While season 13 of Doctor Who won’t premiere until later this fall, executive producer Chris Chibnall and actors Jodie Whittaker (the 13th Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), and John Bishop (Dan Lewis) had a few things to share at the show’s Comic-Con@Home panel. They announced a change in the show’s format, an exciting new guest star, and the return of some classic Doctor Who monsters. Plus, they even brought along a teaser trailer for the season.
Check out the first trailer for season 13 of Doctor Who below, and keep reading for a recap of the panel.
One Big Story
Doctor Who typically features a variety of stand-alone episodes, connected by a somewhat loose arc. But, according to Chibnall, that’s going to change this season. Every episode of season thirteen will form part of a bigger story. During the panel, Chibnall elaborated on this, explaining:
“I can tell you that we pick it up with the Doctor and Yaz, who’ve been traveling together for some time. And we come in and meet them mid-adventure. And then they stumble across a man called Dan Lewis… The big thing that we’re gonna be doing this year is it’s all one story. So, every episode is a chapter in a bigger story. So, we’ve changed the shape of the series for this year.”
What prompted this change? The pandemic, mostly. Chibnall explained,
“There were two ways you could go. You could go ‘let’s do lots of tiny little episodes in one room, with no monsters,’ or we could throw down the gauntlet and do the biggest story we’ve ever done. We’re going to go to all kinds of different places, we’re going to have all kinds of characters and monsters, and it’s all going to be part of a bigger whole. It’s definitely the most ambitious thing we’ve done since we’ve been on the series.”
Jacob Anderson Cast in a Recurring Guest Role
With the season’s more serialized nature comes the opportunity for a lot of recurring characters. During the panel, it was announced that Game of Thrones‘s Jacob Anderson would be portraying Vinder, a character set to appear throughout the season. No further information was revealed about his character, aside from the image seen below.
The Return of Old Monsters
At one point in the panel, a fan asked what the group was most excited for fans to see. And for Whittaker and Gill, the answer was simple: the return of some classic Doctor Who monsters. Whittaker said,
“I’m excited for our amazing Whovians to see some incredible interactions with old monsters.”
Mandip Gill added:
“There’s one in particular that I’m so excited about!”
Bishop, however, was most excited for fans to see the cliffhangers. Cliffhangers have long been a staple of Doctor Who. But, it turns out, nearly every episode of season 13 features a cliffhanger at the end. And John Bishop loves them, explaining,
“What’s brilliant is this, that story that’s going through. So you end an episode… Each episode’s ending on a brink point, where you’re thinking ‘What’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen?’ And I think that, if I was a fan, that would be the thing that’ll make this series so different to the previous ones… A lot of unanswered questions.”
Describe the Season in One Word
As the panel ended, everyone was asked to describe season 13 in one word. Mandip Gill said, “Riveting.” John Bishop said, “Inspirational.” Jodie Whittaker said, “Mysterious.” And, most perplexingly, Chris Chibnall said, “Swarm.” No idea what that means, but I’m intrigued to find out.
Doctor Who returns to BBC America later this year. But you can watch the entire Comic-Con@Home panel below:
Part-time writer, part-time theatre nerd, full-time dork.