Comic-Con 2011: DOCTOR WHO Panel Recap plus Trailer for Second-Half of Season 6

     July 25, 2011


Doctor Who is back in America, only this time he doesn’t have to fight the Silence. Instead, he’s kicking back in Hall H amongst fez and bowtie donned fans, giant Daleks and quiet a few human-TARDISes. Doctor Who filled up Comic Con’s Hall H today for panel celebrating the show’s exciting 6th season, and second year of Doctor Eleven, played by Matt Smith. With the show being on hiatus fans are anxiously grabbing at any information they can find while awaiting the show’s return in August. The panel consisted of The Doctor himself, Matt Smith (who was enjoying his first convention in America), his sassy and gorgeous companion Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), producers Piers Wenger and Beth Willis, and writer Toby Whithouse. Hit the jump to find out whether we should be fearing the return of Daleks this fall.

doctor-who-trust-your-doctor-poster-01The panel started off with a quick montage catching up the audience to what happened in the first part of the season, with the death of the Doctor, the introduction of The Flesh, the new enemy seeking war with The Doctor, as well as the revelation of River Song as Amy and Rory’s daughter. The moderator then started a Q&A with his own questions and then opening it up to questions from the audience.  Here is the recap of the panel:

-Neither Smith or Gillan knew that River was Amy’s daughter before hand, though Alex Kingston had been told since the beginning of the previous season.

-For the cast reading scripts is like watching the show; they are always are shocked by what is coming and want to know what is going to happen next.

-Smith and Gillan were not really fans before getting the job because they did not grow up watching the show, the writers however did grow up watching the show and joke about how they had no idea when they were kids that they were researching for there future jobs. Everyone in UK knows what Doctor Who is though, so Smith and Gillan knew what it was. Since the reboot, it has made a comeback as a phenomenon in the UK and everyone involved is really excited that it’s gaining such popularity in the US. They feel wonderful to be part of a legacy that has been around so long and that so many people are passionate about, they feel like the luckiest people

-Neil Gaiman wrote in the Doctor’s Wife draft “INT. INSIDE THE TARDIS (I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to write that line.)” That aside made it all the way to the read through draft because they enjoyed it so much

-They showed a scene from a future episode written by Toby Whithouse called “The God Complex.” It involved a “Shining”-like hotel and Minotaur. Needless to say I cannot wait to see what is happening. The episode is going to be the 11th episode of season 6, airing fourth when the show comes back from hiatus.

-The moderator asked “What does it take to write a good monster for the Doctor?  The producers answered that they need to find the humanity and sympathy of the monster, make it a relatable character (such as in the case of the Vampires of Venice.) They find the connection and complexity of the character for the Doctor to be intrigued by because the Doctor never actually wants to fight the monsters, he wants to find the intention of the monster and investigate what is happening. Each episode is more like a mystery story.

-“Will the astronaut that kills the doctor be addressed?” It will be eventually in due time. Whithouse stated that he wants to find out with the audience, but that the problem with working on Doctor Who is often knowing what is coming and what is going to happen, but saying that the only one who really knows what is going on and Steven Moffat likes to keep things close to the vest. Saying that he tries to keep and ignorant as possible.

-They stopped the panel to show a preview clip montage of what is coming up on Doctor Who for the second half of season 6. Here is the trailer from BBC America :


-“Will there be more Daleks?” As River would say, “Spoilers!”

-A fan mentioned a new album of Doctor Who songs called “Chameleon Circuit” Smith commended the album and talked about how lucky he feels to be a part of such a far reaching fandom and community of talented people.

-“Does anything actually scare the actors on set?” Gillan told a funny story about how Smith likes to hide in her trailer with a giant shoe horn and jump out and scare her (apparently when he did that she cried because she was so scared.)

-“Is there going to be another special along the same line as “The 3 Doctors” and “The 5 Doctors”?” Sure, they would love to do something like that.

-“Is the Doctor’s daughter coming back?” Who knows!

-“Will the Dream Lord be returning?” They want to bring him back. Smith especially wants to bring him back because he liked the idea of the Doctor’s evil alter ego and finds it interesting. That the Doctor has so much blood and guilt on his hands and that that to plays with the darker side of him is an interesting concept.

-Smith has a manual on how to drive the TARDIS and that he has taught Gillan how to drive it as well. He knows what all the buttons do and that if you watch the show closely you can notice that all the controls he uses to take off, land, and put in coordinates are always the same mechanisms and in the same order.

-Gillan’s favorite aliens are The Sisters of Plenitudeand Smith’s are the Weeping Angels.

-They went down the panel and asked who their favorite Doctor was:

Piers Wenger: Tom Baker

Beth Willis: Tom Baker

Toby Whithouse: Tom Baker or David Tennant

Matt Smith: Patrick Troughton or Tom Baker

Karen Gillan: Christopher Eccleston

– One person asked if they thought they were contributing to Modern Mythology. The producers do not feel they are or should claim such a thing, but they do take Doctor Who very seriously and they are grateful for the continued support of the fans who also take it very seriously. They love the show passionately and that the audience does as well is amazing.

-‘Will there ever be a girl doctor?” The Doctor is built and led by the actor or actress chosen, so it is always a possibility. However River is very much like what a female Doctor might be that they fear that she may have stolen the thunder of a female Doctor.

-“How much of Matt Smith is in the Doctor and vice versa?” Smith is very much like the doctor, less competent perhaps. Steven Moffat likes to say, “He just IS the Doctor.” Moffat writes for and with Smith in mind, the producers marvel at how the two come together organically. Smith insists that Amy is cooler then Karen Gillan. Gillan agreed that it was true. Smith talked about becoming the Doctor, saying that as an actor you spend time with the character, becoming them and The Doctor just such an interesting character to become.

-Smith is the first Doctor to get nominated for a BAFTA.

-The writers think that Smith is brilliant and that they are so lucky to have him. He believes getting the role was a game changer for him. The auditions were super secret and he barely had time to practice the lines since he got them a day in advance, but everyone including his mother said that he should be the next doctor. The writers said casting him was the easiest decision they ever made. After they saw him the second time Moffat said, “It’s him, lets face it, it’s always been him.”

-Getting Gillan was a similarly easy decision; after they saw her Moffat jumped up and yelled “We found her!”

doctor-who-matt-smith-karen-gillan-01-“How much science do the writers research for there episodes?” Toby Whithouse confessed that he doesn’t really do that much research into the science aspect , instead researching on the period or tone for the episode he is writing. Steven Moffat came up with the “Spacey-Wacey Timey-Whimey” line, and Whithouse was grateful because most of the “science” aspect of the episodes is made up.

-The Fez came about because Smith had been whining at Moffat to give the Doctor a hat for a while and so Moffat gave him the stupidest hat imaginable. He was disgruntled that River exploded it though. He does say however is all about the Stetson now.

-The tweed jacket and bowtie were Smith’s idea and the writers were very apposed to it until Smith put it on and it just fit, so really Smith created the look of Eleven.

-The sound of the TARDIS flying is so iconic to the fans and to the series that even though it is explained by River that it’s just the Doctor flying with the parking break on they keep the sound.

-“Why do they keep killing Rory?” He’s become the Kenny of the series, but he always comes back and seems to learn things after each death.

-Steven Moffat has told the actors information about the future of their characters and they are keeping this information secret from each other while they are filming (such as the Doctor suspecting that Amy was Flesh.) The actors hope that some of that keeping of these secrets translates to the screen.

-“How many props has Smith broken?” Loads! The Propmaster is amazing on the show, but he’s constantly having to replace sonic screwdrivers and bits of the TARDIS because Smith is clumsy and drops or breaks things a lot. He has a box of about six rotating sonic screwdrivers and Smith breaks about one a day.

-“What show would they love to crossover with?”

Smith: True Blood

Gillan: Star Trek: The Next Generation. She’s admitted to being a huge fan and at this convention she got to meet both Wil Wheton and Brent Spiner, and freaking out about it.

-“What does the Red Setting do on River’s Sonic?” Smith is annoyed that River has a screwdriver and doesn’t consider it to be a real sonic, also he suspects that the red setting turns you into an orangutan.

-“Will we see more glimpses of the Doctor’s darkside?” Smith hopes so. He thinks that is the reason why the Doctor is so bubbly and in a constant state of motion, because the moment that he stops he’ll be forced to face the darker aspects of his past and what he’s done. Also, remember “Rule #1, the Doctor Lies.”

-“What writers would they love to have on the show?” There are a lot but the ones they could think of were JJ Abrams, Raul Daul, Edgar Wright, and they would also love to have Russell T. Davis come back for an episode.

Doctor Who returns to Kill Hitler on August 27th.