Doctor Who’s whirlwind global tour landed in New York City today with Steven Moffat, Jenna Coleman, and new Doctor, Peter Capaldi.
After a press event where a Cyberman came by to delete people upon request, the press were treated to a screening. We can’t reveal details just yet (if for no other reason than Steven Moffat jokingly threatened to take our children hostage if we did), but I can tell you nine days from now fans are in for a hell of a ride.
Here are the top non-spoilery facts we learned today.
1. There is a new title sequence created by a fan
The new title sequence is a huge departure from anything we have seen so far. The audio is the familiar da-da-da-da, only with a stronger baseline and less techno-glitz. It’s definitely a case of less is more. The imagery has a steam-punk feel with gears of clockwork dominating as the TARDIS swirls through the Time Vortex.
2. Peter Capaldi draws you in without over selling it
Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara, said it best when she said she was drawn to Peter Capaldi’s performance not because he runs around the TARDIS flapping his arms and saying, “look at me.” His Doctor is quieter and more internal than recent incarnations. He draws you in and you want to know more because you want to know him on a personal level. Jenna stated, “the room comes to him, he doesn’t go to the room.”
3. Nods to other Doctors
There will be nods to other Doctors from time-to-time. In the episode that is coming up on August 23, there are two nods: one to a classic Doctor and one to a more modern one. Nonetheless, there will not be any ongoing quirks or ticks from previous Doctors that Capaldi will regularly incorporate into this performance. His Doctor is his own man.
4. Don’t worry… things will blow up
Steven Moffat assures fans that there will still be plenty of explosions and chase sequences despite the fact that Peter Capaldi is older than recent Doctors. In speaking about the magic of the character, and why the Doctor is timeless, Moffat stated, “The Doctor doesn’t know he’s a hero. He’s just a man who can’t drive a time machine properly.”
5. The fanboy moment
Every Doctor has a moment when his inner 10-year-old boy comes out. According to both Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat, it was when after a chase sequence through an airshaft, Peter Capaldi popped his head out and said with great enthusiasm, “CYBERMEN!” (Capaldi adored that moment, “when else do you get to do these things!”
6. Talking to Daleks
… is harder than you’d think. Nick Briggs does the voice off camera, the motion operator is off to another side, and then there’s the actor in the Dalek contraption who Capaldi rehearses with before hand when he isn’t in costume. It all came together for Capaldi when Briggs did the voice. Incidentally, Peter Capaldi did a spot on, spontaneous imitation of Nick Briggs’ Dalek voice that was so good the audience broke out in applause. It caused Moffat to quip, “Well, we could save a lot of money there. Budget cuts and you have double duty.”
7. Filming locations
This series is pretty much limiting itself to outer space and the U.K. Jenna Coleman stated, “We’re very domestic, actually.” Moffat isn’t ruling out travel in the future, but it’s not happening in the current series.
8. On the various fan responses
Unsurprisingly, Moffat is not a wild Twitter fan. He shared a tip he received from Gale Ann Hurd (executive producer of The Walking Dead): “You can’t mistake Twitter with the voice of the fans.” On the other hand, he loves fan ideas when it comes to well executed and thought out creativity rather than a 140 character comment. An example: He used fan talent that was pointed out to him on YouTube to do their new title sequence which he felt was better than anything they had come up with in-house (see below). Jenna Coleman also spoke up about loving the art that the fans come up with and the costumes.
9. On adjusting to each other
Jenna Coleman says the look of disbelief on her face when Clara sees the Doctor in action for the first time in the debut episode is real. She watched Peter Capaldi “throw 1,000 things at the wall” in his performance and was amazed at the creativity. Peter spoke about them getting to know each other as people just as the Doctor and Clara are on screen, and he thinks it works to their advantage.
10. On living the dream
Peter Capaldi has been a Doctor Who fan since he was a 5 years old. He credits previous Doctors like William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee for having more influence on him wanting to be an actor and his acting style than English actor Laurence Olivier ever did. It’s obvious that he can’t wait to explore more of the Doctor – his face lights up every time he talks about it.
Doctor Who is back on BBC America on Saturday, August 23 at 8:00 ET.