Earlier today, the Doctor Who Facebook page told fans to stay tuned for an announcement at 22:30 (BST).
I’m not into breaking exclusives or beating other platforms to scoops, mainly because I only have my own speculation. A lot of that’s been happening in this status’ comments as well. The leading theories are that it will be a trailer, Series 9 premiere date or casting change. All of these things are reasonably possibly, but I like to think the BBC would only hype us up for something more interesting than that. So instead, I looked at the gaps in what we know about Series 9 and worked from there.
Which is not to say that it couldn’t be any of those things. But since it’s probably being announced in conjunction with Doctor Who‘s Comic-Con panel, I’m going to cautiously assume it’s something less specific than that. Something that wouldn’t be announced every season – because every season has a premiere date, or a casting announcement.
Here’s what I hope it isn’t: a feature adaptation. A while ago it was revealed through BBC News that Sony Pictures Entertainment had been in-talks with BBC Worldwide to produce a Doctor Who feature as far back as January 2014. This article said BBC Worldwide had declined the opportunity while it was mapping-out the next eighteen months of the brand. Which would bring them up to now. If those talks were successful, we’d be hearing about it this month. But I have my own reasons for that not to happen, mainly: the time, effort and money required to make a Doctor Who feature would be better spent on the television series itself. I honestly couldn’t give a damn about seeing it on the big screen.
Another thing they could do is a missing episode drop. That would be the most exciting thing they could do. The Enemy of the World and most of The web of Fear were returned to the BBC archive by Philip Morris, but everything after that exists in the vacuous rumours of online forums. The leading story is that Morris has more missing episodes, but is only prepared to release them if Showrunner Steven Moffat resigns. He has neither confirmed nor denied these things, I don’t even know if they’re true. But if it is true, that leads me onto my first prediction…
Steven Moffat resigning
This is exactly the kind of the thing that would be worth hyping-up given that it would be the biggest announcement they could make that isn’t a missing episode discovery. Moffat’s shaped the creative direction of Doctor Who over these past five years, and love him or loathe him, he’s the single person that’s had the most influence on those five years. From hiring Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi and writing various episodes and story arcs, not least the premiere and finale of Series 9, he essentially, at this point, is the show. Each person in charge brings their own style and feel to it, and for him to be moving-on would be a major shift in that style and tone, and something like that deserves to be announced at Comic-Con, especially as he’s at that panel, and would be able to connect directly with the fans and take questions from them.
Mark Gatiss taking-over
If Moffat is departing, he’ll need a replacement. And it’s basically an unofficial truth that Gatiss will be that person. He’s the only person to write for at least every season Moffat’s produced, and has collaborated with him on Sherlock – arguably BBC One’s other flagship show. They make no attempt to hide their admiration for each other, and why should they? Great collaborators should feel proud of working with each other, especially because what you do with your life isn’t nearly as important as who you do it with. If Moffat’s leaving, you can be guaranteed this to be true, and for it to be announced at the same time.
But if that’s not what’s happening…
A Series 9 writer
The only Series 9 episode without a confirmed writer is Episode 9. It doesn’t even have a title. They haven’t even started filming it yet. In fact, production’s on hiatus for two weeks while the crew’s at Comic-Con. It’s the only episode to not have been shot at this point, and that’s normally when they announce who’s writing it. There’s been a lot of talk about Russell T. Davies writing an episode as a marker for the tenth anniversary of the New Series – which he was responsible for relaunching. He’s denied interest in writing another episode (the last one he wrote was his final episode as Head Writer, The End of Time (part two)), but Moffat’s also said he invites him to do so every year. Could this be the one time he says yes? It would be a good way to mark the milestone of the New Series without having to make an unnecessarily big deal of it after the fiftieth anniversary only two years ago.
Neil Gaiman is also a popular choice. The announcement of him having written an episode for Series 6 was considered a bit of a scoop. He hosted that week’s Doctor Who Confidential (Bigger on the Inside) and was allowed to write that month’s production notes in Doctor Who Magazine – normally something only the Head Writer gets to do. Gaiman’s expressed interest in writing for the Twelfth Doctor, but said he wouldn’t be doing it in Series 8. Well, Series 9 is here now.
But then again, it’s more likely to be written by Gatiss, who said he wrote two episodes for Series 8 and that one of them would be produced for Series 9. But it doesn’t have to be him. It’s probably him, but we won’t know for definite until it’s confirmed.
Perhaps it’s another big name that hasn’t written for Doctor Who before, but is a fan. There are so many of them that it’s pointless to list them, but that’s where I’ll stop for now.
What do you think? It is Steven Moffat departing? Mark Gatiss taking over? Episode nine having a known writer? Or could it be a missing episode reveal? Something else entirely? Anything is possible. Let me know in comments.