While Who’s crew has kept pretty tight-lipped on spoilers for the upcoming ninth series (River Song would be proud), the producers and stars of the BBC sci-fi sensation Doctor Who have continued dropping breadcrumbs to feed the ravenous fans starving for new adventures with the show’s fun time traveller, the Doctor.
Some of those crumbs imply a possible link to past notable events, like Capaldi’s previous debut on the show as Caecilius in the Tenth Doctor episode “Fires of Pompeii,” and the current Doctor’s blink-and-you-miss-it appearance in “The Day of the Doctor.” the show’s 2013 fiftieth anniversary special.
“With regards to my Roman alter-ego, there will be a…he may appear again,” star Peter Capaldi commented at a recent Apple event. Showrunner Steven Moffat confirmed he would tackle Capaldi’s multiple appearances in the Whoniverse in the forthcoming series earlier this year to Doctor Who magazine. On his character’s link to the events of “The Day of the Doctor,” Capaldi told SiriusXM’s Eric Nagel, “Yes…I know stuff that is unfolding in Episode 11 and I know certain things that are happening in Episode 12.” Though announcement of his takeover has been made, the fiftieth anniversary event preceded Peter Capaldi’s official ascension to the Doctor role, instead featuring Tenth and Eleventh Doctors David Tennant and Matt Smith, respectively, alongside current companion Clara, played by Jenna Coleman.
The Master/Missy’s Michelle Gomez also dropped a hint that the garden featured in series 6’s “The Girl Who Waited” and series 8’s “Deep Breath” is significant to the new series. “Oh, there’s no confidence in Doctor Who,” Gomez remarked to Nagel. “Everything’s connected, and that’s what makes it really spooky in a way. Yes, there’s a connection yet to be revealed.”
But while some have speculated that there’s a link between Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams’ mysterious role and characters from the show’s past and present, including Clara and the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan, Moffat put those rumors to rest during the Television Critics Association’s press tour. “One thing I think is worth saying, because it keeps coming up as an issue, is that she is not playing a returning character. She’s a new character…not a character from the Doctor’s past,” he noted. But her role in episodes “The Girl Who Died” and “The Woman Who Lived” is by no means insignificant. “Once you see what she’s up to you’ll appreciate what a clever idea [the role]was…We’re not just throwing her away. It’s a great part and she’s terrific in it.”
Another question weighing heavily on people’s minds has been the Twelfth Doctor’s potential exit from the show after this year. With no confirmation from either Capaldi or Coleman on their returns after the next series’ wrap, fans who have just gotten used to Capaldi’s grumpy but fun regeneration are biting their nails. “It’s the only job in television where everybody asks when you’re leaving!” Moffat commented. “The first question David Tennant got was, ‘How long are you planning to stay?’ He’s like, ‘I just got here!’” Capaldi, however, remains coy, saying only, “[I’ll be staying] certainly until the end of September.”
Meanwhile, Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston has opened up about his time on the show and the reason for his departure after one series. “Myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed so off I went…I’d had enough. I wanted to do it my way, they wanted something else. We were never going to compromise so it was best to be straight about it and just go,” he recounted on BBC Radio 4’s show Loose Ends. “But they’re not here to say their side of it so I’m not going into detail.” Praised by fans and the role’s ancestors for taking a chance on the series’ 2005 reboot, Eccleston still feels the resonance of the show and his place in its history. “I don’t think it’s important that I left – I think it’s important that I did it in the first place. I’m still there – I was in David Tennant, I was in Matt Smith, I was in Peter Capaldi. I’m always there in spirit,” he said. There are a few things he’d change if he was given access to a real-life TARDIS, though. “I think I over-pitched the comedy. If I had my time again, I would do the comedy very different – but I think where I did possibly succeed was in the tortured stuff – surprise surprise!” Since his Who exit, Eccleston has made his mark in both television and film, most memorably in HBO’s The Leftovers and as villain Malekith in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World.
The ninth series of Doctor Who will premiere on BBC and BBC America September 19th.