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First Glimpse Of Doctor Who's Christmas Villain

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The Doctor Who panel at Comic-Con debuted a much longer version of the trailer for the upcoming Christmas special, which included some dialog and a few tantalizing hints. And new showrunner Steven Moffat and executive producer Julie Gardner gave a few more ideas about how the show may look when Moffat takes over full time in 2010. Among the interesting bits: why the Doctor's daughter didn't die, and whether River Song has met David Tennant before. Minor spoilers ahead.


In the longer version of the 2008 Christmas special trailer, we saw the Doctor asking a small boy what day it was. The little boy replies, with disarming specificity, that it's Christmas Eve 1851. And then Velile Tshabalala, playing temporary companion "Rosita," says that a "creature came out of the shadows, a man made of metal." And later we hear Rosita calling out for the Doctor. We also glimpse Dervla Kerwin's sinister Miss Hartigan, who's at a funeral when a man asks what manner of men these metal figures are. Miss Hartigan replies, "Cybermen," with obvious satisfaction. And then we see Miss Hartigan say "Merry Christmas" in a totally evil way. If you want to ruin your eyes, here's a cameraphone copy:


Other exciting revelations at the Doctor Who and Torchwood panels:

  • Moffat says his famous catch phrase "wibbly wobbly timey whimey" isn't a "get-out clause," because the time travel and manipulation still has to make sense in the story.
  • There were very vague hints about Neil Gaiman writing for Moffat's Who. At his reading, Gaiman said it would be okay to mention to Moffat that it would be nice. And Moffat agreed that it would be nice.
  • People kept asking John Barrowman if he'd read the end of the script for the season three finale, where it's revealed Captain Jack is the Face of Boe, and he hadn't read it yet. Finally, he did read it, and screamed and freaked out with glee.
  • Moffat said you have to give the Doctor credit for "dumping a sligthly clingy girlfriend" by sticking her with a clone.
  • Gardner and Moffat disagreed about whether to bring back Donna's kids at the end of "The Forest Of The Dead." Moffat didn't want to kill off kids in a kids' show, and Gardner thought it was a mistake to bring them back as River Song's kids at the end, because it would be confusing. But now Moffat's changed his mind and thinks it "was a loss of clarity and it makes no sense." Now, when he watches the episode he can't stand watching it after the moment where the TARDIS door closes. But Gardner has changed her mind too, and thinks it makes sense to keep the kids around.
  • It's deliberately vague as to whether River Song recognizes the "essence of the Doctor" or specifically the David Tennant Doctor. But in Moffat's mind, she's met the Tennant Doctor before, and that's not the only Doctor she's met.
  • Moffat thinks the "stunt value" of two Doctors meeting only lasts about eight minutes, and any plot just gets in the way of the wish fulfillment of seeing them chatting. He wouldn't do a longer story involving two Doctors, unless he had a way to get some energy from the fact that the same adventure was happening to this man at two different times in his life.
  • Asked about bringing back random old characters from the classic show, Moffat said it's most important to tailor the show for the new eight-year-old viewers. "We're not in the business of doing nostalgia, we're makking nostalgia for the future."
  • Also, asked whether his Who would be too frightening, he responded: "If your concern is that with me taking over Doctor Who, it's going to be really really frightening every week, then tough." (But Moffat also told Sci Fi Wire that we shouldn't expect all of his episodes to be the same as "Blink," because he'll have to vary his style more when he's overseeing a whole season.)
  • The Doctor's daughter didn't die, as originally planned, because Moffat made an off-hand comment to Russell T. Davies that introducing the character and killing her in the same episode would be "what Star Trek would do."
  • BBC America officially announced that it's picking up the third season of Torchwood to air in the U.S. And the new Torchwood season starts shooting soon. Davies is working on scripts for it right now.