By Rachel Stewart
“When I can see I’ll try again I’ve got my paints” – The Big Picture, Y Kant Tori Read
The BBC has been slow to roll out details surrounding Jodie Whittaker’s groundbreaking turn as the Doctor. At the start of the year, the new logo was blazed in gold against a darkened sky with the 13th Doctor standing on a hillside, with the slightest bit of light rising far off in the distance.
Today, the Series 11 trailer premiered at San Diego Comic Con and on the Internet. Much remains the same as far as the formula goes – new Doctor, new companions, and new sonic screwdriver – but it somehow feels different this time. Past new series Doctors have drawn off of the men that came before them. But there’s never been a woman Doctor before, something Whittaker brought up in her Radio Times interview. She acknowledges that a whole new audience – little girls and grown women alike – will finally get their go at being more than a companion.
“All of this is new to me,” the Doctor says as the trailer opens. “So if I asked really, really nicely, would you be my new best friends?”
This era’s Team TARDIS of soon-to-be best friends has three companions, harkening back to the Fifth Doctor’s hodgepodge of brilliant and mouthy travelers. The Doctor’s new outfit recalls the wackiness of the Sixth Doctor’s coat of many colors but with the tailoring of the Tenth Doctor’s sweeping trench coat.
While every new regeneration brings its own aura, it’s also never felt this bright since its reboot in 2005. All the new promotional photos are an electric prism of color, a bit Andy Warhol if he used Jackson Pollack brush strokes. After the darkness of Capaldi’s run, the rainbow burst makes a huge impact, like the moment Dorothy Gale stepped out of a black and white house and into the technicolor world of Oz. They’re using all the colors and the whole canvas this time and nothing is off limits. One particular promo image features the 13th Doctor surrounded by exploding crystals. Her hooded appearance is on the edge of mimicking a Catholic saint. She is literally our Lady of Time, reborn from the ashes of all the great men she once was.
The old adage says that it is always darkest before the dawn, and this period of adjustment – or outright denial by some fans – has gone on too long. Bring on the light, it’s time to answer the universe’s call.
Rachel Stewart has written fandom commentary for sites such as FangirlConfessions.com, Nerdy Minds Magazine, and ESO Network, among others. She has work forthcoming in the anthology “Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who.”