It’s a big year for “Doctor Who” at Comic-Con and not just because 2013 is the sci-fi stalwart’s 50th Anniversary season. It’s also the first Comic-Con appearance for Jenna Coleman and last for Matt Smith — at least as the Doctor — since he will depart the role in the upcoming annual Christmas special.
All that, plus fans got their first look at the hotly anticipated 50th Anniversary special — which premieres in November and features beloved former cast members David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler). However, there’s nothing more important to current “Doctor Who” showrunner Steven Moffat than secrecy, so before the Anniversary special trailer screened, he warned the crowd: “One thing is very important, this is a Comic-Con exclusive. It is only being seen here at this time on this day. If this goes online, if the sound goes online, there will be no more Comic-Con exclusives from ‘Doctor Who’ or ‘Sherlock.'”
The trailer is sure to be released at some point, but until then you’ll just have to trust us that it’s worth the wait. [Update: The BBC has confirmed the trailer was a Comic-Con exclusive and there are no plans to release it online, but promises additional goodies will be made available in time.]
It opens with the Eleventh Doctor’s line “I’ve had many faces, many lives. There’s one life I’ve tried very hard to forget…” and launches into a frenzy of ecstatic “Who” action involving Daleks, Rose, Clara, the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor, an all new creature and John Hurt’s mysterious new Doctor (i.e. that life the Doctor has tried so hard to forget).
Among the best bits: Ten and Eleven have a sonic screwdriver-off, Rose warning “the moment is coming,” and an awe-inspiring scene of Ten, Eleven and Hurt’s Doctor all walking together to face down… something.
“You’ve redecorated,” the Tenth Doctor tells Eleven inside the new TARDIS. “I don’t like it.”
The trailer closes with the ominous warning that the Doctor will face “his greatest threat … himself.”
Rest assured, Whovians, this special is gonna be huge.
Even better, Smith and Coleman still have one more special to shoot. The Christmas episode (a.k.a. the Eleventh Doctor’s farewell) is scheduled to begin production in September.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait to go back and shoot,” Smith enthused. “We’ll try to make the Christmas special one of the best, just brilliant, inventive, moving, all those things — I’m determined to make it a real belter.”
“That’s what watching that trailer does,” Coleman added. “I want to get back to Cardiff, I want to get back on set!”
With some details of the Christmas special still up in the air, Smith tossed out a plea for a different location. “I’m just gonna go on record,” he told the crowd. “I really want to shoot the Christmas special in America.”
After much cheers and applause (which rarely let up during the panel), Smith asked Moffat: “Can I get a definitely maybe?”
Moffat’s one word answer: “No!”
More highlights from the panel:
– Although moderator Craig Ferguson made a valiant attempt to get some breaking news, Moffat confirmed the new Doctor has yet to be cast.
– In response to a fan wondering why Captain Jack (John Barrowman) won’t be in the Anniversary special, Moffat answered:” You can’t put everybody in the 50th! He’s been gone for a very long time. And how do you know what is or what isn’t in the 50th? I’ve lied my ass off for months. You know nothing.” As for the prospect of Jack coming back in a future story, Moffat allowed: “It’s always story driven, if we have a great idea for Captain Jack he’ll come back. If we don’t, he won’t. Boring answer but it’s the truth.”
– Coleman has been loving her experience with “Doctor Who” and her first visit to Comic-Con: “[My life] is changing every day at quite a fast right. I get filled with the magic of it all. This is my first experience of Comic-Con and it’s been so great to see people in the streets — Doctors and Claras — to see the effort people go to, it’s really rewarding.”
– Writer Mark Gatiss revealed his favorite bit from the past season was the big reveal involving Dame Diana Rigg in “The Crimson Horror”: “The moment she pulls back her dress to reveal a prehistoric red beast is clutching her breast is something I never thought I’d see on British television.”
– Moffat spoke to the universal qualities of every Doctor and what Smith has done especially well in his portrayal: “There is only one Doctor. He has lots of different faces but he’s always the same. He lives in the moment all the time, he never looks back because if he did he’d be staring all day. As a time traveler I suppose everything is happening to him all at once anyway.
“I sort of think he’s every age at once as well. What Matt to date has done the best [of everyone who’s played the role] is to combine the old man and the child so you see them both all the time, every second he’s on there. [The Doctor] doesn’t know he’s the hero. He’d be really surprised there’s a show about him. He’s a big kid and an old man at the same time and we love him.”
– Moffat also said he was surprised no one picked up on something very important in the Doctor’s final scene with River Song: “It’s the first time we ever see the Doctor kiss somebody else instead of get kissed. To go for it, with intent.”
– In a round of “what other ‘Doctor Who’ role would you want to play” Smith answered: “Probably the Master just because I think it’s an interesting alternative and it’s quite meaty.” While Coleman responded: “I’d play Strax.” (And then Moffat joked she’s not tall enough.) And Moffat said: “I could never be the Doctor because I’m rubbish at acting but I’ve wanted to be the Doctor all my life.”