At some point, we're all going to be Benedict Cumberbatch fans.
It doesn't matter whether you like the Cumberbunny or not. It doesn't matter if you're a hardcore Jeremy Brett fanatic. If you keep yourself connected to the Sherlockian data streams at the levels of the average internet user, you're just going to find your brain filled with facts about the photobombing otter of the thespian world. In our omnivorous hunger for more and more Sherlock-related data, the Sherlockian community has whole-heartedly accepted Benedict Cumberbatch as one more collectable icon of Sherlock Holmes.
In other words, if an article is about Benedict Cumberbatch, it's about Sherlock Holmes.
While actors sometimes despise type-casting, or being over-identified with a character, there's also a reverse upside to it . . . at some point, the fans of that character will add you to their eternal playlist from here on in. At some point, a hyperactive Holmes fan starts having an interest in every movie Basil Rathbone did, or going back and watching My Fair Lady just to see Jeremy Brett seem to sing. It's the marker of a truly iconic Sherlock Holmes actor, that point at which Sherlockians adopt them whole-heartedly as a part of Sherlockian culture.
And I'd say good ol' Benedict has arrived.
Comparing him to Robert Downey Jr. and Jonny Lee Miller especially illustrates the point. Downey is Downey is Downey, playing Holmes or not, and his fandom is a separate thing. Miller . . . well, Miller is yet to make that impact, to cross that line . . . is it in the future? His chances are definitely lessened by Benedict's presence, but there are always those niche Sherlockians who will adopt the odd Holmes actor as a specialty, so he won't be left completely in the cold.
But as for Mr. Cumberbatch, I don't think I'm over-estimating things to say that line has been crossed. And if you're a Sherlockian, you may not be a fan of his now, but one day you will be.
Or at least seem like one to any outside observer, despite any protestations to the contrary.
Welcome to Cumberland. Gap or no.