There’s been a lot of love for Doctor Who at San Diego Comic Con this year. We’re sure you’ve already seen the exciting new trailer – but what else did we learn about the upcoming Series 11? Here’s a handy breakdown of the best of the rest…
The centrepiece of SDCC’s Doctor Who celebrations this year was, of course, the main Hall H panel with the new cast and crew. From sonic screwdrivers to Christmas specials, there were plenty of interesting revelations in the hour-long Q&A. If you missed any of the news, you can read the full run-down in our previously-published article…
Jodie Whittaker and co. also took part in a number of interviews, which gave us even more juicy details to sink our teeth into. At the dedicated Doctor Who Press Conference, Jodie reflected on her “nerve-wracking” announcement as the Thirteenth Doctor, but insists she’s not nervous about taking on the role. Rather, she finds it “incredibly liberating” to be the first female Doctor because “the rules are out of the window”. New showrunner Chris Chibnall simply stated that we were “overdue” a female Doctor and casting Jodie in the role was a “no-brainer”.
If you’re worrying that the Doctor’s new gender might cause some problems though, you needn’t panic. “The Doctor’s still the Doctor,” insists Chibnall. Series 11 is not being written, or performed, with any issue of gender in mind. The Thirteenth Doctor is the same enigmatic character as ever, able to walk into a room and bend everyone to their will. Jodie was even able to give a very Doctor-like, off-the-cuff speech on the matter:
“I have never approached a role thinking how would a woman play this role, because I just am one. And I don’t think a guy has ever gone: “How would a guy play this scene?” You just are. It’s your P.O.V. Essentially, my energy and my approach to this is coming from a very instinctive place which feels genderless to me, because it’s never been specifically ingrained in me that that’s a specific way a woman behaves, and that’s a specific way a man behaves. But the best thing about the Doctor is I’m not playing either. I’m an alien, so there’s really no rules. I’ve got two hearts, so I can do whatever I want.”
New Faces, New Worlds, New Times
As for what Series 11 itself will bring – it’s “pretty much all new”, according to Chris Chibnall. Expect new stories, new monsters… and probably not many familiar faces. (Apparently there’s only 2 weeks of filming left, and no returning villains yet!). Jodie agrees, saying Series 11 is for Whovians as well as people who’ve never seen the show before. You don’t need the full 55-year history to tune in and enjoy. In fact, each episode is self-contained, so you won’t feel left out even if you miss one. In Chibnall’s own words, it’s the most inclusive, accessible, mainstream, and entertaining form of Doctor Who you can get. A concentrated hit of everything viewers love about the show, in a bid to remind (or convince!) you that it’s the great idea television has ever had.
Indeed, inclusiveness and accessibility are recurring themes. Series 11 will feature Doctor Who’s first ever writers of colour, with diversity among the directors and editors as well. Production was described as having an “academy” feel, offering training opportunities across all areas of the show. After all, Doctor Who should be the most inclusive show on television. As Tosin Cole chimed in: “it’s 2018, everyone deserves the work!”
New Best Friends
Plenty of series stalwarts are also being revitalised for the new season. You’ll no doubt have noticed that Yas (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh) are labelled as friends rather than companions. According to Chibnall, this is not a change, rather an “evolution”. Just as companions were once assistants, the language is regenerating to feel more natural and contemporary.
The Doctor’s brand new costume also received a lot of attention. Jodie revealed it was based on a black and white photo of a woman “walking with purpose”. She couldn’t tell which era it was from and thought it was “a wonderful expression” of timelessness in one simple look. She also wanted it to be inclusive: you don’t need to be a certain age, shape, or gender to rock Thirteen’s look.
But what of Doctor Who’s most iconic feature of all: the TARDIS? The cast, understandably, were a little hesitant when questioned about it. Chris Chibnall, meanwhile, made no promise we’d see a new TARDIS interior this year – or even a new TARDIS at all. “It exploded!” he handily reminded everyone how Twice Upon a Time ended. Knowingly though, he also added (regarding their entire approach to spoilers): “when it’s ready, we’ll show it to you”. As the countdown to Series 11 begins, remember – good things come to those who wait…