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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

What’s in Store for the Doctor in Season 9?

By Phil Plait

As you might know, I’m a pretty big Doctor Who fan (as in OHMYGODILOVETHISSHOW), and I’m really looking forward to the next season. While the most recent season had some issues (arg, “Kill the Moon”) there were several great episodes, and tons of lovely scenes. The next and ninth season premiers Sept. 19.

I was at Comic-Con last week and attended a press “round table” with the Doctor Who stars and showrunner Steven Moffat, which was both fun and interesting. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, here’s the trailer for Season 9!

Note: Spoilers ahoy, from here on out. Nothing major, but if you haven’t yet seen Season 8 or don’t want to know anything at all about next season, I suggest leaving here and finding something else to watch.

Well, that was quite a lot! I’m not sure which part was most intriguing, though Peter Capaldi playing guitar is high on my list (he used to be in a punk band with Craig Ferguson).

The trailer was played at the huge Comic-Con Doctor Who panel in Hall H (which seats more than 6,500 people), and the big reveal of Maisie Williams (from Game of Thrones) got a huge cheer. What’s her role here? I can’t help but wonder if (AGAIN, SPOILERS) she’s his granddaughter, Susan. She was his very first companion when the show started in the 1960s and was mentioned off-handedly in an earlier episode of the new reboot. During the press event (before the panel, and before we had seen the trailer) I asked about his granddaughter, and Moffat mentioned the Doctor would like to see her again. Hmmm.

There’s obviously a creepy element to some of the episodes, as you’d expect from Moffat (who wrote “Blink,” “Empty Child,” and “The Doctor Dances,” very creepy episodes indeed). Moffat said that this season, “There are scarier monsters. They’re more ‘creatures from the id,’ from the subconscious. They play with the way the Doctor sees the world. As the season unfolds, there are stranger creatures … the Universe is very dark; inevitably that’s where the Doctor will end up.” I like the sound of that; whenever we see the Doctor himself screwed with, the episodes get more compelling. Io9 has an article looking a bit deeper into some of this

But what about the Doctor and Clara?

According to the actors, their relationship deepens. Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara, had this to say: “Clara has lost ties with Earth, her perspective has changed, she wants to travel, have fun … these will be the glory days of Clara and the Doctor. She’ll be more reckless … she has nothing to lose, seemingly.”

Peter Capaldi added, “The Doctor is deeply, deeply bonded with Clara. He sees things and understands things that are beyond the perspective of human beings. He knows things about Clara’s future that’s informed his decision to stay with her.” She’ll also teach the Doctor more about what it means to be human, and how to interact with them.

Will Clara leave the Doctor any time soon? “Clara loves the Doctor so much I don’t know what it would take to leave,” Coleman said. “[Traveling with him] opens your eyes to the Universe.”

I try to avoid getting spoilers of any kind, so I was surprised to see Michelle Gomez there; she plays Missie, the latest incarnation of The Master. Apparently she wasn’t quite as disintegrated as we were led to believe at the end of Season 8.

Gomez and Moffat talked quite a bit about the Doctor and Missie being two sides of the same coin, being friends. “They’re not enemies at all,” Moffat said. “It’s a friendship between a vegetarian and hunter.”

“She has an attitude that the rules don’t apply to her,” Gomez said. “We both do the same thing. We both kill a lot of people. He feels bad about it. I don’t.”

Watching them on the panel, I was impressed by the clear friendship and respect they all have for each other. And it’s clear they love the show: Capaldi showed up on a day he wasn’t filming so he could watch them film one particular scene involving Clara, whomever Williams plays, Vikings, and a spaceship. 

Come on. You’d show up for that too. I have to admit I’m intrigued.

So, two more months until the premier. I think the trailer is all the spoilering I need, so I’ll avoid any more news … but it did what it’s supposed to do, and got me excited for the oncoming episodes.

In the meantime, you might enjoy this nonspoiler and cute video by Kat Robichaud: “Somebody Call the Doctor.”

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