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“It's not a big ask, is it?”
Steven Moffat on J.K. Rowling's anti-trans stance: "Just be nice"
The 'Doctor Who' showrunner comments on his social justice stance and the Harry Potter author's "gender critical" views.
Steven Moffat kept the two hearts of Doctor Who beating for years. In his tenure as showrunner, he oversaw a hard reboot of the universe, the human reincarnation of The Doctor’s ship the Tardis, and brought the series to its 50th anniversary with a special episode that reunited past regenerations of the time traveler.
While other shows in the mid-2010s were trying to keep up with the changing times, Moffat-era Doctor Who was always on the cutting edge. But to the man himself, it never really took priority.
“I'm just trying to make fun stories more than anything,” Moffat tells Inverse. “And you know, the one thing you can't see is your own blind spot.”
This week, Inverse profiled Moffat, who spoke about Doctor Who, his new project The Time Traveler’s Wife, and his approach to creating time travel stories. As I spoke with him, I mentioned J.K. Rowling’s take on time travel and how she’s now dedicated to a “gender critical” cause, actively attacking transgender people.
“I don't get involved in those discussions,” Moffat says. “I think the world would be a better place if people who know nothing about the subject said nothing about it.”
But while Moffat may not consider himself qualified to speak on those issues, he is an authority on representation in television. He has been at the forefront of it, whether by casting a trans actor without ever making a huge deal of their transness or introducing the first female regeneration of The Doctor’s sworn enemy, “The Master.”
“It might seem odd that we used to have almost no gay characters in television. And now we have quite a lot,” Moffat says. “In fact, we have probably the right number or the right level of representation. What is it we're doing wrong now? We don't know. The one thing I do know is that it will look like it is to our grandchildren.”
Though Moffat’s days as Doctor Who’s head honcho are over, his career as a showrunner isn’t slowing down any time soon. Through projects like The Time Traveler’s Wife, he pushes the limits of how we tell stories, and that doesn’t just mean a complex plot but deep and insightful conversations about the many themes raised in the narrative.
But unlike J.K. Rowling, he likely won’t leave all that behind for some self-righteous cause.
“[Using correct pronouns] is basic courtesy,” Moffat says. “That's normal. It's not a big ask, is it? Just be nice.”
The Time Traveler’s Wife airs on HBO May 15, 2022.