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Peter Capaldi: What To Expect In Doctor Who Series 9

In a recent interview with Comic Book Resources at San Diego Comic-Con, Peter Capaldi discussed what adventures await for the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald in the forthcoming ninth series of Doctor Who.

The series two-part opener, The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar, will pick up the Doctor’s story at a later point than where we left off with series 8. Peter discussed the upcoming developments of the character:

“Yeah, I think the thing about this season is that having regenerated you probably have to rediscover who it is you are. It’s not just a case of changing your face, you have to figure out what nature you have. I think that the Doctor has done a lot of that. But I don’t think it ever finishes because that’s the nice thing about Doctor Who; that he’s constantly developing as a character as he discovers more about himself.”

“But I certainly think that he thinks that even at 2 thousand and a half years old that life is short. And the universe is fabulous. And when you have the toy box of the whole of time and space, you should explore it and have fun. So I think he and Clara are sort of a little gang of two, running around the universe, running towards danger. Really going after adventure and having a great time. Of course being as it’s Doctor Who, a great time has to be painful in the end.”

The previous series explored a complicated area in the relationship between the Doctor and Clara, and Peter elaborated on how the relationship would evolve:

“I think it remains complicated. I think initially Clara probably felt, ‘Well, this is my best friend, and now he’s become the guy with this face who has very poor social skills and who is very impatient and just wants to get on with travelling the universe. Do I really want to be around him anymore?’ Is it worth it, being around him. And I think she’s decided it is worth being around him.”

Peter also reflected on the history of Clara’s relationship with the Doctor:

“I think the Doctor is deeply, deeply bonded with Clara. One of the things about the Doctor is he sees things and understands things that are beyond the perspective of human beings. He’s not a human being so he knows things about Clara’s future that even she doesn’t know. So I think that’s informed his decision to try and stay with her. But we have a lot of fun with her trying to improve his social skills, and trying to make him more palatable toward the human beings he’s impatient with. And they have a great relationship. It’s a very unusual relationship for sure, for television. It’s romantic in the old sense. Two people who are really crazy about each other, and would really miss not seeing each other. But they’re not romantically involved.”

It has previously been hinted that the Doctor and Clara will be more reckless and adventurous in the upcoming series, and Peter explained why the Doctor is throwing caution to the wind:

“Because the universe is very dark and inevitably that is where he will end up. Inevitably, the darkness will – he will have to fight. He will have to face terrible things. So rather than walking around being like ‘Oh this is so terrible,’ I think he’s decided, ‘I’m gonna have some fun’. I always think he’s a joyful character. I think he can find the joy in just sitting in a car park watching the sun coming up or feeling the wind. These are amazing beautiful things to him and he’s impatient that people don’t get that. I’ve forgotten the question now! I went off on a poetic line.”

Peter is known for his charisma and wit, and revealed whether he would consider writing for Doctor Who:

“No. I’m so full of awe and admiration for Steven (Moffat) and for the writers of this show. And what they do is extraordinary. The constituency of the show is so large, you have to be able to deliver episodes that are interesting to students, to little kids, to hipsters, to middle-aged people. To cover all those bases, you have to be a very skilled writer. And I don’t have that skill. And the same with the directors, I look at that – someone said, ‘Do you want to direct?’ And I said, ‘No. Not really’. Because I see what those poor guys have to go through!”

Elaborating further on his opportunity to direct:

“It’s suggested sometimes. But I don’t really see how I could ever have the time to do that, and to be in the show.”

Peter also revealed whether he’d consider trying to beat Tom Baker’s record of being the Doctor for more than seven years:

“It’s not really up to me. I’m very thrilled to be there. Every day I find it an extraordinary privileged position to be in. It’s get up in the morning and go work on the TARDIS or go chase men in rubber suits down corridors, and be part of all this. So I’m just happy to be there as long as people want me to be there.”

Some of the most popular episodes in each series feature scary storylines and terrifying monsters, and it was discussed how the monsters would make an impact in series 9:

“I think generally there are scarier monsters. Because I was thinking about it, we have quite a lot of vintage monsters, who have been rethought and have a new vigor about them. But I thought about the newer monsters that we have, they have a kind of more… they are like creatures from the id. They are much more creatures of the subconscious, and are frightening in that way. There are things that play with the Doctor in particular, and his understanding of the world, the way he sees the world is played with. The way he sees the universe is played with a lot. He’s pushed into the other side of his understanding of what monsters are. But later, as the season unfolds, there are stranger creatures. Creatures is the wrong word for them.”

Peter elaborated on his way of finding balance between the darkness of the show and the joyfulness of the Doctor:

“I think it’s the challenge of Doctor Who, to bounce from one moment – something tragic to something almost pantomimic. It’s rather old-fashioned in that way. You can be doing a gag, and then suddenly expounding on cosmic profundity. So, I think that’s part of his DNA, and sort of why you get cast. I think that’s why guys like me get cast because there’s something about us that suggests we could be idiots and also rather profound. But it is a constant balancing act. You have to keep all those things in the air, and it is the trick of it.”

There was a famous anecdote from the previous series about Peter visiting the Doctor Who set on his days off just to watch Daleks being blown up, and he enthused about being able to watch recent episodes being filmed:

“What did I see this year? This year I saw something that was so great. I wasn’t in the scene, but I came in. Maisie Williams was in it, and Jenna (Coleman) was in it. And it was a spaceship. And Jenna had a spacesuit on, and she turned around in this spaceship full of Vikings! With all the horns and stuff, and I just thought, ‘This is so great! This is not work’.”

Are you excited for series 9? Let us know what you think in the comments section!