Since 1963, Doctor Who has been expanding audiences’ minds like the inside of a TARDIS, taking them on amazing adventures across space and time with its retinue of quirky Gallifreyan Time Lords. For its 50th anniversary panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con, you can imagine that BBC America would pull out all the stops, particularly with a departing Eleventh Doctor. The panel featured Doctor Who stars Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, writer and executive producers Marcus Wilson and Steven Moffat, An Adventure in Space and Time star David Bradley (who’ll be playing original Doctor actor William Hartnell in a Doctor Who series origin story), and writer/executive producer Mark Gatiss. Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson moderated.
Ferguson remarked that Moffat had introduced a pathos into the show with Amy and Rory’s death. Moffat in his defense said he’d kept them alive until their eighties, so how could he be more merciful.
Bradley, who’s portraying Hartnell asked if he’s felt any tension from Con-goers since the Game of Thrones episode (in which he played Walder Frey, responsible for the Red Wedding’s carnage). He joked that he’s received a lot fewer wedding invitations since.
Moffat said that for the fiftieth episode, there’s a lot of stuff they’d been setting up for a long time, and Smith said he’s determined to make his final episode “a real belter.”
Smith described the difference between his Doctor and David Tennant‘s Doctor is Ten is more swashbuckling, and Eleven is more flummoxed. Coleman described Eleven as androgynous.
Moffat then sneaked a trailer for the 50th anniversary episode featuring a team-up between Smith and Tennant, with Billie Piper returning as Rose.
A Con attendee asked if the show would be returning to America to shoot. Moffat and Wilson said it’s possible, given a good reason to set the show there, such as an alien invasion at Comic-Con.
Moffat was asked if he enjoyed doing episodes set in a historical context. He said he usually gets other writers to do them, as he hates to do research. He described The Doctor as a being who lives in the moment and is every age at the same time, and credited Smith for being able to combine the old man and child simultaneously. Moffat was asked if Captain Jack would return in the fiftieth episode, to which he responded Captain Jack’s potential return would always be story-driven.
Smith recounted that he and Coleman had spent the Con week stopping people dressed at The Doctor and Clara and complimenting them on their cosplay.
The panel was asked what their favorite episodes were, and Gatiss said his favorite was the episode with Dame Diana Rigg, where she opens her coat to reveal a red leech sucking at her chest, as he never thought he’d see that on British television. Asked what character they’d play other than themselves, Smith said he’d want to play The Master, Coleman wants to play Strax, Moffat and Bradley both want to play The Doctor.
Moffat said when he writes Doctor Who, he writes what he wants to see, not what he thinks others want to see. Moffat said his favorite River Song moment was her farewell, as it’s the first time The Doctor has ever initiated a kiss, grabbed someone and actively kissed them.
Moffat remarked that Doctor Who is supposed to be healthily frightening fiction, but he would never do gore, as it’s not in the style of the show.
The 50th anniversary episode is scheduled to air on November 23, 2013.
We’ll have panels from the photo soon, so check back!
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