Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tinseltown For Tennant? Looking at a Doctor Who movie ...

The biggest question surrounding Doctor Who these days is, how much longer will David Tennant play The Doctor? DT is already signed on for the truncated '09 season, but speculation in The Sun and The Telegraph in Britain says he could sign on for the 2010 season ... if a movie deal is attached.

I know, cue the ominous music, right? But, let's look at the pros and cons.

It's already a Big Show: This isn't some '80s retread or past-its'-prime property we're talking about; this is one of Britain's most-beloved shows and a growing cult fave on these shores. And the show itself, at its' best moments, leaps off the small screen. The past two season-ending arcs, uneven as they were, reached for something greater than the usual dramatics. Plus, how could you not love the thought of hearing the theme song blasting on a theater sound system?

David F'ing Tennant: As an Eccleston guy, I have to admit: DT is probably the reason we're even discussing a movie. And if the rumo(u)r's true, and he wants this, then nobody will have more on the line for it to do well, and for himself to do well. That's gotta be a hell of a motivator.

It's British: At the very least, the show is done by a very talented group of Britons. As my buddy Combustible Monkey says, "these are the very same people who made the show into something we love, aren't they? Sure, creators falter (I'm looking at you, Chris Carter), but it's better than some Johnny-come-lately or studio focus group getting their hands on a franchise." Who would you rather trust these days, R.T. Davies and Stephen Moffat, or Lorne Michaels? Thought so.

The Rogues Gallery: You could make the argument that The Doctors' array of enemies is better than Superman's, or even Batman's after The Dark Knight. The Daleks, The Master -- the articles say that John Simm will be back in the fold -- the Cybermen, the Sontarans, and hell, even The Rani. There's depth in that stable, and that's without counting any original Big Bads the creators might store up their sleeves for an adaptation. To hear "EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" in theater-quality sound would be a singular experience, no?


Hollywood: In the Sun article, Davies reportedly says he'd love to cast Catherine Zeta-Jones opposite Tennant in a Who film. I hope to goodness he was drunk or kidding, because otherwise this movie gets branded as the next Avengers in peoples' minds, and look how well that film did. Can the creators avoid stunt casting?

Who's Left?: From a couple of angles, there may not be room for anything but stunt-casting the Companion. At the end of last year, Rose got dropped off on Earth-2; Martha is bound for Torchwood; Sarah Jane has her own series; River Song and Sally Sparrow seem to have been brushed off for the time being; and Donna, though she's also been confirmed as returning in 2009, has been such a divisive presence among fans (more on that later) that she may turn some of them off. And the Zeta-Jones thing has a flip side: the powers-that-be may not feel comfortable without at least one "brand-name" headliner attached to the film.

The Fanbase: For every person who's gotten into the show over the past four years, it seems there's at least one other person who's not going to be happy unless it's Tom Baker gets to play The Doctor forever. Old-school Whovians may be even grumpier than Star Wars fans, and could undermine any new direction for the series. Hell, I think they're angry it's even filmed in colo(u)r. Even the new-schoolers were polarized by Donna's inclusion in the series. Will anybody be happy, however this plays out?

What Are We Getting For Our $10?: Will the movie count "in canon"? Is this where they pull the trigger on Tennant, and introduce the 11th Doctor? Does signing on for this movie mean Tennant is coming back for 2011, as well? Will it be the series finale? Are all these questions worth the gamble? And if so, can we convince them to bring back another Doctor? (click below)

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