I can't exactly gauge it, since I was on stage for one and in the audience for the other, but the reception "Doctor Who" -- specifically, David Tennant, Russell T. Davies, director Euros Lyn and producer Julie Gardner -- received here on Comic-Con's final morning was nearly as loud and adoring as what "Chuck" got yesterday. Some panel highlights coming up after I remind you that "Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead" airs tonight on BBC America...
Among the highlights:
• Moderator Robert Lloyd (a writer for the LA Times and an obvious fan of the series) asked Gardner to deal with the rumors of a movie right off the bat. "We are not making any announcement about a Doctor Who movie," she said. "I'm really sorry. I don't know where the rumor started. But what it's made us think is it might be a good idea to do at some point. Is this something that you want?" The crowd, predictably, roared its approval.
• They showed a teaser trailer for Tennant's farewell movie, featuring the return of several characters from earlier in the Davies/Tennant run (I won't spoil it, but it's easy to find out if you want) that looked tremendous. At the end of the panel, they showed a trailer for "Waters of Mars," the special that'll follow "Planet of the Dead." Looked like a big-budget version of the various Davies/Tennant episodes with The Doctor on a space station with some kind of monster on the loose.
• A fan asked Tennant (a lifelong "Doctor Who" fan) about his memories of when the first Doctor he knew was replaced, and whether he could understand what fans are feeling as they prepare for the transition from Tennant to Matt Smith. Tennant talked about how much he revered Tom Baker, then said, "And I never forgot him, or loved him any less, but then Peter Davison came along, and within three weeks, I thought he was the best. I think what makes the show go on forever." He suggested, to some inevitable skepticism from the room, that within a few weeks, they'd all think "Matt Smith's the greatest thing that's ever been, which he probably is... I think change is part of the show. I'm very very proud to have been part of the history, but I'm very proud that we're handing it over in good health and that it carries on!"
• And speaking of fandom, Tennant said one of his favorite personal moments from playing The Doctor came during a table read of "School Reunion," involving Elisabeth Sladen: "Suddenly, this voice from my childhood was calling me 'Doctor.' When the 8-year-old boy met the 35-year-old boy and was still being called The Doctor by Sarah Jane, that was quite special."
• Tennant's version of The Doctor will appear in an upcoming "Sarah Jane Adventures" episode called "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith."
• A fan asked about John Barrowman's claims that he's been stealing items from the set, and what any of the panelists might have taken home. They all clammed up, and then Gardner said, "I think John Barrowman just stole things off the set so he could be strip-searched on the way out."
• A fan asked whether River Song would be returning, and Gardner noted, "We are now happy viewers to season five. We don't know anything you don't know."
• Tennant was asked if he might return, as many previous Doctors have, for charity specials or other events. He thought about it and noted that the series' 50th anniversary would be in 2013, then immediately cautioned the room, "That's not me making an announcement. There's no plan. Don't Twitter that! That's not a thing! Yet!"
I'll have a separate, extremely brief, post up tonight about "Planet of the Dead," so don't talk about it here, and I'm interviewing Tennant in a couple of days when we're both at press tour. I'm open to suggested questions if they're good.