By Ani Bundel
Fans of Doctor Who have been extraordinarily lucky this year, as Season 12 arrived on New Year’s Day, and ran in full before the Pandemic hit. The holiday special for the end of 2020 was also filmed before the shutdown. Unlike some of the other franchises in limbo at this virtual San Diego Comic-Con fest, they’re right on schedule. Moreover, their big release for fall was all planned to be released across multiple non-filmed platforms, from digital to audio, plus comics and novels. Entitled “Time Lord Victorious” this Who-xtravaganza was the focus of Titan Entertainment’s yearly Doctor Who panel for SDCC.
The panel was hosted by Titan Entertainment’s Andrew Sumner, bringing along SDCC favorite writer Jody Houser, plus artist Roberta Ingranata, and colorist Enrica Eren Angiolini. Their team was joined by editor Jake Devine, senior creative editor David Leach, and BBC producer James Goss.
Time Lord Victorious is the brainchild of Goss, who conceived of it to bring together all of the various forms of BBC licensees who create Doctor Who content to tell a single epic story. The story will start in with Houser’s opening comic, Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious #1. But the plan is to tie in every different way one can experience the Whoniverse. That includes gaming, toys, and even an escape room and an immersive theater experience (though those obviously will come later, as safety protocols allow). The idea was to make all of these as accessible as possible to fans and let them explore other avenues of Doctor Who. If you’ve only read the novels, the story will hopefully lead you to pick up the audio plays that flesh out the story, even if you’ve never listened to Big Finish Doctor Who episodes. If you’re a fan of the audio dramas, but never read the comics, this will hopefully open up the world of graphic literature, and so on.
The new story features fan-favorite the Tenth Doctor, who Jody Houser has written for before. (The lead up to the introduction of the Thirteenth Doctor in the comics used the Tenth Doctor, and led to a 10-13 crossover last year.) She noted this time the story is different, though, because there are no companions as part of the journey. It’s just the Doctor facing down the Daleks on his own, which means there’s no soundboard…other than Daleks, that is.
But that’s the beauty of doing a project like this without involving the TV departments, using only the other angles of the franchise. As Devine pointed out, there’s no budget on the imagination. Roberta Ingranata can draw the entire planet if she wants, and there’s no fabrication department to complain if what she creates is impossible to build due to Earth’s gravitation and 3D conditions. The Audiodramas are only limited by what the listener can picture, and the same can be said for the novels.
But that doesn’t mean Time Lord Victorious isn’t also borrowing from the television playbook. The series will be released in weekly installments, a dozen in all, just like a regular TV season. For those of us still trapped at home, there will be new, weekly Who installments to carry us through the fall of 2020, ending just in time for the holidays and the next Doctor Who television special.
The first comic. Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious #1, which kicks off the entire extravaganza, arrives on shelves on Sept. 2, 2020.
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