Doctor Who

There’s plenty more Doctor Who coming our way — at least five more years of it, as revealed by showrunner Steven Moffat yesterday. Which means the Doctor has plenty of wild adventures ahead of him still. But the one thing he won’t be doing is leading a feature film. Read Moffat’s explanation of why there won’t be a Doctor Who movie after the jump. 

Moffat shot down talk of a Doctor Who movie in a recent interview. The reasoning he gave has to do with the way Doctor Who is financed:

I don’t think there is one. No one has ever squared the circle on that. How do we do this? How do we do it without leaching from the television series—which we’re not allowed to do, because Doctor Who is public funded?

If it’s going to be a different Doctor, are we going to try and sell two Doctors at the same time? I know there’s been loads of Doctors, but there’s only been one at a time. You don’t have a James Bond on television and one in the cinema. If he’s the same guy, then when are we going to make that?”

But maybe it’s just as well. Even aside from the licensing issues, Moffat thinks it’d be a struggle to get the proper level of funding:

We’re talking one of the biggest TV shows in the world. It can’t just be a medium-size movie—it’s gotta be a colossal movie. I’ve sat with people, saying—and in the end it’s not my decision or my choice, I don’t own Doctor Who—‘Okay, explain to me how it’s going to work.’ And nobody has an answer.

Technically, there have already been a few Doctor Who movies. 1965’s Dr. Who and the Daleks and 1966’s Daleks — Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. were adapted from existing TV stories, and featured some notable changes to the core premise — like the Doctor being a human with the last name “Who.” There was also a TV movie in 1996, which introduced Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.

More recently, there were plans for David Yates to direct a Doctor Who movie. In 2011, Yates said they were in the process of looking for writer, and that they wanted “to spend two to three years to get it right.” Although Matt Smith was playing the Eleventh Doctor for Moffat at the time, the idea was to create a totally separate version of the character for the big screen.

Moffat was not happy. First he countered Yates’s comments, and then declared that no Doctor Who showrunner “would tolerate” a second continuity that had nothing to do with the ongoing TV series. “That’s just nonsense. Absolutely insane and a straightforward insult to the audience,” he said in 2012.

But it was Yates’ pitch he disliked at the time, not the general idea of a Doctor Who movie. In fact, he sounded downright optimistic about the idea of a film based on the TV series. “I think it could be incredibly exciting to see that Tardis fly on the big screen,” he said. “It will happen someday, I’m reasonably confident.”

In short, Moffat has changed his mind before, so who knows — he could change it again still. For the time being, though, we wouldn’t recommend you hold your breath for a Doctor Who movie.

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