Doctor Who’s Matt Smith was at his final Comic-Con as the Doctor, as he will leave the role in the upcoming annual Christmas special. The Doctor Who panel’s moderator at Comic-Con 2013 was the host of the Late, Late Show, Craig Ferguson, and other people who made up the panel were Jenna Coleman, writer and co-star Mark Gatiss, David Bradley, producer Marcus Wilson, and executive producer and writer, Steven Moffat.
Besides this being the last Comic-Con appearance for Smith, 30, and the very first for Jenna Coleman, it’s an important year for Doctor Who as it marks the 50th Anniversary season of the series.
Fans at Comic-Con got the chance to see a video trailer of the 50th Anniversary special, which premieres in November. It features former cast members David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler). However, Steven Moffat warned the crowd that the video was 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.'”
That’s why I haven’t included the trailer here, though it’s very cool, and it likely will be released in the near future.
The video 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 then we’re treated to a montage of “Who” scenes involving Daleks, Rose, Clara, the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor, an all new creature and John Hurt as a mysterious new Doctor — the life the Doctor has “tried very hard to forget.”
Among other cool scenes: Ten and Eleven have a sonic screwdriver-off, Ten and Rose passionately kiss, and we see a scene of Ten, Eleven and Hurt’s Doctor all walking together to face down… something ominous.
“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.”
The Christmas episode (a.k.a. the Eleventh Doctor’s farewell) is scheduled to begin production in September.
According to Matt Smith:
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.”
Jenna Coleman added:
That’s what watching that trailer does. I want to get back to Cardiff, I want to get back on set!”
The location for the Christmas special hasn’t been firmly decided yet. Matt Smith told the crowd of fans:
I’m just gonna go on record,” he told the crowd. “I really want to shoot the Christmas special in America.”
After a lot of cheering from the audience, Smith asked Moffat: “Can I get a definitely maybe?”
Moffat just issued a defiant”No!”
The twelfth Doctor has yet to be cast, according to Moffat.
When a fan wondered why Captain Jack (John Barrowman) wouldn’t be in the Christmas 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.”
Will Captain Jack ever make another appearance in a future episode? Moffat said:
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.”
Jenna Coleman has had a fantastic time both being a part of Doctor Who and during 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.”
Moffat had very interesting insights into the role of The Doctor and how well Matt Smith has done in playing him:
“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.”
Though Matt Smith said he will miss playing The Doctor, he’s sure the next one will do a great job in the role:
It’s been four years and the best four years. It’s been wonderful. It’s been a privilege to work with [executive producer] Steven Moffat, but I think, ‘When you got to go, you go to go.’ It’s sad and I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss Comic-Con — I love Comic-Con. The world should be more like Comic-Con. It wasn’t an easy decision to come to, but … you can’t play it forever.”
“They’ll get someone amazing [to play the Doctor]. They’ll get someone brilliant to do it. They really will. And that’s the great thing about the show is that it continues, and the strength of it survives, and it’ll get better, and it’ll get bigger, and it’ll keep up, and you’ll forget about me.”
A recap video was also shown. Fans in the audience were particularly saddened when Amy and Rory met their fate at the hands of the Weeping Angels. Moffat, a bit exasperated, later said that they lived into their ‘80s and he asked “how much more merciful could I be?
Gatiss said that he wanted to tell the origin of “Doctor Who” for a long time.“An Adventure In Space and Time,” in which he relates the origins of The Doctor, came about in part as a series of happy coincidences. The trailer for “An Adventure In Space and Time” was also screened at Comic-Con.
Ferguson touched upon the unresolved romantic feelings between the Doctor and his companions. Smith said that Tennant’s Doctor was more of a lady’s man while his Doctor was more awkward with women. Coleman shared her theory that the Eleventh Doctor is asexual. This led to howls of protest form the crowd.
Fans frequently came up to express their thanks and admiration for both the show and for Smith himself, who thanked the fans and said that Doctor Who changed his life. Smith will always be The Doctor to the fans at Comic-Con and everywhere else around the world — at least, one of the faces of The Doctor.
Written by: Douglas Cobb