If this brief interview is any hint, we won’t be seeing the return of two of the most interesting Doctor Who characters—River Song and Captain Jack Harkness—as long as head writer Steven Moffat is around.
I for one am disappointed.
River Song, as played by Alex Kingston, was a larger-than-life character in a show filled with larger-than-life characters. From the first time we saw her in the Silence in the Library episode way back in season 4, River took control of every scene she was in. She possessed a singular confidence that only grew stronger as she showed up in different points in the Doctor’s timeline. And when we learned of River’s vulnerabilities (as well as her unique origin story), she only became stronger. Rarely has a character’s first appearance been their death scene. Moffat made it—and River—work.
And then there’s Jack Harkness. As played by John Barrowman, Jack was similar to River in that he was overflowing with vitality. Like River, he pushed the Doctor’s buttons. He was also groundbreaking: Jack Harkness was openly, and actively, bisexual. And he was fearless. The character was spun off into his own show, Torchwood, which was darker and more adult. Torchwood also revealed Harkness’s deep sadness, as a man who could live forever would have to watch his loved ones die.
In this interview, Moffat addresses the possibility of bringing River Song and Jack Harkness back to Doctor Who. To sum it up, never say never. But it would have to be done right, he continues, and that would be hard to pull off.
If you read between the lines, then we won’t be seeing either return to Doctor Who in the near future. That’s disappointing. Both characters brought much vitality to the show. Hopefully we’ll see the introduction of new iconic characters instead.
As we sit here like young Amy Pond and wait (and wait and wait) for the British sci-fi classic series Doctor Who to return to us — the rumor is that we’ll have to wait until Christmas — here are a few tidbits to hold us over.
First, Matt Smith, the bow-tie-wearing previous Doctor, who we last saw die defending Trenzalore, told an interviewer at a Calgary sci-fi expo that he’d love to make a return.
“I’m just waiting for the next anniversary. I spoke to Steven (Moffat) the other day and said ‘what’s the quickest one we can do?'”
I’m not sure how I feel about that right now. The 50th anniversary show, which featured a few Doctors running around, was tons of fun but it got a little confusing. Then again, with the rate that Doctor Who episodes are produced, we wouldn’t be seeing Smith reprise his role until 2025 at the earliest.
And, there’s a very tenuous rumor that Alex Kingston could come back as River Song, the Doctor’s wife and one of my favorite characters. What’s the evidence? An interview in which Kingston said she looks forward to sharing more of River with the audience.
But then we have Doctor Who head writer Steven Moffat hemming and hawing, wondering if there are more River stories to be told (I vote yes). His logic is that Matt Smith and Alex Kingston worked as a couple because they didn’t look like a couple, while the opposite would be true with Kingston and the latest Doctor Peter Capaldi. I don’t buy it.
Finally, here are a couple of set photos from Doctor Who featuring new Doctor Capaldi, his companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman), and some other people hanging around, via io9.com.
Will the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, be a short-timer as per Christopher Eccleston?
Rumor has it, thanks to UK tabloid the Mirror, that the new 12th doctor in the BBC’s half-century-long sci-fi series Doctor Who, will only stick around for a single season. Christopher Eccleston, who was the 9th Doctor when the show was revived in 2005, left after a single season, supposedly because he clashed with the higher ups over their treatment of the cast and crew.
If the new report is to be believed, Capaldi’s short stint on Doctor Who is for a different reason — to help steer the show in a “different direction.” So what could that mean?
Either 1) they plan on bringing a new actor to play the Doctor, and this actor would either be female or non-white. Why they’d need a soft transition is beyond me. Or, 2) lead writer Steven Moffat won’t stick around after 2014, so a new writer will want his/her own version of the Doctor.
I don’t buy it, and I hope it’s not true. Every regeneration of the Doctor is nearly a different character. It takes a little while to bond with this “new” character, to really get to know him. A single season is not enough bonding time.
In other news, there’s a new companion to ride in the Tardis alongside Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman). This is welcome news. While Clara’s been real nice to look at, she’s never become a three-dimensional character, nowhere in the league of Donna Noble or River Song. She’s served as the Doctor’s conscience, helpmate, and even his savior. But too often she’s felt like just a foil — not a person in her own right. That may never change.
The new character is a colleague of Clara’s, a teacher named Danny Pink, played by British actor Samuel Anderson. He’s listed as a recurring character. Let’s see what he brings to Doctor Who.
Matt Smith managed to make the eleventh Doctor both world-weary and child-like. Now it’s time for a change.
Confession: when I first saw the promo shots for the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, a few years back, my first thought was: why the hell are they casting this too-young beanpole as the Doctor? No one could top David Tennant. I figured Steven Moffat was swinging for the younger demos, acting skills be damned.
And… I was wrong. From the first scenes with a young Amy Pond, where he’s sampling custard and fish fingers, I got it. Matt Smith was using his age (or lack of) to bring a different quality to the Doctor.
Sticking with the relaunched series, Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor was haunted and zany. But Eccleston only stuck around for one season. Then came Tennant as the tenth. He redefined the Doctor. Tennant was so assured in the role; he filled it out completely. I still insist that the season with Donna Noble is the best, and the episodes where we first meet River Song are the pinnacle of Doctor Who, both in terms of acting and writing.
But back to Matt Smith. No actor wants to do Doctor Who forever, apparently, so when Tennant moved on, Smith came aboard. Slowly I warmed to him. But the episode where I truly became a Matt Smith fan was the two-parter The Rebel Flesh/Almost People, where Smith played two versions of the Doctor. Each was the same, yet distinct. Subtle but brilliant.
There’s so much to say about Smith’s incarnation of the Doctor. I loved the River Song arc. I felt his loss when Amy Pond was separated from him forever. And I understood that Smith’s doctor could be the man so dangerous that hordes would try to destroy him in A Good Man Goes to War.
Goodbye Matt Smith, and number eleven. It’s been great.