12:15 pm EDT, October 8, 2018

NYCC: ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner hints at historical episodes outside the UK

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Jodie Whittaker, Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens revealed VERY IMPORTANT hints about the new season of Doctor Who!

Hypable met with the new Doctor, Doctor Who’s new showrunner and its new executive producer at New York Comic Con yesterday. They were just as excited as we were for the new season, and were willing to drop a few careful hints about what’s to come in the next ten episodes.

The dynamic between everyone involved in the show is so beautiful that you can’t help but be filled with joy just seeing how excited they are. Whittaker said that she was whatsapping her fellow cast members that are back in the UK all day, despite the time differences.

Maybe it was because of all the excitement, but the normally tight-lipped group seemed particularly eager to share some pretty informative tips about this season! Here’s what we learned:

No two-parters!

Chibnall said that their vision when working on the show has always been to “make a series of Doctor Who that everybody can love, everybody can feel included in, everybody can access.” He and Strevens wanted it to be “an access point” for people who are starting to watch for the first time — “a recruiting video for a whole new audience.”

That means that, differently from past seasons, they won’t be doing any two-parters this season! Every episode is a separate story with its own conclusion.

doctor who nycc episode 1

We’re branching out from the UK

In the past, I’ve written about how badly I want to see historical Doctor Who episodes that go outside of the UK to other parts of the world that have equally rich histories. So of course, I jumped at the chance to ask Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens about it.

This season, things are changing for the mostly-UK-centric show. “We go around the world this year,” Chibnall said. “Our first historical is not a UK historical.” And that actually links back to the very first series of Doctor Who from 1963, when the Doctor visited Marco Polo’s era, the Aztecs, and the French reign of terror.

(Funnily enough, in a panel the day before, David Tennant revealed that the only reason The Fires of Pompeii happened was because HBO had a leftover set that was cheap to use. Back then, the BBC didn’t want to spend the amount of money it would take to travel elsewhere with the show!)

This Doctor isn’t a loner

Chibnall and Strevens aren’t featuring any episodes that star the Doctor without her companions this season. “This Doctor is very inclusive, loves having a gang,” Chibnall said. He also mentioned that he feels like Steven Moffat’s solo-Doctor episodes set a high bar for that sort of character study — such as Heaven’s End, featuring Peter Capaldi.
He isn’t ruling out any episodes like that for future seasons, but at the moment, he says, “she kind of drags everyone with her.”

doctor who nycc team

Every stitch of the Doctor’s outfit has meaning

Whittaker’s vision of her Doctor is all about hope. She wanted to encourage everyone, both as the Doctor and as an actor, “to see the beauty and the joy in possibility.” In this season, there might be stories that challenge that idea, which is crucial to the Doctor’s growth as a character, and the perspectives of everyone around her.

And she’s imbued that theme into everything she put into the character — even the outfit. She said that she was involved in every step of the design process, and that the outfit has a journey that will be revealed throughout the episodes.

The process to come up with it was closely tied to the development of her and Chibnall’s vision of what the Thirteenth Doctor is all about. In the early days surrounding her casting, she sent Chibnall pictures that expressed some of the feelings she associated with the Doctor. One of them was a black-and-white photograph of a woman striding through a field, wearing a skirt and a T-shirt. A “mashup of the old and the new.”

“It was a feeling,” she said, more than a specific look. The figure seemed to be about “a person, not a man or a woman… and [the outfit] looked comfortable, most importantly!”

The final result of all their brainstorming is the outfit that we saw at the end of episode 1 of season 11 of Doctor Who. Some hints at all the meaning that’s hidden in “every stitch”: the exterior of the coat represents the dawn sky, and the darker lining represents space.

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