A Doctor Who movie? Not happening. A Doctor Who and Sherlock cross-over? Also not happening. A less grumpy Peter Capaldi in season 9? Might be happening just a little. Executive producer Steven Moffat gave EW the current lowdown on two projects that seem to resurface in the online rumor mill time and again, as well as recent reports of a lighter Time Lord.
First, a Doctor Who movie (or, for those being sticklers, a second Doctor Who film, if you count the 1996 TV movie). “I don’t think there is one,” Moffat says. “No one has ever squared the circle on that. How do we do this? How do we do it without leaching from the television series – which we’re not allowed to do because Doctor Who is public funded. If it’s going to be a different Doctor, are we going to try and sell two Doctors at the same time? I know there’s been loads of Doctors, but there’s only been one at a time. You don’t have a James Bond on television and one in the cinema. If he’s the same guy, then when are we going to make that?”
Plus, Moffat notes, a movie would have to be properly financed, and he already struggles enough each year trying to get a healthy-sized budget for the TV show. “We’re talking one of the biggest TV shows in the world, it can’t just be a medium-size movie, it’s gotta be a colossal movie,” Moffat says. “I’ve sat with people saying – and in the end it’s not my decision or my choice, I don’t own Doctor Who – and I said, ‘Okay, explain to me how it’s going to work.’ And nobody has an answer.”
Everybody does have an answer, however, when it comes to the idea of a Sherlock and Doctor Who cross-over. But it’s just a different answer than Moffat’s opinion on the matter. While Moffat would like to please fans who want to see the world’s greatest detective and the Time Lord team up, his fellow producers (like Mark Gatiss and Sue Vertue) and his Sherlock stars (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) are all against the idea.
“My instinct – and this is probably from years of doing Doctor Who – is I’m just such a tart,” Moffat says. “If people want it, we should give it to them. But I got persuaded by Mark, Benedict, Sue and Martin who said, look, it will never be as good as [fans] think it’s going to be. And then I say, “Yes but we’ll just bang it out and make it as good.” Yeah, but you can’t give everybody everything they want all the time. But I’m in the camp of giving them everything they want! But I think they’re sane and right and I’m just a tart.”
Another recent rumor was that Doctor Who’s next season – the second for star Peter Capaldi – would be “lighter” than the first because Moffat told a reporter, “[The Doctor has] left some of the burden of being a superhero of the universe behind. So I’m pushing him – I’m writing quite funny this year – I’m pushing him the other way.”
Moffat says that quote was misinterpreted. “I told the [show’s] writers don’t just write him mean, write him funny – because he’ll make any joke fly,” Moffat says. “As ever, Doctor Who is a combination of complete daft silliness and loads of people getting slaughtered in the early evening. Tonally, [next season is] very much the same. Peter is getting stronger and more confident in the role.”
For more from Moffat, see our recent Sherlock season 4 preview interview.