Comic-Con bids Matt Smith farewell, looks to ‘Doctor Who’ anniversary

July 21, 2013 | 7:41 p.m.
doctorwho Comic Con bids Matt Smith farewell, looks to Doctor Who anniversary

"Doctor Who" has clocked more than 50 years, transporting fans through time and space on remarkable adventures. Here's a look back at the Time Lord's regenerations over the years. (BBC)

7 Comic Con bids Matt Smith farewell, looks to Doctor Who anniversary

Sylvester McCoy played the Seventh Doctor from 1987 until the show's cancellation in 1989.

11 Comic Con bids Matt Smith farewell, looks to Doctor Who anniversary

Matt Smith has played the Eleventh Doctor -- the Time Lord's current incarnation -- since 2010. (BBC)

“Doctor Who” fan excitement over new footage was tempered by sorrow over the departure of lead actor Matt Smith during the show’s 50th anniversary panel at Comic-Con International on Sunday.

When Smith, who has played the show’s titular time-traveling alien since 2010, took the stage, a group of audience members shouted in unison, “Thank you, Matt!”

The outpouring of love continued during the Q&A portion of the panel, as fan after fan — many wearing the character’s trademark tweed jacket and bow tie — praised and thanked Smith. “I’m going to cry when you leave,” one woman said.

FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Smith will end his “Doctor Who” run with the upcoming Christmas special, the BBC announced this year. Executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat said Smith’s replacement has yet to be cast.

Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman film an episode of "Doctor Who" in London on Oct. 16, 2012. (Neil Mockford / FilmMagic)

Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman film an episode of “Doctor Who” in London on Oct. 16, 2012. (Neil Mockford / FilmMagic)

Smith thanked the audience in the San Diego Convention Center’s 6,500-seat Hall H for their support and encouragement and spoke lovingly of his experience playing the Doctor.

“God, it changed everything,” he said. “It changed my life and my family’s life, and I’m proud and grateful to be part of it.”

ESSAY: A love letter to ‘Doctor Who’

Smith was joined on the panel by Moffat, costar Jenna Coleman and producer Marcus Wilson, as well as Mark Gatiss, who wrote the upcoming docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time” about the show’s inception, and that film’s star David Bradley, who plays William Hartnell, the actor who first portrayed the Doctor.

The BBC revealed exclusive footage from “An Adventure in Space and Time” as well as a teaser for the highly anticipated 50th anniversary special, which stars Smith and Coleman along with John Hurt (introduced in the Season 7 finale) and fan-favorite “Doctor Who” alumni David Tennant and Billie Piper.

Fans in the 6,500-seat arena, many of whom wielded glowing sonic screwdrivers, erupted in cheers when Tennant and Smith appeared onscreen together. The pairing made for some humorous moments, including sonic screwdriver comparisons, matching glasses and competing catchphrases — Tennant’s “Allons-y!” and Smith’s “Geronimo!” At one point, Tennant’s Doctor looks around the TARDIS and says cheerily to Smith’s Doctor, “Ooh, you’ve redecorated…. I don’t like it.”

QUIZ: Test your smarts as the Doctor turns 50

The teaser also hinted that the Doctor will come face to face with darker aspects of his past, including an explosive scene that could be the oft-referenced Time War.

“I’ve had many faces, many lives,” Smith’s Doctor says in voiceover before the teaser cuts to Hurt. “I don’t admit to all of them. There is one life I’ve tried very hard to forget.”

The trailer also revealed that the special will feature some of the Doctor’s oldest nemeses, including the Daleks and the Zygons (last seen in a 1975 Tom Baker episode). The anniversary special is due out Nov. 23.

GRAPHIC: Meet the 11 Doctors

Although Moffat was tight-lipped about his plans for the future of the franchise, he offered some insight about the character and his many incarnations.

“There’s only one Doctor. He has lots of different faces, but he’s always the same,” Moffat said. “He lives in the moment all the time. He never really looks back because if he did, he’d be staring all day. He’s a creature of the moment, right now…. I also think he’s every age at once. He’s a child, he’s a stroppy teenager, he’s a middle-aged bore, he’s a grumpy old man — all at once, all those things at the same time. I think that Matt, to date, has done the best to combine the old man and the child.”

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+


"Doctor Who" actress Jenna-Louise Coleman is photographed in the Los Angeles Times studio in March 2013. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)‘Who’: Jenna-Louise Coleman is right in time

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3 Responses to Comic-Con bids Matt Smith farewell, looks to ‘Doctor Who’ anniversary

  1. k-9 says:

    "Doctor Who" has clocked more than 50 years,…? Um sure, that is why on November 23, 2013 they will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first air date. Or maybe you refer to the Doctor himself in which case why even reference a number as small as 50 when he has clocked millennia? Quite illogical.

    • Mebevinny says:

      The Doctor's name is NOT Who. He is over 1200 years old currently, but the SHOW, called Doctor Who, is 5o years old. Quite logical.

  2. nel says:

    Would've been nice if they'd had 2 panels–a 50th anniversary and a "farewell Matt" panel. It would have been nice to have cast, crew, writers etc from other eras on this panel, but if that were the case i can also see how it might have overshadowed Matt Smith's well-deserved thank you and farewell to the show. However I don't want the 50th anniversary year celebrations to only feature the current production team and Doctor, just because Matt Smith happens to be the Doctor during the 50th anniversary year.

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