had to fluff up TSOT when it was too short? They say the cut bits include ‘unscripted moments’ and ‘Martin folding a shirt’ but you won’t convince me that there’s almost a season’s worth of footage of Martin and Ben giggling while insulting each other and Martin riding his bicycle. There are subplots and explanations and important things that have been filmed that we haven’t seen yet. I mean, think of how much the creepy Magnussen deleted scene changed your reading of every other scene with him. And that was only five minutes!!!
HLV is so tightly put together, you really couldn’t cram another thing into it, and of course that’s part of why it won an Emmy. I assume that it’s like that because it had to be, because of how much time they had to spend editing it down. They figured out what had to be kept for the story to make a minimal amount of sense, and filed away the rest to decide what to do with later. Then maybe, after playing around with what was left on the cutting room floor, they came up with an insane idea that will toy with our emotions even more cruelly by drawing Victorian parallels with everything that’s happened in the past intercut with moving us forward with whatever storyline we’re still missing from HLV. It wouldn’t fit with what they already have planned for S4/5, so they needed a bonus episode to tie up S3 loose ends, and added a fun Victorian twist because they’re ubernerds like that and wanted to see Martin Freeman in that smouldering bowler and moustache. And we know they’ve filmed at least one HLV-timeline scene, maybe to round out what they already have.
Idk, I’m just spitballing at this point and someone who actually knows things can come and tell me I’m completely off base, but when you do that will you explain what happens with the extra hours and hours of footage? Does a first cut of a TV show usually start out 4x too long for the timeslot?