After its conclusion in 1989, the classic British sci-fi series Doctor Who laid dormant, re-running in both its home country and the states, whenever air time needed filling. Then, in 2006, Russell T. Davies brought the franchise back to life, reinvigorating it with great storytelling that wrangled in fans both new and old. Now, the show has wrapped its sixth series, headed up by writer Steven Moffat (The Adventures of Tintin) and the third modern Doctor, Matt Smith. Obviously, Doctor Who is not slowing down.
Which means it’s the perfect time for a movie. Right?
Variety has announced that director David Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2) is teaming up with the BBC to turn the Doctor into a theatrical franchise. The article states that the movie will be in no way connected to the Davies/Moffat version of the last few years, but instead opting for a new writer (British or America) to expand the scope of the show for a feature film outing.
I have mixed feelings about the idea of a Doctor Who movie. The show has been hitting highs since its revamp in the mid-2000s, and trying to create a parallel storyline for a big screen run seems pointless. Like the idea of bringing Battlestar to the big screen in the wake of the successful SyFy show, the movie’s already climbing an uphill battle. No matter how good it is, it has to compete with an episodic predecessor that has been able to weave a dense mythology. I don’t know if that will work.
That said, Doctor Who begs to be executed as a big-budget feature. The show’s time traveling adventures and universal exploration mean Yates’ movie could literally go anywhere and do anything (thanks TARDIS!)—and with a fun character in the driver’s seat. The movie obviously won’t be an extension of the current TV run, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have connections. There’s inherent mystery with the character that can be unveiled in a true cinematic experience to new fans, while simultaneously building on what exists, for the diehard Who enthusiasts. Everyone can win!
Who knows what will come of the ambitious plan, but the movie’s in good hands—Yates is a competent storyteller, a great director, and that’s the only type of person who should act as The Doctor’s companion on this wild ride. Hopefully he has experience with Daleks.