Steven Moffat, Michelle Gomez, Jenna Coleman, and Peter Capaldi—in his first ever Comic-Con—packed Hall H to talk the aftermath of season eight and to preview what’s ahead for the Doctor, Clara, and Missy in season nine. But Capaldi also explained what makes the Doctor different from human characters.

“We sort of live in a world where everything’s so easy and accessible. The Doctor’s mysterious, he’s a Time Lord. He’s not a guy,” Capaldi declared during the panel. Although, he also admitted that season nine has Clara trying to make the Doctor “more of a welcome party guest.”

A lot of the discussion in Hall H revolved around the events of season eight and the challenges of introducing a new Doctor and his relationships with Clara and the Master. We also got just the barest hints about season nine.

A lot of season eight was the Doctor and Clara working each other out, and Coleman gave the first hint about season nine by saying that they’ve “found our groove” (a phrase also used by Capaldi about the two) and the characters are on “equal footing” now. Last season had Clara spending last season splitting time between the TARDIS and Earth, and between the Doctor and Danny Pink. “This series she’s much more headfirst in the TARDIS with the Doctor,” said Coleman. There’s a lot less angst and a lot more “throwing themselves recklessly” at adventure. Clara’s going to “feel alive and eat up time and space and hang out with my best mate in the TARDIS.”

Everyone on the panel was pretty firm that the Doctor and the Master are friends, just friends, with some intense philosophical differences. Michelle Gomez said, “It’s a great friendship that just went wrong. and we’ve all had them.” Moffat probably summed it up best, “It’s a friendship between a vegetarian and a hunter,” adding that Missy would probably say that “The Doctor is a bleeding heart liberal and I like to kill people for fun.”

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Peter Capaldi explanation of how the Doctor feels about the Missy was, “I think she distresses him terribly. And I think he’s happy to see her. A lot has been made of the gender change. But I think people should really applaud Michelle for coming into this role and fulfilling it so completely.”

As for Missy’s return this season, Gomez said there’s something slightly different about her now. “She has to come at it from a different angle, which is kind of surprising and exciting to play. There’s kind of a different dynamic to play.” It might be because of “whatever” she had been off doing between the last time we saw her and the upcoming season nine. It sounds like that’s still a mystery to Gomez, who said that “we can only imagine [what Missy was up to]—probably taking tea with the queen.”

Moffat added that Missy’s return wasn’t going to be anything expected, saying, “The way the Doctor and Missy come back into each other’s lives is very hard to predict.”

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We also got one more answer from Moffat on the possibility of a female Doctor, “There is no vacancy [at the moment]. It’s worth pointing out that you just met Peter Capaldi. I think my opinion [on a female Doctor] is fairly obvious from the show. ... If you’re reading the subtext [gestures at Gomez].”

Running throughout the panel was a sense of history from Capaldi, who started the day by saying that “Well, it’s the only show that I think is in my bones very deeply. It’s the only show that I’ve followed since I was six years old.”

He said that the B-movie feel is still very alive, and a moment of that kind of low-end effect was the moment he really felt like the Doctor:

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“When they threw a rubber spider in my face and said ‘fight it.’ I said, ‘Doesn’t it work, where’s the operator?’ They said, ‘There is no operator, it’s just a big rubber spider. Fight it.’

Finally, he ended the evening by saying, “The most amazing thing that happens is that I get the affection of the whole 50 years pointed in my direction.”


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.