David Yates, Warner Brothers, Movies, Doctor Who. It all sounds like a fantastic marriage and despite there being no script, plan or anything more than a Director being announced, there is already speculation, discussion and rumours about the newest Doctor Who movie, but big question remains… will this movie be a part of a bigger story arc, or a self-contained story? Will it be set in proper series continuity?
These questions throw up a lot more questions about whether it would kill the Doctor Who reboot, which is still only seven years in, or, whether it would kill or hurt the series remains to be seen, but we all hope it won't, and it shouldn't. There are advantages to either case, a movie would have production values greater than that of the last movie, greater than our only glimpse at what such a movie would look like (in the beginning of series six) and would hopefully have a great enough budget for an enemy greater than a giant bee in Victorian England, and that's all good… but there is a disadvantage to a movie. That it would be different, almost too different to entice people out of the comfort of the shows established mythos.
We all know that Stephen Moffat an award winning producer, writer and screenwriter has been left out of the loop regarding the movie. Indeed he has gone so far as to say that there is no plan, or money in place but they still want to fly to the Moon simply because they can see it up in the sky at night. Three years is a long way away to see if Matt Smith would want to juggle Doctor on TV and Doctor on big screen and it probably wouldn't even be practical as Doctor Who films nine months of the year.
A stand alone story within the movie would, in a way, slightly devalue the TV series. It would seem, on the surface, a quick cash in just trying to make money off of a now popular TV show and movies from TV shows have typically never been greatly received or popular among fans. Doctor Who has been different with "some" success in the 60s movies and in Paul McGann's only visual appearance as the Doctor, however a movie which is a part of the plot of the series might come off in a popular way such as David Tennant's two-parter goodbye episodes. Warner Brothers, who are releasing the movie, wouldn't want to possibly alienate new viewers to Doctor Who by having a story arch based movie, fit in to a series. This isn't smart business to have people thinking "I don't understand this, I don't like it, I'm leaving" and having a self contained story in the movie could alienate dedicated fans from even wanting to see it. It's an awkward balancing act for Warner Brothers and David Yates, which Yates hasn't helped.
David Yates' uncanny ability to annoy fans already by saying he would 'start from scratch', suggests we're looking at a one story movie, especially considering that Matt Smith may not be the present generation by the time of the movie and may not want to couple the arduous tasks filming a movie and a TV series at the same time… he's no Michael J. Fox, and so we could even be looking at a new Doctor, new companion and if he's going that far back to scratch, a new enemy to add to a collection of hard competition. What could Yates come up with that isn't dalek, cyberman, silence, weeping angels or even our old friend Rassilon? Or maybe he might bring back the Zygons… either way, I don't think he has the imagination suited for Doctor Who if he's going to start from scratch to try and create an enemy epic enough to be on a par or beat daleks, cybermen, the Master or to a new extent, the Silence.
Saying all this, a Doctor Who movie has all the elements to work, we saw at the beginning of series 6 in the fantastic two part opener how a widescreen film-esque picture for Doctor Who can work brilliantly, but the actors, the story and the idea has to be perfect… something David Yates has not reassured us with his 'start from scratch' remark. Does this mean a new Doctor in a new story, something not in the continuity of Doctor Who? The 1998 movie with Paul McGann started with Sylvester McCoy and when RTD brought the show back in 2005, it wasn't starting from scratch, it was continuing a story, losing none of the charm of the show… Yates needs to recognise the importance of continuity, and so soon after the 50th anniversary, too!
Time has shown that movies that follow the continuity of the TV shows they are from are ultimately more successful, and just plain better than stand alone movies with a whole new cast to play the characters. Sorry, but I want my Doctor in the movie to be the Doctor at the time, so don't think about bringing in some heartthrob from Hollywood to play the Doctor, it simply wouldn't work. So why ruin Doctor Who with a movie? Doctor Who is already a commercial success and doesn't need a movie to become even better. The fans of the show are more dedicated than most every other TV show out there, so don't try and cash in on the movie just for the sake of a movie. If the movie will happen, it needs to be in continuity and Yates needs to be told what to avoid when making this movie… so could someone please give Yates a few box sets to do his research, then I'll trust him.