For the first time, the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, graced the famous Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center with his presence as the official Doctor Who panel at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con was held, and he and co-stars Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Michelle Gomez (The Master/Missy) and showrunner Steven Moffat brought some delicious dish on the BBC sci-fi.
Hosted by The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, the panel opened with highlights from the show’s previous series, prompting Moffat to speak about writing the Doctor in his many iterations.“The difference in the way you write the Doctor isn’t that great. It’s what the actors bring to it,” he said. Apparently it’s crankiness, according to Hardwick: “I think Steven just saw those qualities in me,” Capaldi joked.
There’s more to the current regeneration of the Doctor than crankiness, though: “He’s a constantly growing character – he’s not a soldier, he’s a good guy,” said Capaldi. “He’d rather there was no violence, he’d rather there was peace.” Companion Clara helps with that, though, Coleman remarked, “A lot of the series was [Clara and the Doctor] working out the dynamic between each other,” noting the regeneration from the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith, into Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor was “kind of like getting to know your best friend all over again.”
But the Doctor wasn’t the only character under the microscope at the panel: Michelle Gomez’s take on the Master, or “Missy,” was also heavily discussed in regards to her identity and motives. “I think he or she or it is everybody’s idea of the best villain you could have,” said Gomez on the popular returning character. “It’s kind of like the best friend that you love to hate – she gets to say all the stuff that we think and we’re not allowed to say. She just has a kind of attitude where the rules don’t apply to her and that makes it really fun to play.” On the relationship between the Master and the Doctor, Gomez called it a “great friendship that went wrong,” while Moffat interestingly referred to it as “a friendship between a vegetarian and a hunter.”
That dynamic is certain to come into play during the upcoming ninth series, the main topic of discussion. Though the panel only gave a few hints about their characters — Gomez hinted “there’s something slightly different to [the Master],” while Coleman alluded to Clara taking up residency in the TARDIS — few words needed be spoken as the series’s first official trailer was shown to the audience and premiered online shortly after. (See below.) At the end of the trailer was a sneak peek of the highly anticipated appearance of Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams’ character, with the implication that the Doctor has met her character before. (Outside of the panel, director Rachel Talalay described series 9 finale’s as “completely different” from series 8’s finale, which she also directed, in a newly released video.)
Hardwick didn’t have all the fun — fans broached questions to the panel as well. On the constantly circulating debate of a possible female Doctor, Moffat responded that “there is no vacancy. You just met Peter Capaldi!” While Coleman said she felt it would happen at some point in the show’s future, Capaldi jokingly suggested trying it out now with a drag episode. A fan also brought up the omnipresent idea of a Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover (something he also tackled during the Sherlock panel), asking how the universe-travelling Time Lord would react to the world-famous sleuth. Capaldi simply replied, “More cleverly.”
But the only thing more strong than the fandom’s love for the 52-years-strong show was the actors’ love for the series and each other. Coleman called Capaldi one of her “favourite human beings,” while Capaldi recalled getting misty-eyed during his first experience on the show as Caecilius in fourth series episode “The Fires of Pompeii,” and said the show is “in my bones.”
Hardwick revealed a Nerdist special called “The Doctor’s Finest” will premiere in August on BBC America, while the BBCOne Twitter dropped the ninth series’ official premiere date: September 19th.