It’s been a long year for Whovians. Fans of the BBC series Doctor Who have had some serious downs in 2016; from Netflix removing the show from their streaming catalogue, to the announcement that the upcoming 10th season of the classic series would be the last for showrunner Stephen Moffat (Sherlock), to the news that there would be no new season of Doctor Who until the spring of 2017. Whovians are nothing if not loyal, however, and while there are still many months between now and the next season premiere, that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to look forward to.
Doctor Who’s famed Christmas specials have become a holiday tradition for Whovians around the globe, and this year promises to be no different. Not only will it be the first episode of Doctor Who in a year, but there’s also the anticipation that the Doctor’s latest companion, Pearl Mackie’s (Doctors) Bill might make an appearance. Though this has previously been denied by the show’s writers, BBC has never exactly played it straight with what to expect from the series. Still, even if that remains true, Moffat’s last Christmas special monumental in and of itself, and Whovians are anticipating big things from his final special. Thankfully, the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi (In the Loop) and Moffat gave some insight into what to expect at New York Comic-Con.
Capaldi and Moffat talked a bit about what to expect from the upcoming Christmas special, with both confirming that the episode would be akin to a superhero story in the vein of Superman. More specifically, the duo cited Christopher Reeve’s legendary outing as the Man of Steel as a direct influence on the spirit of the episode:
SM: "Clark Kent is the best hero ever - every hero since then has been dispensable - apart from Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes!" #DoctorWho— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) October 7, 2016
Presumably, Capaldi is referring to Justin Chatwin’s (American Gothic) Doctor Mysterio, whose name and image were revealed during the 2016 New York Comic-Con festivities. The Christmas special, titled “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, finds The Doctor teaming up with an investigative journalist played by Charity Wakefield (The Player) and the titular hero to stop an imminent alien threat to New York City.
The allusions to Reeve’s portrayal carries with it the promises of a light heart and heroic atmosphere, which were the hallmarks of Superman in the Reeve era, which many superhero fans have found themselves longing for in the wake of the dark and dour tone of Superman’s recent cinematic outings. The reference here implies that Moffat has aimed to bring the fun back to the realm of superheroes with a creation of his own.
That feels like a fitting way to dive into what’s not only Moffat’s final Christmas special, but might well be Capaldi’s as well. Moffat’s departure from the series has led to a rise in speculation that the upcoming 10th season, Capaldi’s third, might be the last for the latest Doctor as well. While there has been speculation that Capaldi will retain the role after Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch) takes over as showrunner in season 11, that remains unconfirmed.
Even with all the imminent changes to the Doctor Who we know and love, it’s nice to see that the show still believes in having fun, first and foremost. Having the Doctor team up with a superhero, especially one who recalls the golden age of cinematic Superman, sounds like a great way to keep the spirit of fun alive, and promises to be a perfect way to celebrate the holidays for Whovians around the globe.
Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio will air in December on BBC1 and BBC America. Season 10 is set to air in 2017, though dates have yet to be confirmed.
Source: Various (see above)
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