MCM Comic Con London is always like an insane traffic jam full of people in costumes. Luckily, last edition back in May fixed this and the stalls were pretty well organised, separating the Manga from the comics and the TV/Film sections. But if I have one complaint about this fall edition,
which started yesterday, is that the chaos seems to have returned. I, for one, am someone who enjoys seeing the TV and Film sections and perhaps buy some Funko toys, and then check areas where I can buy some books. On this occasion, the Manga area seems to have taken over again, and it is spread through the main area, with some stalls that TV and Film fans can only check if they go through the Japanese section, which means getting lost and sometimes not even getting there to avoid walking past areas we don’t care about.
But when it comes to special guests, this was a good upgrade. With previews of Mr Robot, Beowulf and Sherlock (among others), the panels were the highlight.
On Saturday, the first panel I was able to attend was the one for the upcoming ITV series Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands. Not much to say about the story that we don’t already know, to be honest. The panel was attended by actors Kieran Bew (Da Vinci’s Demons), Ed Speelers (Eragon, Downton Abbey) and Laura Donnelly (Outlander) and co-creators and producers James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman.
Filmed in Northumberland under tricky weather conditions,, Bew pointed out the fact that this Beowulf will show the aspect of the character in which fame can be quite damaging. Donnelly’s character was described as stubborn with a hidden soft side, which sounds quite similar to her character in the Starz show Outlander.
When asked what was the most fun moment for them from the filming, Speelers chose getting hit in the face by William Hurt, while Donnelly thought the two weeks she and other three fellow cast members spent by themselves hanging out while filming an episode was her highlight. As for Bew, his favourite and most fun moment involved every time he had to ride a horse, use a sword or wear a cape.
Not too eventful, but it wasn’t that surprising: there were not going to reveal anything. They did give some stuff away, though. The panel attended by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue and Amanda Abbington revealed that the Christmas special will be broadcast simultaneously in the UK and the US on January 1st and it will be named ‘The Abominable Bride’.
The episode will be broadcast in selected Picturehouse and Odeon theatres and the tickets can be booked from November 2nd.
Moffat was asked if they would bring Irene Adler back at some point, but he denied it and pointed out that her return might spoil her story-arc in A Scandal in Belgravia, an episode Moffat is very fond of. As for everything else, including Moriarty’s possible return, they were very vague, as expected.
The one I was waiting for: Moffat and Gatiss returned for the DW panel, joined by director Rachel Talalay and writer Sarah Dollard.
Mofatt talked about the two-part format that is dominating series 9, and acknowledged that it was an idea he had had for a while, because there is always the feeling of hanging on in an episode, when you never know if it’s a wrap for the story. Besides, after ten years, he thought it was nice to change the format.
Gatiss mentioned that he wrote his very first space story for this series and that he is quite excited about it, while Sarah Dollard confirmed that Maisie Williams will appear in episode 10 again. By the way, about Williams’s casting, Mofatt said she was chosen because she is very young but at the same time there is that “wise and old” look about her.
And more anecdotes! Mofatt proved to be very happy about the sonic shades, because now every kid wearing sunglasses can just say they are the Doctor.
Were there mentions to Jenna Coleman’s departure? Of course. Moffat explained that Coleman asked him not to announce a new companion while her last series was still on, which proved to be a sad note during the panel.
Of course, there were typical questions such as “Will Jack Harness be back?” to which the reply was: No. Unless there is a story to tell. Mofatt doesn’t want to bring back someone just because. He wasn’t going to bring River Song back but he will in the end for the Christmas special because he found the perfect story for her. But he did say that Jack will be mentioned in tonight’s episode! And also related to bringing characters, Mofatt recognised that, if bringing people back from the dead is his main flaw with characters, then he embraces it.
And there was talk about Capaldi, of course. They mentioned several times what a professional he is (which of course we all already knew!). Apparently, when series 8 ended, Capaldi sent Mofatt an email explaining all the things he wanted to do with the character (electric guitar included!), like not caring for lots of things –which explains the funny card gag from episode 3. He also said that he didn’t want to play the Twelfth Doctor: he wanted to play THE Doctor, because he was all of them, not just one. And I applaud him for that, because he is absolutely right. Capaldi wanted to hit every note and Moffat acknowledges that he has succeeded and when he does it, it’s terrifying, as we can all see. Terrifying and magnificent.
One last thing: when asked about their favourite emotional moments from the show, Mofatt recalled the legendary and devastating ‘Doomsday’, but not the final goodbye between the Doctor and Rose or their separation while standing by the wall: he recalled a happier moment, when Jackie and Pete meet for the first time, and they acknowledge that they are version of their late partners, but then they say “to hell with it” and hug.