Doctor Who movie won’t be a Hollywood reboot

We recently confirmed that there was a Doctor Who film in development, with director David Yates looking for screenplay writers.

Based on comments Yates made to the press, we reported the Doctor Who film would be the first in a franchise of films, and that they would not be directly connected to the television show.

I was shocked to have heard the news myself at the time, but by the time I finished writing it up, I had convinced myself it was a good idea.

A fresh take on the story could be really interesting, and would allow a new group of writers, actors, and producers to create something great and compelling; a part of the Doctor Who story perhaps that cannot be told in the show because of time, budget or casting limits. Perhaps we could even have seen a Doctor Who prequel of sorts, showing an iteration of the doctor who existed before the one fans refer to as the First Doctor.

So, now I’m disappointed to report that Steven Moffat, head writer and exec producer of Doctor Who for the BBC, recently tweeted a contradictory clarification.

“To clarify: any Doctor Who movie would be made by the BBC team, star the current TV Doctor and certainly NOT be a Hollywood reboot.” he tweeted, “David Yates, great director, was speaking off the cuff, on a red carpet. You’ve seen the rubbish I talk when I’m cornered.”

So the Doctor Who film is basically just going to be a long-form episode of the show!? No thanks. Frankly, if they’re not going to do anything special for the film, I’d prefer for the BBC to do what they do on the small screen. If it’s going to be all the same actors, writers, and sets, the only reason to make a film is budget. 

Perhaps the plans for the film exist because of the huge gaps we’re going to start seeing between seasons of the show – now that they can only afford to do half of a season per year. Filling the gap with a high-budget film each season seems like a good idea on paper, but the films will have to big a job.

They will have to follow the canon and chronology of the show, but will also have to follow one another without creating too much confusion for the audience which chooses only to watch the films. This likely means movies filled with exposition and redundant character development, and also means that any regenerations would have to take place during the films, while being recapped in the show. Frankly, it just seems like a muddying of the franchise to me.

Doctor Who does not yet have an announced schedule for production or release.