The hand claps played out the rhythm of the Doctor Who theme. The crowd held their Sonic Screwdrivers in the air like cigarette lighters at a rock concert. There were as many people dressed in bow ties, fezzes and TARDIS dresses as t-shirts and jeans (well, more or less). It could mean only one thing – Doctor Who was back in San Diego, and it was a very, very big deal.
Even after yesterdays theatrics in Hall H, which had boasted Tom Cruise, the announcement of a Superman/Batman crossover movie, the whole cast of X-Men: Days Of Future Past , and a first sighting of the Guardians Of The Galaxy , Who managed to keep the British end up in style. Indeed, this panel was such a hot ticket that hundreds (maybe thousands) of fans camped out overnight to make sure they were first in line when the Convention opened this morning. (And it's not that warm in San Diego at the moment – rather chillier than the UK's current heatwave.)
Matt Smith, Steven Moffat, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, and producer Marcus Wilson took to the stage along with Mark Gatiss and David Bradley, in town to talk about An Adventure In Space And Time , Gatiss's dramatisation of the early days of Who in which Bradley stars as William Hartnell. Most newsworthy was the screening of "Comic-Con exclusive" trailers:
Here are the key points from the 50th Anniversary Special Trailer:
• It opens with the Eleventh Doctor saying, "I've had many faces, many lives. I don't admit to all of them. There's one life I've tried very hard to forget."
• It's epic of scale, with plenty of explosions.
• Rose Tyler makes an appearance, as does Clara.
• The Doctor dangles from a TARDIS over Trafalgar Square.
• There are Daleks in it …
• …and Zygons.
• Doctors 10 and 11 wiggle their respective Sonic Screwdrivers at each other
• They also have a very similar way of sitting down.
• John Hurt's Doctor says, "Great men are forged in fire."
• Doctor 10: "For once I would like to know where I'm going."
• Doctor 11: "No, you really wouldn't."
• Doctor 10's not keen on what Doctor 11's done with the TARDIS.
• John Hurt's Doc is "looking for the Doctor".
Intriguing stuff! Moffat also joked that, "I've got a memo from Verity Lambert outlining what she wanted for the 50th!" before continuing, "A lot of it's improvisation, to be honest, but there are certain things we've been setting up for a very long while, that we'll be resolving in the 50th, in Matt's final episode. There's a plan, but the newest idea you've had is the most exciting sometimes."
While our first look at An Adventure In Space And Time was rather shorter on bangs, it's a wonderful slice of the ’60s. The early sets have been beautifully recreated (it's a wonderful touch at the beginning when the counter on the TARDIS dashboard locks in on 1963), alongside vintage Daleks and Cybermen. Bradley totally looks the part as Hartnell (as do the rest of the cast), and it feels like there's going to be a real lightness of tone here. That said, there's real sadness in the final seconds as you see hints of Hartnell's deteriorating health. It looks like another worthy tribute to the show – November can't come soon enough.
Click on the images below for larger versions .
The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special will air on Saturday 23 November. An Adventure In Space And Time is likely to share similar space-time coordinates.