As the Doctor Who World Tour continues around the globe, in preparation for the season 8 premiere, a steady stream of new series details are being left in its wake. For weeks, fans have been scraping together minor pieces of information to speculate on what showrunner Steven Moffat and his new Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, have in store for Doctor Who season 8 - that is until BBC began unloading official details: a Deep Breath premiere synopsis and trailer as well as a full list of episode titles for the upcoming series.
The release of a complete season 8 title lineup (along with their respective directors and writers) is especially interesting - since the network typically unveils those details throughout a season to help build buzz for each individual installment. Of course, like most Doctor Who info, the titles are vague hints, rather than concrete story spoilers, and there's still plenty of opportunity for BBC to shed further light on each chapter in the coming months - by unveiling release dates, synopses, and official episode photos.
To that end, with only 4 days left until the season 8 premiere, the network is releasing a new batch of stills from "Deep Breath."
Check out the full gallery of images from Doctor Who season 8, episode 1, below (click for full versions):
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Unfortunately, the new images are little more than a fun tease for the premiere - since they only reinforce what we already know about the episode: it has been set in Victorian London, features a rampaging dinosaur, spontaneous combustion, as well as the return of sidekicks Madame Vastra and Strax.
Still, for those who were not fortunate enough to attend pre-screenings of "Deep Breath" during the Doctor Who World Tour, two important questions remain: how will Peter Capaldi differentiate his iteration of the Time Lord and will fans embrace it?
For months, Moffat and Capaldi have indicated that the Twelfth Doctor will be very different from his predecessors - teasing that this version is "darker," "more alien," and downright "rude" at times. As a result, new Who fans are likely to find Capaldi's Doctor will be a major (as well as off-putting) change from Tennant and Smith's relatively polite takes on the Gallifreyan adventurer. Regardless there is plenty of precedent for a ruder Doctor, since the classic series includes more than one grumpy and curmudgeonly variation of the character - plus Christopher Eccleston (as the ninth Doctor) and John Hurt (as the War Doctor) both tapped into slightly more alien and somber sides to the time traveler, respectively.
To that end, in a new interview with Radio Times [via The Guardian], Capaldi indicated that he wants to present a "more grown up Doctor" who is also "still mirthful" - someone who is "serious but still quite comic." The actor fully admits that finding that balance has not been easy - and, even after filming for seven whole months, his Doctor is still a work in progress:
"I don't know if it's quite fallen into place yet. I'm trying all the time to see what works and what doesn't work."
In the interview Capaldi openly admits that every episode of the series is a massive balancing act:
"Sometimes you're in the middle of a big production that has a lot of BBC politics and administration at work and it's a big commercial vehicle. But you're an actor and sometimes have to compare notes to see how the others might have felt about the things I am going through or am being asked to do. It's good to be able to chat to people who have been in the same situation."
As we've previously suggested, while Moffat might want to explore a different shade of the Doctor, BBC also has a vested interested in ensuring the character's appeal continues to expand. At this time, Doctor Who is more popular than ever - with viewers around the world tuning-in and buying merchandise to express their love for the show. Should Capaldi and Moffat's unique take on the Time Lord prove to actually be dislikable or less interesting than what came before, the network will (without a doubt) put pressure on the showrunner and actor to find a more palatable compromise.
For now, we'll have to wait and see how fans react to Capaldi's Doctor but it's also important to point out that the series has always been about evolution and regeneration - literally and figuratively. New Who fans have helped propel the Time Lord to unprecedented levels of success but if BBC just paraded out a steady stream of thirty or twenty-something actors to play the Doctor, they'd be undercutting one of the primary draws of the show: the Doctor can become anyone - well, except for a female or a nonwhite actor (at least not yet).
Casting a woman or non-caucasian performer in the lead role would have been an interesting way to refresh the series formula, and might very easily be BBC's next move after Capaldi, but right now we are at the beginning of an all new regeneration cycle - one that might even lead to significant changes for the show in the coming months.
Hopefully, the actor can find his footing in the role - successfully exploring fresh aspects of the character while also providing the same charm and depth that audiences have come to expect.
The countdown to Capaldi has begun:
We'll keep you up to date as more Doctor Who season 8 details are revealed.
Doctor Who season 8 will premiere August 23rd on BBC and BBC America.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Doctor Who, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.