Ever since semi-rebooting in 2005, Doctor Who has resisted one TV trend: telling one story over an entire season. (Or over an entire series.) Instead, it’s stuck close to the long-running franchise’s original idea: telling individual stories, often over a number of episodes. That changes with the revival’s 13th season, which debuted its first trailer over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con.
It’s a pretty typical trailer. We see Jodie Whittaker, the 13th incarnation of the good Doctor, getting into some typical Doctor Who misadventures, with typically excitable aplomb. We also see newbie Jacob Anderson, best known as Grey Worm on Games of Thrones, crossing over into another English-heavy institution. John Bishop, meanwhile, will play the new companion, replacing Tosin Cole (who played Ryan) and Bradley Walsh (who played Graham O’Brien).
During the SDCC panel, the team discussed why they moved into a single storyline structure. It wasn’t to be like every other show; it was because of the pandemic.
“Before we started making it, there were times when we thought we were going to be unable to do the show under Covid conditions this year… there were two ways you could go,” said executive producer Chris Chibnall. “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.”
Doctor Who does not yet have a season premiere date, but it will bow later this year.