The Doctor Who braintrust revealed at Friday’s New York Comic-Con panel that this year’s Christmas special will have a superhero spandex flair to it. But not any generic hero inspired the episode, titled “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”: It was the Man of Steel himself.
Titular star Peter Capaldi, series newcomer Pearl Mackie, and executive producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin chatted with EW’s Clark Collis about the upcoming special. Moffat was initially coy about citing an influence, but gave in by referencing Superman star Christopher Reeve.
“It’s the combo of all the normal Christmas magic of Doctor Who meets a superhero movie, a superhero movie specifically of the Christopher Reeve mold,” he says, “with a bug focus on a superhero who has to conduct his life in two separate identities. We’re rather thrilled with it.”
Capaldi, who has portrayed the time-traveling Doctor since 2013, was more explicit in referencing the 1970s ’80s takes on Clark Kent. “It does evoke the spirit of those early Christopher Reeve Superman movies. I love superhero movies, but at the moment, they tend to be a little cynical and hard and brutal and gag-free zones, a lot of them one. This one is sweet. We have a sweet superhero, an innocent superhero that’s just interested in justice and peace and looking after people.”
“That’s one of the things I find quite moving about it,” he added, “because that touches an idea that belongs to childhood and is mocked nowadays — and is mocked by the Doctor.”
See the interview above, and listen to more interviews from New York Comic Con all next week on SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio (ch. 105). The special will air this holiday season on BBC America.