Doctor Who returned to San Diego Comic-Con Thursday after being absent last year, but came back with a panel featuring Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez (who plays Missy on the show) and showrunner Steven Moffat.
The panel was moderated by Chris Hardwick and, following a clip bringing Hall H fans up to speed on Season 8, the crowd was treated to a Season 9 teaser that featured Daleks, Zygons, possibly a Cyberman, a bunch of new monsters, a whole lot more Missy and Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams. The teaser also revealed the premiere date of Sept. 19.
Beyond the clip, what were the highlights of the panel?
-Moffat responded to an audience question about the Time Lord regenerating into a woman pretty head-on: "Well, I think my opinion is fairly obvious from the show, isn't it? What I think about the possibility, and whether it would work or not? I think I've expressed myself about as clearly as I could, in the context of the show. If you're not reading the subtext, then I'll lend you. But believe me, some people aren't reading that subtext, 'cause it's too subtle."
Some have taken his quote to mean he is opposed to a female Time Lord, but this strikes me as a misinterpretation. He was gesturing to Gomez during the quote as an example that this kind of change is possible. He added that "there is no vacancy" since Capaldi just began.
-Capaldi also weighed in on this: He said a lot has been made of it, but people "should applaud Michelle for coming into this role, embracing it and filling it."
-Maisie William's mysterious character definitely caused cheering. And in the clip, she exchanges words with The Doctor. He clearly recognizes her with a "You?!" and she replies with "What took you so long, old man?"
-An audience member said Moffat had made Matt Smith's Doctor "special" by allowing him to keep his face for the most amount of time in the show's continuity, and asked how the showrunner would do something similar for Peter's. Moffat teased, "I'm not going to answer you, because there's an answer coming up in the show."
-Coleman said Clara is "head first in the TARDIS with the Doctor" this season, and that she isn't waffling about her character's journey's with him. Also, expect more fun adventures between the two, who are more on an equal footing. And there will be less focus on Clara on Earth.
-In Season 9, Coleman said Clara "will teach him how to interact with humans a little bit more." Added Capaldi: "Clara tries ... to make him a bit more of a welcome party guest."
-Gomez said the Master is "the best friend you love to hate, and she gets to say the stuff we think but aren't allowed to say." This season, she said, "There's a slightly different dynamic to her ... There's something slightly different to her." To that point, Moffat said Missy is different but "just as vile & psychopathic as ever, but in a lovely way."
-Who would Capaldi like to see his Doctor travel with? He says he has a special bond with Clara "but would like to see his granddaughter again."
-As much as the overall panel and clips wowed the crowds, the LEGO: Dimensions game trailer shown in the final two minutes of the presentation "melted brains" as Hardwick promised. In it, Batman, Gandalf, Doc Brown and Wildstyle join Capaldi's Doctor to face off against Daleks. It was incredibly geek-out-worthy and may have been the biggest moment of the hour.