Series 9 Trailer Dissection

The trailer for the next series of Doctor Who was debuted at San Diego Comic Con on Thursday giving fans a glimpse into what is in store for the Doctor and Clara and importantly a  tranmission date – 19th September. I believe the trailer’s release, from what I have seen from sources on the internet, was released in conjunction with a Doctor Who panel featuring Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Michelle Gomez. The first three names are those you would expect at almost every Doctor Who promotional and marketing event. The inclusion of Gomez on the panel suggests that Missy will become a recurring character and that Gomez will be possibly as prominent in Capaldi’s era as Alex Kingston as River Song was in Matt Smith’s.

The trailer is very slick and almost cinematic in feel as many excited fans have pointed out. I think this shows that the BBC is aware of Doctor Who’s popularity and success. As a result, the BBC are obviously heavily investing in the programme and the Doctor Who brand which is exported globally. Another initial thought before I potentially get into closer analysis of the trailer is how dark the trailer is visually. A lot of plain, dark colours are used and the lighting is very dim which suggests that the series is going to be hopefully more scary.

Here is the official series 9 trailer:

Before I sort out my analysis into monsters and characters, I have to note that I absolutely love the very start of the trailer, the beginning few seconds. I like the blackness with the ominous music and then the tardis suddenly appears. Those brief few seconds with the tardis appearing in the darkness give me the excited feeling of when I first began watching Doctor Who (10 years ago!) and makes me forget any bad episodes or decisions the programme makers have made.

Locations: The most obvious recurring location we see in the trailer is the inside of the Tardis. I would have been very shocked if there was a Doctor Who trailer without this! We see it in peace/stationary and not in peace with bits sparking and moving everywhere. I’m guessing at least one episode – either the opener or finale – will have a scene with the tardis malfunctioning or in peril hence the sparks. It is included in the trailer for the shock factor and excitement. Other locations we pass through quickly include dingy, dimly lit tunnels and similar stony places with quick shutting doors which indicate the series is taking a dark turn but these locations also heighten the drama and are probably designed to make the more nervous of us jump! There seems to be another location that looks like people running across a field which is reminiscent of the soldier theme/arc from the previous series especially as a shot of Missy is juxtaposed to be following it.

The main location that has caused a lot of discussion is about 37 seconds into the trailer. It is what appears to be an alien city of some sort. Some people have suggested that it is Gallifrey but I am not so sure after they have barely mentioned that since the 50th anniversary apart from briefly in the finale of last series. I am leaning more towards it being Skaro, home of the Daleks because it looks very metallic and has a lot of circular and semicircular shapes which are similar to those on the Daleks exteriors.

Monsters: The Daleks are back! As expected as they are usually in every series but it makes me very happy as they are my favourites. I just hope they have a good narrative. The only other familiar alien/monster I recognised during the first watch of the trailer is the zygon. A classic monster revived in the 50th anniversary only for its subplot to get lost and forgotten once the three doctors united. Hopefully a good narrative will show them off a bit more than merely being an accessory to a narrative – I believe, from fans who have worked out the filming blocks, that the zygons episode will be around Halloween time so should be a suitably scary one! Other monsters appear to be human based but with scars, no eyes or with changed faces. This could be coincidence or could be a theme of humans being monsters, the true villains of the universe in a ‘man destroys everything’ kind of school of thought. The human similarity of the monsters or human parts such as the hands sprouting out of the ground I’m sure will frighten the younger viewers.

Characters: The secondary and tertiary characters are mostly seen in extreme close up and in fear, often screaming or looking terrified. This suggests that they are running from the monsters and aliens, possibly the standard characters who do not quite understand the evil of what they are up against until the monster begins to kill and then do not know how to properly stop the situation. This ties in nicely with the voice over of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor who says “I am the Doctor and I save people.” These are more than likely the people he will save. That piece of dialogue also indicates that the Doctor has worked out his role as opposed to the previous series in which he was trying to work out who he was and what side he was on.

The more prominent characters include the return of Missy (Michelle Gomez). Her appearances in the trailer and her spot on the promotional team at comic con and the like implies as I noted earlier that her character will be very visible in this era of the programme. Clara returns and appears to be running a lot in the trailer. She also has the standard orange suit in some parts which suggests an episode underground or in a location with difficult conditions. The orange suit seems to be reused every series since 2005! And of course, Peter Capaldi is back as the Doctor. From first impressions of the trailer, the Doctor appears for the most part as quite relaxed and comfortable. This suggests, like the dialogue mentioned above, that the Doctor has found his purpose and has asserted himself in his role. It also suggests that his and Clara’s relationship may be more secure and stable. This is exemplified by his willingness to hug Clara in the trailer. I like the check patterned trousers which could be seen as a nod to Classic Doctor Patrick Troughton – another costume nod to the past like how Capaldi’s normal Doctor look is similar to Pertwee’s costuming. I think my favourite part may be the Doctor acting like a rockstar with a guitar though – that looks like there will be a fun episode!

Maisie Williams as a highway/Dick Turpin figure who is familiar to the Doctor is left to the end of the trailer following the title and transmission date. I am not going to speculate who she is playing – she is either going to be a big reveal like a regenerated past character or no one in particular. I think her clip at the end of the trailer is the ultimate enticement for fans especially for those who are fans of Game of Thrones. Her inclusion is bound to draw some attention and drive the fans into a frenzy!




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