Edgar Wright Almost Directed An Episode Of Doctor Who, But Had A Good Reason For Passing

On the surface, it seems like a match made in heaven. You have Edgar Wright on the one hand, the English director known predominantly for his skill in crafting some of the outright funniest and cleverest comedies of the 21st century — some even with a heavy focus on sci-fi and the supernatural, mind you. And then on the other, there's the beloved and long-running "Doctor Who," the quintessential BBC series that has recruited several name-brand talent behind the scenes for decades, almost exclusively from the other side of the pond (although with one major exception).

Admittedly, past brushes with franchise filmmaking didn't turn out all that well for Wright. On the bright side, however, the MCU's loss was our gain. The director went on to overcome that setback and deliver hit original movies like 2017's thrill-a-minute "Baby Driver" and, most recently, last year's "Last Night in Soho." With hard-hitting and intelligent comedy, crime thrillers, and now psychological horror under his belt, Wright has proven adept at handling varying tones, genres, and moods with relative ease ... not to mention the fact that he already has a "Doctor Who" connection, having worked with the Eleventh Doctor himself, Matt Smith, on "Last Night in Soho." The signs have been there all along!

As fate would have it, this hypothetical actually came this close to becoming reality at one point. Had Wright accepted an offer to direct an episode of "Doctor Who" years back, fans would no longer have to resort to breathless speculation as to what their favorite series would have looked like in his extraordinarily capable hands. And yet, the flip side of the equation means that one of his most beloved films wouldn't have come together as it did, either. It's funny how things work out, though fascinating nonetheless to delve into what almost happened.

Close calls

Can you imagine a world where Edgar Wright's 2004 zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead" never happened? It's enough to make one shudder at the thought, but what if the trade-off meant that he would've directed an episode of "Doctor Who"? That close call once had the potential of coming to fruition almost two decades ago, as Wright himself has confirmed in the past. In a Reddit AMA nine years ago, the director admitted that he was offered the chance to direct the pilot of the 2005 "Doctor Who" revival, titled "Rose."

"I'm going to break your heart here, but I was offered the episode 'Rose' by Russell T. Davies (the first of the new 'Doctor Who' episodes) and I could not do it because I was busy with 'Shaun of the Dead.' And my mother has never forgiven me."

Neither have the countless fans who've spent the years since wondering what could have been, I'm sure! Though many would safely say that things worked out for the best, with the benefit of hindsight, that hasn't been the final word on Wright's dalliance with "Doctor Who" over the years. In /Film's interview with the talented filmmaker late last year, Wright offered up a noncommittal answer when asked if he'd ever rule out stepping behind the camera for the series. Elsewhere in the same interview, Wright opened up about how "The World's End" — personally, my favorite of the Cornetto Trilogy — ended up influenced by "Doctor Who."

"I was such a big 'Doctor Who' fan growing up, and I think in a weird way, to the point where I would read the novelizations... But strangely, they then sort of had an influence on things like 'The World's End,'" Wright said, comparing his 2013 film to the 1975 Tom Baker-starring episode "The Android Invasion."

Both the director and the fan-favorite series are perhaps forever linked by near-misses and continued comparisons. Will Edgar Wright ever make up for that missed opportunity and partner up with "Doctor Who" officially at some point? Only time may tell.