Like mansplaining, Moffatsplaining involves giving an explanation that’s far less helpful than the speaker thinks it is. For example: That time Steven Moffat explained the plot hole about the departure of Amy and Rory, or the plot hole about the Statue of Liberty. This time he’s turned his Moffatsplaining powers to the Doctor’s not-death on Trenzalore. We also have a new actor, Matt Smith talking about how his generation scene could have been a lot darker than it ended up, and Paul McGann on why he probably won’t be coming back to Doctor Who any time soon.
First, actor/comedian/diehard Whovian (“My only worry is that they’ll make me leave the set when I’m not filming.”) Ben Miller is guest starring in a Mark Gatiss-penned episode of the upcoming season. Gatiss “has written us a storming villain for his new episode, and with [Peter] Capaldi in the TARDIS, we knew we needed somebody special to send everybody behind the sofa,” explains Moffat. Miller’s dramatic credits include Primeval and Death in Paradise, but dedicated Whovians might also recognize as the Ghost of Christmas Past from the Christmas Carol episode of The Catherine Tate Show. You know, the one where David Tennant played a mullet-ed, tight pants-wearing Ghost of Christmas Present. Everything’s connected in the Whoniverse!
Moving back forward to Eleven, Matt Smith said at a WonderCon Q&A that he shot many versions of Eleven’s tearjerking regeneration scene, some of them “much more brutal, emotional and troubling” than what we ended up seeing. Via Doctor Who TV:
“Unfortunately Smith doesn’t go into further details but original reports claimed the 11th Doctor lost a leg at some point.”
Wo-owwwww. I know Doctor Who has strayed ever further away from good ol’ fun for the whole family as of late, but the Doctor losing a limb might’ve been pushing it. Probably best that they went with what they did, even if Smith says “I think perhaps of what we shot and what was cut I would have chosen differently.”
Leading up to the regeneration, of course, was the Doctor teaming up with the Silence to fight baddies at Trenzalore, which we were shown several episodes earlier as the site of the Doctor’s death. So if we saw the tomb of the Doctor on Trenzalore, why did the Doctor not die there? Is it, perhaps, because Moffat loves building up dramatic plot points and then dropping them faster than Rose dropped Mickey? The man Moffatsplains to Doctor Who Magazine:
I’ve often wondered about that. Fortunately, late one night, the Doctor turned up in person and explained it to me.
Changing time is tricky. It’s a bit like a detective story: so as long there isn’t an actual body, you’ve got a certain amount of wiggle room – for instance, if the body has, rather conveniently, been burned on a boat in Utah. Here’s the thing: I can change the future so long as the future has not already been established as part of my own past. I can’t rescue Amy and Rory because I already know that I didn’t.
But what do I know about Trenzalore? There’s a big monument that looks very like my TARDIS. There’s a temporal fissure leading to my timeline. Maybe it’s my grave. Maybe, one day, it’s my burial ground. Maybe it is something else entirely, and we got it all wrong. Don’t know. Don’t plan to find out for as long as possible. The main thing is, Clara still jumped into my time stream, and ended up helping me through all of my life. All that is established, unchanged – but there’s wiggle room!
I imagine whether you buy Moffat’s explanation depends a lot on whether you’re in camp “Never apply logic to Who” or camp “Moffaaaat! Give us some internal consistency already!” One thing I think we can all agree on, though: Eighth doctor Paul McGann is awesome, even if his TV movie… not so much. Unfortunately, he doesn’t expect a repeat of his surprise appearance in the pre-anniversary minisode The Night of the Doctor:
Of course I’d be super enthusiastic if I got a similar offer. I’d be crazy not to be. I really loved doing it. But that was the first phone call – or any kind of contact – that I’d had since ’96 from anyone associated with Doctor Who. You have to see it from my perspective. I don’t expect the phone to ring. Why should I?… I don’t expect to ever to be involved again. But I expect I’ll be surprised one day by something. That’s what Doctor Who‘s about. I expect to be surprised. You can never say never with this thing.
And now Eight probably won’t be back to Doctor Who and I have Justin Bieber stuck on the brain. Thanks, McGann. I still love you, though.