It feels like it’s been a lifetime since the Doctor fought off a Dalek invasion of Earth (again) on New Year’s Day, but, thank Gallifrey—err, what’s left of it at the minute—because Doctor Who is finally ready to give us a glimpse of its next adventures.
Just revealed at the BBC’s Doctor Who panel for San Diego Comic-Con @ Home—attended by the Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker, and companions old and new Mandip Gill (who plays returning hero Yaz) and John Bishop (the mysterious new Dan, revealed at the climax of this year’s New Year’s Day special)—the trailer picks up in the wake of the Doctor and Yaz’s touching farewell to Graham and Ryan at the end of “Revolution of the Daleks,” as they move on from their friends deciding to call it quits on time travel by, well, promptly finding a new friend. And enemies to fight. Lots of enemies.
Yes, the more things change on Doctor Who, the more things stay the same, as the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan hurtle through time and space in... sometimes less than graceful manners. There’ll be corridors to run (or fall) down! Threats from past, present, and future! And, of course, the Doctor still has plenty to wonder about after the Master revealed her secret connections to the very foundation of Time Lord society at the end of last season. Will she find the truth to her past—her whole past—out in the stars? We’ll have to wait and see.
The first details revealed about the next season at the panel (which you can watch in full below) highlighted that—unlike prior seasons under current showrunner Chris Chibnall—season 13 will tell a singular story, foregoing standalone episodic adventures for a wider narrative. The change, Chibnall acknowledged, was in part due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic; it was previously announced that the pandemic also truncated the season down to eight episodes. “Before we started making it, there were times when we thought we were going to be unable to do the show under covid conditions this year... there were two ways you could go,” Chibnall said. “You could go ‘let’s do lots of tiny little episodes in one room, with no monsters,’ or we could throw down the gauntlet and do the biggest story we’ve ever done. We’re going to go to all kinds of different places, we’re going to have all kinds of characters and monsters, and it’s all going to be part of a bigger whole. It’s definitely the most ambitious thing we’ve done since we’ve been on the series.”
“It’s felt really emotional to come back,” Whittaker added, “because we’re the lucky ones who get to go to work... but it also means this feels so precious, and so fun, because of what we’ve all come out of. In that, it’s always a little bit method, whatever you’re going through you can bring into your character. So whatever huge, emotional challenges we go through, I’m lucky that I can throw that into the Doctor—because it’s always required for the Doctor.”
Alongside the arrival of Bishop as Dan, one newly revealed guest actor for the season was Game of Thrones’ Jacob Anderson, who made a special appearance to introduce his major new character, Vinder. Anderson will, alongside other unrevealed guest stars, will play a larger role across multiple episodes of the new season. “I get to play one of my favorite people that I’ve ever played,” Anderson said of Vinder, in a pre-recorded message for the panel. “This is a real life childhood dream, to be a part of Doctor Who, and even moreso to be in Doctor Who with Jodie, and Chris, who I’ve worked with before, and meeting Mandip and John... it’s a dream come true.” As well as new creatures and locations, it was also teased that the season will see the return of some familiar monsters from the show’s past.
Doctor Who returns for an eight-episode season 13 on both the BBC and BBC America later this year.
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