This was quite the year for Peter Capaldi. Even though the ratings might not reflect it, Capaldi was absolutely masterful, especially in the last half of Season 9. Though we still have a Christmas special with none other than marvelous River Song, its never too early to peer into the timeline and make some predictions for Season 10 (or Series 10, if you prefer).
Here’s what we know about next year so far. Peter Capaldi will definitely be back for at least one more season, Jenna Coleman’s Clara definitely will not, and show runner Steven Moffat has confirmed the show will consist of 12 weekly episodes plus one Christmas special. Oh, and some pretty credible sources tell us that at some point Lord of the Rings/Hobbit director Peter Jackson will be making his Doctor Who debut in one capacity or another.
And yet, naturally, questions linger. Such as …
Moffat promises a full season, but will the format change?
Season 9 was unique in that it primarily featured a series of two-part episodes that more or less tied into a grander 12-story arc. In Season 10, will Moffat and Co. repeat that formula, return to a more traditional formula of single episodes, or go a little old school and use the four-part serial format the series was know for before the show’s reboot in 2005?
For years, one of the knocks on Moffat’s grand, 12-episode arcs is that they are a bit too complicated. The two-part episodes mitigated the complexity a bit, but the thought of returning to the serial-style episodes is pretty compelling. Breaking the season down into three four-episode chunks would allow for more bite-sized stories that would simplify the show for some viewers.
However, while the thought of a four-episode Doctor Who serial directed by Peter Jackson should make most Whovians squee with delight, when has Steven Moffat ever been known for his simplicity?
Has the Doctor finally gotten his groove back?
With the guitar, the ripped sweaters, shaggy haircut, and ah yes, those absolutely goddamn terrible sonic sunglasses (it’s surprising he didn’t turn the TARDIS into a Harley-Davidson at some point), Season 9 was the Doctor in full mid-life crisis mode. To be fair, given the story lines, it worked really, really well. But now the Doctor is older (like 2.5 Billion years older) and wiser. He seemingly rectified matters on his home planet of Gallifrey, Clara’s loss has been wiped from his mind, and, thank the papal mainframe, he got his sonic screwdriver back.
Capaldi is at his best when he is a cranky asshole. Full stop. Now that he’s back to rocking the crisp white-button down/maroon waistcoat combo, it’s time to embrace the gray and say goodbye to angsty mid-life Timelord and hello to full-on get-off-my-lawn curmudgeon Doctor. Personally, I would love to see a story line featuring an uprising of disgruntled Gallifreyans storming the TARDIS to get back thousands of years worth of assorted balls and Frisbees the Doctor refuses to give back, but that’s just me.
Who will the Doctor fight?
Davros, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, the Fisher King, recently impeached Timelord elites, and creepy eye-crust monsters to name a few, Moffat has a full suite of existing baddies and monsters at his disposal going into Season 10.
OH, AND HOLY SHIT!!! MISSY IS STILL OUT THERE, POTENTIALLY WITH HER VERY OWN ARMY OF DALEKS!!!
We know that Moffat will continue to introduce new nemeses for the Doctor, but there were so many great villains with so much meat left on the bones in the ninth season, it would be criminal not to bring at least a few of them back to resolve their beefs. Rassmussen from Sleep No More ended on one hell of a cliffhanger that deserves to be revisited. Theoretically, the Fisher King drowned, but Moffat’s gonna Moffat, so a return certainly isn’t out of the question. And of course Odin the alien viking and his cyborg army are still out there with a bone to pick.
And of course, the Whoverse is eagerly awaiting the return of the Doctor’s BFF Missy. To be honest, I could watch an entire two to three episodes of Michelle Gomez’s Missy and the Doctor shooting the shit in the Gallifreyan mall Starbucks. No guarantees of when Missy will make her return, but given the way things left off in The Witch’s Familiar, when it happens, it will be spectacular.
Who will accompany the Doctor now?
While it has been semi-confirmed the Doctor will have a full-time companion in the 10th season, there are conflicting reports on who it will be. Moffat says he “thinks” it will be a completely new face to the Whoverse, but Peter Capaldi has hinted that it might be none other than Maisie Williams’ Me.
While we know it definitely won’t be Clara, it’s safe to assume that no decisions have been made quite yet. Williams’ character was great, and will hopefully come back as a guest star, but I’m a bit meh on the prospect of an entire season of Me and the Doctor in the big blue box.
If they go with a fresh face, it would be nice to see them break the precocious-20-something-template in the vein of Rose, Amy, and Clara. We’ve been there, done that, and even early on in Capaldi’s tenure, the Grandpa Doctor dynamic with Clara got a little weird. I’d love to see Miranda Hart in the running to be the next Doctor, but if not, she’d be a pretty awesome companion. As it turns out, Hart was rumored to have been offered an unspecified role back in 2011, but had to decline due to previous commitments. Maybe it’s time to give her a turn as the Doctor’s running buddy.
If we’re going to go with familiar faces, I would love to see Nathan McMullen (who took a turn as one of Santa’s elves in last year’s Christmas special), even though Capaldi weirdly seems to be firmly against a male companion. His work as Finn on Misfits proves he could bring the sort of weaselly mischief that would make for an interesting companion — especially if we indeed get Capaldi in full crank mode.