Doctor Who Hollywood Update


I recently came across some exciting and somewhat troublesome news. There is a Hollywood blockbuster version of Doctor Who in the works. I have a couple reservations about the entire thing, and I’d like to discuss them with you.

First, I must say there could not be a better director assigned to the project: David Yates. He has directed several of the Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts 1 and 2), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. His take on drama and comedy is unquestionably what helped make the last Potter films majorly successful. He has an ability to truly direct drama with a surgeon’s precision.

On the subject of the Doctor Who film, he has stated a few things that will drive some of us “Whovians” (a Whovian is a fan of the Doctor Who series, in the same line as a Trekkie is a Star Trek fan) a little over the edge. My biggest problem is that David said he is currently looking for a writer of the film, which he is expecting to be worked on for the next two years, as he wants to ensure that the script for the film is as deep and entertaining as any season of the Doctor Who series has ever been. That sounds like an insurmountable task for any writer, considering that Doctor Who has been, in one form or another, on the television for 47 years, making it the longest running, most successful show in history.

For those who still don’t know who the doctor is, here is a little background. Be prepared to be amazed by 47 years crammed into 6.5 minutes, thanks to The Fine Bros!

Ok, I know that was a brief history, but here are the important bits:

  • The Doctor (as he is just called) is an alien in human form.
  • He is able to control the ship called the TARDIS, which is able to access any point in space, time, or any dimension.
  • The Doctor uses his powers to correct points in time, space, or history which are going off course in order to make time run smoothly. This is why he is referred to as a “Time Lord.” It is believed that all other Time Lords are dead.
  • The Doctor protects humans, as he feels closest to them.
  • The Doctor is over 500 years old.
  • If the body form he takes gets destroyed, he regenerates in a new form, and in the process new brain cells are also formed, which is why he has multiple personalities. This is to help explain the differences in the actors’ interpretation of the Doctor.

As for my reservations toward a large screen take on the series, well, to me they are simple. And I believe any Whovian out there also probably has the same reservations, at least from the news that has been released so far. Here is a breakdown:

  • The Writer: The choice for the writer scares me the most. David stated in a press release to Variety magazine: “We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too.” Ok, so Steve wrote the Potter films, that’s great. But he did not need to create something from nothing; he simply needed to read a book and figure out what to put into the film, and what could be left on the pages. I am not saying his job was easy, it just seems like the sensibility that he captured in the Potter film scripts was simply translated from the books onto the screen. The rest of it came from the directors (all of whom have been British) as well as the actors. So who knows British sensibility better than a Brit?
  • Possibility of a Back Story: If the American film studios have their grubby mitts on a typically British show, they will most likely try to create something to introduce the American market to the Doctor Who franchise. They will surely insist that there will HAVE to be a back story. If there is a back story, there will be too much lost from the Doctor. One of the great things about the Doctor is that there are still a lot of unknowns about him. It is his mysteriousness that makes his character so loveable. If the studios force in a back story, much of who the Doctor is (or what we don’t know about him), will be destroyed.
  • No TV Tie-In: They don’t plan on it being tied into the television series at all. Whomever is currently playing the Doctor at the time of filming (currently, in its sixth season, he is portrayed by Matt Smith) will not be portraying the Doctor in the film. This, to me, makes absolutely no sense. Why make a Doctor Who film and not include the Doctor that’s on television? Why make a stand alone Doctor film? Why not tie the show into the film? Why do we need to see another Doctor Who story, with a new Doctor, on the big screen?

Those are my problems with the news so far about the Doctor Who film currently in pre-production. As you can see, I believe that the thought of having a Doctor Who film that is unrelated to the television series and features a brand new Doctor seems redundant. My thoughts are that maybe BBC is attempting to remove the Doctor from the small screen and place him on the big one. Or they simply don’t understand that if it’s done wrong, the television version of the Doctor may also feel the impact.

I would rather keep running the show on the small screen for another 47 years. There have been a lot of bad episodes, yes, but the number of the absolutely amazing stories greatly outweighs them. If it were up to me, I would say BBC should keep the show only on the small screen, and make a couple movie events for the series, tied directly to the series, and not a stand-alone for movie theatres. I believe if this movie gets made in the way David Yates is wanting to do it, it will signal the end of an amazing era on television.

What do you Whovian Nerds think?

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