It’s the end of an era for ‘Doctor Who’. Or rather, it will be, with both Peter Capaldi and longtime producer Steven Moffat on track to leave the series following this year’s Christmas special, which we now know to be titled ‘Twice Upon a Time’. Accordingly, the panel was focused on the program’s immediate future, while also taking some time to look back at Moffat’s years at the helm.
The centerpiece of the panel was the debut of the first trailer (which you can watch here) for ‘Twice Upon a Time’. Of course, the trailer both revealed the special’s title and providing some tantalizing hints of its plot, but that wasn’t all. It also confirmed Pearl Mackie’s rumored return as Bill Potts following her apparent exit in the season finale. To the audience’s audible disappointment, Mackie confirmed that this will be her final appearance on the series, though she was quick to note that “[It] is ‘Doctor Who’, so never say never.” Additionally, the preview introduced a character played by ‘Sherlock’ co-creator and occasional ‘Doctor Who’ contributor Mark Gatiss. Gatiss’s character, a First World War officer, is currently known only as the Captain.
The trailer was also awash in references to the classic era of ‘Doctor Who’ in general, and specifically to ‘The Tenth Planet’, the serial in which viewers first saw the Doctor regenerate. This is to be expected, given that we have long known that David Bradley will be appearing as the First Doctor. The specific nods to ‘The Tenth Planet’ (which include the opening “Love, pride, hate…” monologue, the snowy setting in which the Twelfth Doctor’s TARDIS has materialized, and the presence of a young woman matching the description of classic companion Polly, originally played by Anneke Wills) are likewise no accident, as Moffat explained during the panel that both the First and Twelfth Doctors will be on the verge of regeneration when we meet them. It’s also worth pointing out that ‘The Tenth Planet’ also saw the Doctor confront (and indeed, introduced) the Cybermen, complete with the unforgettable design that the show revisited in this year’s two part finale. While it may be the end of an era, there is no doubt that Moffat and Capaldi plan on going out in style.
Of course, the end of one era inevitably marks the beginning of another. And there is perhaps no show on television for which that holds more truth than ‘Doctor Who’. While the newly announced Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker was not in attendance, thus allowing the focus to remain on the Christmas special, the panelists nonetheless addressed her casting. Moffat was the first to broach the subject, specifically addressing the question of backlash to the casting of the first female Doctor:
There is so many press articles about a backlash among the ‘Doctor Who’ fandom about casting a female Doctor. There has been no backlash at all. Eighty percent approval on social media. So many people wanting to pretend there is a problem. There isn’t. It’s been incredibly progressive and enlightened. I wish every other journalist who is writing the alternative would shut the hell up.
You certainly can’t accuse the man of not being direct, can you? Capaldi followed, striking a positive, diplomatic tone and focusing more on his own excitement for Whittaker’s casting:
I think Jodie is going to be amazing. I spoke to her the other day and she’s so full of excitement and passion about the show. It’s thrilling to know it’s in the hands of someone who cares for it deeply and is so excited about it. So she’s a great choice for it.
‘Doctor Who’ will return this Christmas for the broadcast of ‘Twice Upon A Time’. The special, which will culminate in the regeneration of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, is also set to feature Pearl Mackie, David Bradley, and Mark Gatiss. In addition to Capaldi, producer Steven Moffat will also be bowing out at Christmas. The outgoing star and showrunner will be succeeded by Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall, respectively.
You can watch the full panel below:
Video courtesy of Flicks and the City
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more news on both ‘Twice Upon a Time’ and the upcoming eleventh season of ‘Doctor Who’ as it becomes available!