She was joined by new companions Tosin Cole and Mandeep Gill, along with showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens.
Whittaker was the first to appear, and mentioned that her first Comic-Con was loud, and noticed a lot of people have already dressed like the new Doctor, including the new rainbow shirt.
She admitted it was difficult to keep her new job a secret, and it also took a while to realize she would soon become one of TV’s most iconic heroes.
“The reveal was such an amazing moment,” she says. “The history of the show and this show going forward, and we want it always to be a surprise for the fans because it should be. It adds so much to it, every week watching it.”
Chibnall said when Jodie auditioned for the part, he knew right away she was made for the role. He gave her a couple of spec scenes, and later a couple more. “You don’t know what you’re looking for until you see it,” he said. “It was new, it was fresh, it was very funny and very emotional. It’s really exciting in the chair when you get an audition and you want to write for her instantly. That’s what happened. She just nailed it.”
She revealed the audition involves some fake wires and an iPhone, and from that she pretended to diffuse a bomb.
It was also a challenge to find the ideal companions until he found Tosin and Mandeep, who play Ryan and Yasmin respectively. Chibnall says they were chosen because they were able to present an emotional truth to their characters, “It’s really important for us this season to create big emotional journeys for everyone to go on,” he said.
Gill says her character Yasmin is a 19 year old who wants to do more in her life. “She’s whisked on these amazing adventures,” she says, “with these people who become her family. She says that this new version of the show may be about the Doctor, but also how she relates to Ryan and Yasmin, and Graham (played by Bradley Walsh from Law and Order UK).
Walsh wasn’t available at the panel, but did make a video where it seems he was about to invade Whittaker’s trailer. However, the crew said it’s just another joke that Walsh is known for.
Whittaker reveals how she made the regeneration scene when the Doctor made the biggest regeneration change in the show’s history. “I felt as if I was very much in someone else’s shoes,” she said, “which was a wonderful way to establish your name.” She also noted the crew was very quick in accepting the big change.
The first trailer for the new season was revealed, but it didn’t reveal much.
Strevens says the show is keeping details under wraps for a good reason. “I really love television when it’s a communonable experience’, he said, “and the more we can bring Doctor Who to being a communonable experience so you guys have it unspoiled at that time when we’re ready to go to air, I think it could be really awesome because I want you guys to be all talking about it at the same time.”
River Song, who hates spoilers, would agree.
There was also the unveiling of a new Sonic Screwdriver, and Chibnall says there would be an interesting story of how she gets it and how it’s made. Naturally, fans can get their own replica at Comic Con and very soon elsewhere.
The big issue, of course, is how fans, new and old, would accept a female Time Lord after 55 years. Whittaker says it’s a big challenge, but she is ready for it. “I knew obviously being the first female, it was going to have some extra responsibility thrown in,” she says, “but it’s been incredibly inclusive and you also feel it’s knowing that fans are all over the world. It’s immediate to find out this huge Whovian family that you want to be a part of because it’s so supportive and inclusive and fun. The madness will be a part of this and it’s shared with 12 other Doctors that I’m so lucky to in that list.
“We’re standing on their shoulders,” she continued, “so hopefully we’ll do them all proud.”
She also admits the Doctor will be approached differently by others because she’s a woman. She thinks gender is irrelevant because the Doctor is an alien and is beyond traditional gender roles. “That’s why this role will continue to be layered and fascinating to play,” she says.
Chibnall, who is also best known for Torchwood and Broadchurch, says this will be a whole new show with new monsters, friends and foes. Familiar faces like Daleks and Weeping Angels will be on the bench for a while, but he says it would be an excellent time for a long-time fan to recruit new ones with Whittaker at the helm. He did say it could be possible to bring them back in 2019, but it isn’t certain yet.
So, deep down, who is the Doctor? Jodie and her fellow actors agree the Doctor is a pillar of hope. The 13th version may be different because of her energy, playful personality and attraction of wonder, but it may not be too long before she shows she’s the Time Lord that people have always known.
In fact, this was on Twitter after her panel, and it shows she’ll be taking the role of the Doctor to new heights…
— #DoctorWho @ SDCC (@DoctorWho_BBCA) July 20, 2018
The new season of Doctor Who will premiere sometime this fall on BBC America, and it’s revealed there will also be a Christmas episode.