San Diego Comic Con 2011 - Doctor Who Panel
This was one panel that took absurdly long to get into and it wasn't even the worst overall to attend. Present at the panel were Beth Willis and Piers Wenfer, executive producers for the show, Toby Whithouse who wrote “Vampires in Venice” and the upcoming episode “The God Complex”, and finally Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. Matt opened up the panel, telling us all that the seaons would be full of twists and turns. It was apparent that many secrets would be coming to light but others would stay hidden for now from the trailers that they showed.
The first question presented to the panel was if they had been fans of the show before they got their parts and roles within it. Karen didn't watch much of it growing up but she knew about it. Whithouse made an interesting comment about how he would get so involved in the show and never thought he was doing research for his future job. Matt told us that he was simply excited to be part of something with such history. Beth was next saying simply it was like working in a toy store. She felt they were the luckiest people in the world. Toby added in something about being a writer of a particular age and writing “Int. TARDIS”. Beth jumped in and commented that for Neil Gaimen's script for “The Doctor's Wife” that just past “Int. TARDIS” he wrote “I've been waiting my entire life to write that” and it persisted through all the drafts!
Next they talked about some of what to expect from the coming season. First was if we would see the resolution to the Impossible Astronaut killing the Doctor. We simply got he did not want to know so he could enjoy the ending like us. But he did hint they would address it at some point.
The floor was opened up for questions at that point. The first question, in addition to asking for autograph, was if there would be any Daleks in the coming season. The response was simple “Spoilers!”. The second question was if there would be another special like “The Five Doctors” done in 1983. The response was simply you would need to ask Steven Moffat that. The same was said about a question relating to the Doctor's Daughter, if she would return. The next question was if the Dream Lord would return. Matt responded that he would like it. The Dream Lord is like the Dark Doctor. He likes it because it brings out the Doctor's guilt and shows just what the Doctor has on his hands. The following question was what your favorite race. Only Karen and Matt answered this question: Karen opted for the Sisters of Plenitude (most know them as the Cat Nuns”, while Matt likes the Sisters but favors the Weeping Angels. The next question for the panel was who was their favorite Doctor. It went down the panel; Piers, Beth and Toby all opted for Tom Baker, but Toby also added in David Tennant. Karen chose Christopher Eccleston and Matt chose Patrick Troughton. Matt commented on this being one of the glories of the show, that everyone has their own Doctor. After that they asked if anything actually scared the actors on set. Karen told us about how Matt would hide in her trailer with a giant shoe horn and leap out at her. This got her to cry once because of the start.
The next question was how much of them was in their characters. Piers started saying that Matt is the Doctor. What you see on the screen is very close to him, though he's less competent. Beth commented next that as the character evolves, Steven takes that into account as he writers, making it a very organic melding between the person and the character. This also brought up that Matt was the first person to be nominated for a BAFTA for the role of the Doctor. Not as much as said about Karen playing Amy Pond, just simply Amy is cooler than she is and Karen agreed.
The next few questions where more about the behind the scenes part of the show. The first was for Matt, asking what the audition process was like. He explained that everything about the process was secret. You got the script the day before and only had that much time to go over it. You show up for a read through or two. The second had a few more people present. He was just leaving another audition when he got the call offering him the part. He was fascinated by the fact that his Mom had been texting him saying “You should be the next Doctor”. He was astounded to get the part. Piers explained that it was one of the easiest casting choices they had to make in a long time. After the second casting Piers got an e-mail saying “It's him. Let's face it, it's always been him”. They explained that it was much the same for Karen Gillan to play Amy Pond. It was clear that both actors simply fit the roles too well to pass up. Matt explained that when he showed up on the set to be the Doctor he was immediately given a maual for the TARDIS, explaining what all the buttons and switches on the console did. He showed Karen as well and the pair of them have not stopped flying the TARDIS since.
The next question in this line was how much research went into the show. Toby responded it was the same as a child watching Hammer Horror Films. He explained its “spacey-wacy-timey-wimey”, a great catch-all originating from Steven. He explained that for “The God Complex” he researched Greek mythology, he promised it would make sense when the episode was watched. All this was much more about getting the tone of the episode than the science behind it. The following question was about the Fez and where it came from, if from a fun line or because it would sweep across things as it did. Matt explained that it was one of those things that they had no idea what it would do. He explained it was Steven Moffat's idea and his work that made Fezzes cool. He did admit that part of it was him as well, he kept pestering him for a hat and Steven responded by giving him the stupidest hat he could. Beth explained after that it was Matt who came up with the costume for the present Doctor. She originally disagreed when she saw what he was pulling out and run off. The rest of them called her back and told her you needed to see him. She saw it and quickly agreed with them that he had the right outfit for the Doctor. The question after was somewhat funny, “Why do you keep killing Rory?” Matt responded with the fact they keep bringing him back and that's what's important. After they asked what show they would like to do across-over with. Only Matt and Karen answered, with Karen choosing Star Trek The Next Generation because she really wanted to meet Data and Matt chose The Big Bang Theory because they keep referencing Doctor Who. Last they asked who'd they like to do a guest episode of Doctor Who. Matt chose J.J. Abrams while Toby and Karen chose Roald Dahl, Beth agree with them and Piers chose Russel T. Davies.
The panel wrapped up after that with a final viewing of the trailer for the coming season. This season has a lot of promise. There are many questions that the season opened and we will see how many are answered in the remaining episodes.