The full-length trailer for the new Doctor Who‘s upcoming eighth season makes one thing crystal-clear: the new Doctor (played by Peter Capaldi) isn’t just physically older than his last three regenerations, he’s also more akin to a seasoned warrior in search of redemption – as opposed to his more boyish predecessors, especially Matt Smith as the most recent Doctor. However, as Smith’s former costar Jenna Coleman – whose character, Clara Oswald, is now traveling with Capaldi’s Time Lord – that change has consequences of its own, for the characters in the Who universe.
Steven Moffat, who is still serving as Doctor Who‘s head writer and show-runner (after three seasons in the position), has promised to mix things up drastically in season eight. One look around the Doctor Who fan community online and you may notice that a number of Whovians seem to share Moffat’s concern that the show has grown predictable of late – and feel that the arrival of a new Doctor brings with it a chance to do something different.
If nothing else, though, Doctor Who season eight will be “different,” judging by what Capaldi said to Empire Magazine on the subject. A longtime Who fan (and we mean longtime), Capaldi informed Empire that he intends to bring out the complexities of the Doctor – and remind everyone that beneath all the whimsical fashion choices and quirkiness, there’s an actual character (a fascinating one who’s entranced people for more than fifty years now, at that).
“It can become a kind of franchise where it’s not a real character at all, but just an amalgam of elements that people think are Doctor Who: a scarf, a bow tie… I wanted to be the actual Doctor Who.”
In the Doctor Who trailer, Capaldi’s Doctor asks Clara “Am I a good man?”, but it sound as though there’s more to that question than you might’ve suspected at first – as the Doctor is always uncertain about his new personality at first, every time he regenerates. Indeed, according to Capaldi, the Doctor is “more alien than he’s been for a while [and] doesn’t quite understand human beings or really care very much about their approval.” Coleman’s comments on the topic (see below) echo that sentiment.
“With Matt’s Doctor [Clara] felt quite safe, really. She knew she’d be caught if she was in danger, but [Capaldi’s Doctor] is a lot less human-friendly and a lot less patient. He’s more removed and inaccessible. You can’t quite access him in the same way.”
Doctor Who‘s new season starts off with a pair of episodes directed by Ben Wheatley, who’s known for making such intense drama/thriller fare as Kill List and A Field in England (among other titles). Which is to say, from the get-go this next season ought to strike a different note than it has in recent years, even while still relying upon some of the familiar instrumentation featured in seasons past. Bring it on, we say.
The new season of Doctor Who premieres on August 23rd, 2014.