Comic-Con 2009: Doctor Who

On an otherwise quiet final day at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, one of the biggest events took place early on – the “Doctor Who” panel.

The 4200-capacity Ballroom 20 was filled to the brim with fans eager to catch a glimpse of outgoing Time Lord David Tennant who turned up to a thunderous standing ovation. Dressed in a black t-shirt with a rhinestone stormtrooper on the front, Tennat joined show runners David Tennant, Julie Gardner and director Euros Lyn for what was an extended Q&A session with fans to talk about the show’s impact both in the UK and America, and the shooting that took place on the final specials to air later this year.

In very good humor and loving the fan feedback, Tennant and Davies had an obvious blast revealing stories of stolen wardrobe from the set to cracking jokes about fellow Who-alumni Billie Piper using a see-through top to cheat on “Top Gear” to John Barrowman stealing set props just to get strip searched on the way out. Right at the beginning they shot down rumors of a “Doctor Who” movie, Gardner saying the film is NOT in any form of development though they love such an idea.

Tennant twice laughed off the rumors of his being cast in “The Hobbit” (it’s not true at all), though admits after “St. Trinian’s 2” his film schedule is clear for now. Asked about potentially returning to the ‘Who’ franchise in future adventures, he made a remark about the show’s 50th anniversary in 2013 before quickly saying that’s not a confirmation in any way and “don’t Twitter that”.

Asked about a fourth season of “Torchwood”, Davies wouldn’t confirm any specifics but indicated the success of ‘Children of Earth’ means its a certainty and he sounded excited to be involved. Fans though hoping for the return of some previously deceased cast members should not hold out hope.

A representative from the Guinness Book of World Records also appeared on stage to give the show an honor. ‘Who’ already held the current world record title for the longest-running science-fiction television series in history, this award was for being the most successful science-fiction television series in history based on ratings numbers, disc sales and downloads. Davies laughingly said a war was about to break out on the floor over this and jokingly said “take that ‘Star Trek'”.

Early on in the panel they aired the first teaser trailer for ‘The End of Time’, Tennant’s final two-part special to air this Christmas. Timothy Dalton gives a voiceover on the clip saying essentially that when a man comes to his end, his old nightmares come back to haunt him. The shots were flashes of characters who appear in these final eps including ex-companion Donna (Catherine Tate), her grandfather Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins) and mother, an Ood, and the former PM’s wife Lucy Saxon.

The most frequent face though was John Simm, returning as The Master. Glimpsed laughing and wandering around some rundown urban environments in a tracksuit, he pulls back his hood to reveal a shock of short bleached blond hair and turns menacingly to Tennant’s Doctor who has flame exploding behind him.

Just before the panel ended, an extended trailer for the second of the four specials, ‘The Waters of Mars’, aired with a surprisingly large number of effects shots of a Martian space base. The Doctor gives a voiceover saying that while time is in flux, there are certain events that MUST happen and the story here is one of those. We got more of a glimpse of the creatures – creepy zombies that infect people through water. At one point The Doctor, referring to Planet of the Dead’s ominous “he will knock four times” prophecy, says “It doesn’t end here and now – because I don’t hear anyone knocking, do you” before four heavy knocks slam against an airlock door