The trailer for Peter Capaldi’s final episode of Doctor Who dropped at San Diego Comic Con over the weekend, during an emotional panel that served as an unofficial farewell for the man who’s served as the Twelfth Doctor for the past three seasons.
The 2017 Christmas special will be called “Twice Upon a Time” and looks like it will be a rather memorable send off. It will feature the introduction of David Bradley as the First Doctor, originally played by the late, great William Hartnell. Bradley’s casting is pretty much note-perfect, honestly. He not only bears more than a passing resemblance to the former Who star, he already played Hartnell in 50th anniversary one-off biopic An Adventure in Time and Space, which told the story of the creation of the show.
Don’t believe me? Watch the trailer for yourselves, in which footage of Hartnell’s time in the TARDIS is slowly morphed into footage of Bradley from this year’s Christmas special. It looks incredible.
The trailer also confirmed that the Christmas special will feature the return of companion Pearl Mackie for one last adventure as Bill Potts. (Her departure at the end of season finale “The Doctor Falls” seemed pretty…final, so that wasn’t all a given going into this.) Sadly, Mackie confirmed that this episode will, in fact, be her last. She – and Bill – won’t be part of Season 11 when the series returns next year.
In other casting news, it appears that Sherlock co-creator and part-time Who writer Mark Gatiss will also appear in “Twice Upon a Time,” playing some sort of military figure. Now, this hasn’t been confirmed in anhy way, but pretty much everyone is assuming that this person is probably the Brigadier, the beloved classic character originally played by Nicholas Courtney, who passed away in 2011. Doctor Who referenced the Brigadier twice more after that – announcing his death in 2011’s Christmas special “The Wedding of River Song”, and giving the character a small bit of closure via a Cyberman avatar in 2014’s “Death in Heaven”. Is 2017 too soon to have someone else play the character? I’m torn about it – after all, this same episode also sees someone else stepping in to play Hartnell’s character as well. (But, to be fair, he’s been gone a bit longer, and this isn’t the first time that someone else has played the First Doctor.) We'll have to wait and see how this turns out. Because at the moment it seems like it could go either way, no matter how much we all like Gatiss.
At any rate, it certainly seems as though "Twice Upon a Time" is shaping up to be a memborable exit for Capaldi's Doctor, and will probably make us cry an embarrassing amount. (Or, at least me, for sure.) Now we just have to wait all the way until Christmas to see it.