Infinite Potential: Doctor Who and LEGO
Guest contributor Mark McCullough examines what a LEGO partnership could offer the Doctor Who franchise.
With the recent news opening up the possibility of pairing Doctor Who with the already massive LEGO franchise, fans minds have already gone into speculation overdrive. With nothing confirmed as of yet, it may be jumping the gun to consider the implications of such news. But what could a partnership with LEGO offer the Doctor Who franchise?
The most obvious answer is new LEGO sets and characters with a Doctor Who theme. But is this really a big deal for the franchise? Arguably it is not since we already have the Character Building sets, which depending on your preference could be considered as equivalent to their proposed LEGO counterparts. Possible quality differences aside, the market is already filled, so it doesn’t make a lot of commercial sense to introduce more of the same into the market. Yes collectors and fans of both LEGO and Doctor Who will almost certainly still buy them. But could there be more on offer from LEGO than just character building sets?
Recently LEGO have become famous for their video-games of other popular franchises. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Batman, Harry Potter and Marvel Superheroes have all received the LEGO videogame treatment. So why not add Doctor Who to that list? The fans have been crying out for a proper, high quality multi-platform, video-game for a long time. It seems like an obvious gap in the market that LEGO could fill.
A LEGO game could take one of a few formats. One possibility is as per the set-up used in LEGO Star Wars, in which the game follows the original story of the show. It all likelihood this would lead to a few games being made, perhaps divided into the Classic Era, The RTD Era and the Moffat Era. This would offer the player a lot of fun opportunities: you could have the Ninth Doctor in the 50th anniversary special, make the Master a force for good; the free play possibilities are endless. Another popular feature of the LEGO games is the ability to customise a character as you please. You could finally give six the black leather jacket he wanted. Further to this, there are also the excellent mini-games and collectables which make the games more fun. So would this be my preferred format for the game? No.
Recently LEGO released a Marvel Superheroes game set in the Marvel Universe. What was different about this game was that it didn’t follow any previous source material. Instead it came up with a new story which allowed characters which wouldn’t otherwise meet to come together in one giant story. This, I feel is the perfect set up for a possible LEGO Doctor Who game, a game which offers an opportunity for all the Doctors to come together, and fight against an amalgamation their enemies, across several unique locations and time zones. What’s more, using the larger universe set-up, the inclusion of spin-off shows is also a possibility. Imagine for a moment, the Eighth Doctor in a face-off with the Silence, Luke Smith and Ianto Jones at his side, and all this, in LEGO.
Perhaps I’m being too self-indulgent with such suggestions; however the beauty of a LEGO game is that it can be what it wants. Being a video-game, it also has no requirement to conform to the shows canon. Players will be playing it solely for the experience of a good game, but part of a good gaming experience is the fundamental element of a good story. If it were possible for LEGO to perform a huge coup and get one of the show’s writers to work on the story, the fans would be in for a treat. An ideal candidate for this could be Russell T Davies, however unlikely it may be. (Would the promise of an opportunity to write anything he wanted, an idea too big for the TV show, be enough to persuade him?) It wouldn’t have to be a writer from the show, any decent story which is fun to play would be a huge gift to the fans.
Another advantage of bring Doctor Who into a LEGO universe would be that some sets are just too expensive to make for the TV show. Take Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS for example, an episode which was promised to show a lot more of the TARDIS, but ended up mostly as corridors. With a LEGO set-up, the entire TARDIS could be explored as could alien planets and other exciting things too costly to be on TV.
Whilst we have nothing concrete yet with regards to a LEGO – Doctor Who partnership, one can only hope. It is my strong opinion that should we see the emergence of any LEGO Doctor Who figures or sets, it is highly likely the destination is ultimately a video-game. With the gap in the market and the exponential rise in the popularity of Doctor Who (especially in the United States), one can’t help but feel it would be a missed opportunity not to capitalise on it.