As part of San Diego Comic-Con at Home’s programming, Chris Chibnall, Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and John Bishop participated remotely in a Doctor Who panel to discuss Series 13 with moderator Melanie McFarland. McFarland described the series as “totally unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.” The team shared several major announcements and teased a few spoilers, including that all eight episodes will be chapters in one main story arc, each ending in a cliffhanger. Showrunner Chris Chibnall described it as “the biggest story we’ve ever done.”
John Bishop, who plays companion Dan Lewis, said of joining the TARDIS, “It’s on an international scale that’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done before.” The series is to begin with the Doctor and Yaz mid-adventure as they run into Dan, after having spent some time travelling as a duo.
The casting of Jacob Anderson as a recurring character named Vinder was announced at the panel with a special video appearance. Chibnall praised Anderson’s humanity, warmth, and ability to play an action hero: “He makes you root for him, and he breaks your heart…he’s got the whole range, he’s just brilliant.”
The panelists made cryptic references to the return of some old enemies of the Doctor, but no specifics were forth-coming. The panel concluded with each member giving a one-word summary of the Series: “Riveting” – “Inspirational” – “Mysterious” – “Swarm?”
The Series 13 teaser trailer was released at the end of the panel. Scenes from the trailer include Dan falling from a rope into a room (perhaps an archeological site?) with Yaz in a period costume, a scene with spaceships on an alien planet, Dan flying through what might be a ‘Time Window,’ and The Doctor using a slingshot.
You can view the video of the panel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzDthngLyDU
You can view the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNb51OwYO6M
ComicCon also held a Doctor Who Comics Panel, with Forbidden Planet TV’s Andrew Sumner discussing Titan Comic’s Doctor Who: Missy series with writer Jody House, artist Roberta Ingranata, colorist Enrica Eren Angiolini, and editor Jake Devine.
Besides the original casting call for “men of Southeast Asian descent to play pirates for an exciting BBC programme,” a second call for Chinese actors was made on a Facebook page called British Chinese Network. The call directly quoted an urgent casting call from the Doctor Who production office on June 29, and was for men and women to play villagers, as well as men to play sailors. The location was given as Cardiff, with shooting dates of July 5th and 6th. The required roles and size of the cast suggests an extensive set build at Roath Lock Studios, with a village and Chinese sailing ships.
A Doctor Who film crew returned to sully Beach in Wales on July 15 to film more scenes with the TARDIS, Jodie Whittaker, John Bishop, and an unknown Southeast Asian actor. The props used on the beach included the TARDIS, boats, and fishing equipment; the same props used for filming there on June 25. After Whittaker left the location, Bishop filmed some scenes with the Southeast Asian actor, who wore a costume consistent with a 19th century Chinese man. Bishop again resembled a pirate, wearing a ‘poet’ shirt under a waistcoat, breeches, and Cavalier boots.
On July 26, the Doctor Who crew filmed an actor wearing a woven conical hat sitting in a boat in Cardiff Bay.
In a recent interview, Production Designer Rebecca Brower gave a few details of Time Fracture, the immersive Doctor Who experience: For me the real secret is the scale of this show, when you walk through it’s just never ending. When you think you are close to the end you realize you are only half way through. It’s truly bigger on the inside, and I can’t wait for audiences to experience that. If you look hard enough there are hundreds of real props from the TV show itself, the hunt starts as soon as you step into the building…. other than that …spoilers!