The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Doctor Who to do something it hasn’t done in the modern era — dedicate an entire season to a single story. That’s the word from showrunner Chris Chibnall in a new Doctor Who panel at the online-only San Diego Comic-Con today. Oh, and did I mention we’re getting our very first fleeting glimpse at Series 13 in a teaser trailer? Hit that video play button above to watch it.
We’d learned last year that the new season would just be eight episodes long, but Chibnall says it pushed the BBC to go big: “The big thing that we’re going to be doing this year is it’s all one story, so every episode is one chapter in a bigger story,” he says.
There were two ways you could go: we’re just going to do lots of tiny episodes in one room with no monsters, or we could throw down the gauntlet and go “we’re going to do the biggest story we’ve ever done, we’re going to go all kinds of different places, we’re going to have all kinds of characters and monsters, and it’s all going to be part of a bigger whole.” I think it’s definitely the most ambitious thing we’ve done since we’ve been on the series.
While many previous seasons of Doctor Who slowly introduce a mystery and then resolve it by the end (“Bad Wolf,” the crack in the wall, and so on), this sounds a bit different.
Want to watch the panel yourself? It’s free and features stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yas), and new cast members John Bishop and Jacob Anderson too! (Anderson played Grey Worm in Game of Thrones, if you’re wondering why he looks familiar.)
Here you go:
Don’t expect any spoilers, though: “We pick it up with the Doctor and Yas who’ve been traveling together for some time, we come and meet them mid-adventure, and they stumble across some man named Dan Lewis, that’s all I’m going to tell you,” says Chibnall.
The show actually teased Dan Lewis, Bishop’s character, during the holiday special on January 1st:
Whittaker’s only hint for Whovians: she’s most looking forward to “some incredible interactions with old monsters,” too. We don’t have a release date for Series 13 yet, just that it’ll be out later this year, and likely exclusively streaming on HBO Max and BBC America in the US.