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Moffat on Death: “There are dark times ahead”

clara-oswin-oswald-gravestone-snowmenSteven Moffat has said that there will be more deaths in the upcoming series and that there are “dark times ahead.”

Speaking in the new issue of DWM he says: “It’s a bizarre thing that I always find myself accused of killing off characters, and I think, ‘What on Earth are you talking about? I don’t kill nearly enough people in my fiction!’

He adds: “I’m aware that I have a sentimental tendency to whack people back on their feet again – you can have several deaths in one lifetime, apparently – and I’m aware that that’s a weakness, so I thought in our new, scary universe we’d make sure we off some people, and that would make it more exciting and more visceral. The word I keep using is ‘visceral’.

“For our new Doctor, there are dark times ahead.”

Step back in time...

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380 comments
ChrisMcMillan
ChrisMcMillan

has moffat had tea with the creator of game of thrones recently, just curious!

The Finn
The Finn

"Everybody dies, Clara. Just this once...EVERYBODY DIES!"

twoheartsonemind
twoheartsonemind

Gosh, looks like everyone's got a target on their backs now.

I think it's very nice that Moffat seems to be consciously trying to correct the flaws of past series'. He has definitely made a point of saying that he wants to be less arc heavy and make characters' deaths final again, which are the main complaints with past series'. I can really appreciate that he seems to be listening to viewers comments.

Timhogan
Timhogan

People accuse him of killing off characters?  Who has he even really killed? I agree with him more when he says he doesn't kill nearly enough people.  Granted my favorite fiction tends to come from people like Joss Whedon who is known for actually killing people, but still.  Every time Moffat "kills" people in Doctor Who, it either doesn't seem to stick (Like Rory Pond for example) or it has some lasting happy ending (Like River Song getting to live in a computer or the Ponds getting to live to old age just separated from the Doctor, not killed.)  I mean he killed off Solomon which was the only one I actually count and think it was a really great moment in Doctor Who.  Not saying it's Moffat alone either, RTD didn't kill people too often too and if he did, it wasn't really someone important.  I realize it's a kids show and showing death to kids is a bad thing these days or something, but we definitely need an modern Who Adric.  Someone who actually matters to the show, having a sudden and tragic death.  Death in fiction is important because then when there is danger, it actually has some sort of excitement rather than, "Well we know they will get out of this somehow." 


Polyphase
Polyphase

I wasn't a fan of the way he kept bringing Rory back to life, I suppose when you think about it he brings just about everyone back to life eventually. It's good that he see that there can be problems with that. Really does sound like a return to the Classic era when literally everyone dies

nerdilsmagee
nerdilsmagee

i actually think it's a great thing, i am sick of every time a doctor regenerates you never see the previous characters, where do they go , major loose ends, it's always irritated me, i would have loved some of the key characters done away with from the rose era. Donna kind of irritated me as well, Moffat do your worst i say!

tealeaves
tealeaves

It always interests me that often when people criticise Moffat they depict him as being this kind of arrogant egotist doesn't listen to the fandom. But actually he's very aware of his tropes, weaknesses and of the opinion of the fandom and does react to it in his actions as showrunner, even if he doesn't always hit the mark. 

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

I think we are going to see what happens when someone dies due to the Doctors actions.  

attempted fan 1997
attempted fan 1997

It would be good if they did it so as to stop the cyberman invasion Clara had to sacrifice herself, like adric, which for that same episode theyre trying to rekindle the past visual and emotional shots such as st pauls and the cybermen. Just saying it would be nice for once if a companion died like a real human and not: In a parallel universe, married, bit forgetful, lived in the past etc etc

(Not that It would give me satisfaction for a death I'm just saying New Who would be going to new territories)

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

On the Rory/Clara dying all the time thing... 

There has only been one Rory, he'd died and come back several times. 

There is only one Companion Clara Oswald, and she has NEVER died. The fragments of her have died, but these are all entirely separate beings, with their own lives. Clara Oswin Oswald in The Snowmen died, to the children who lost their governess that's it; that the Doctor found the original later on is of no consolation to them. 

Thinking back to the RTD era, Ricky Smith was an alternative universe version of Mickey Smith who died, but nobody says that Mickey Smith has died already, even if Ricky was identical to him.


Ottoman14
Ottoman14

I think that what Moffat is talking about here is a step in the right direction. More permanent ends to characters help to create a sense of finality and make us more worried for the safety of our protagonists.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

I wonder, could it be that there will be much loss of life because of the Doctor screwing up? I haven't read a single synopsis or spoiler, so I don't want to be corrected on this, but I have a theory concerning the coming dark times. I have a feeling that the new Doctor will screw up somehow, or then he will find out about the consequences of his predecessor's mistakes, which causes him to become more openly ruthless and destructive. This would then backfire spectacularly around the halfway-point of the season, after which he would strive to correct his new mistakes and might try to soften a bit.

The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

There was someone called Coonor from Australia on the One Snow tonight asking a video question. Was he the DWTV contributor who writes those great articles?

GrannyMumantoog
GrannyMumantoog

Dear Mr Moffat & all show runners: "You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time"...kind of like being President or Prime Minister.

Captain Grumpy
Captain Grumpy

“I’m aware that I have a sentimental tendency to whack people back on their feet again – you can have several deaths in one lifetime, apparently – and I’m aware that that’s a weakness"

Hmm... Who do we know that has died several times in one lifespan?

blartfarble
blartfarble

I would love to see an episode like "Pyramids of Mars" or "Horror of Fang Rock", where by the end of the story every character, except the Doctor and his companion, has died.

Oodkind is foretold...
Oodkind is foretold...

I'm happy that he is admitting that bringing everyone back is a weakness. It served the plot sometimes, but after a while it just got tiring and took away the consequences of the story. I personally think that The Angels Take Manhattan would have been better if the Ponds died from jumping. I also sort of wanted Clara to die in the timestream, which I think would have made both the Impossible Girl and G.I. arcs a lot more effective. 

And yes, I laugh at the people who complain "Moffat kills too many people" too. I think it's mostly the overly-emotional teen fangirls. Someone once told me "I hate Moffat; he always kills my favorite characters. I'm still mad about what he did to Rose." So obviously they don't really know what they're talking about! I'm glad Moffat agrees with me.

Ottoman14
Ottoman14

I find it so funny. People are like, 'why does everyone hate Moffat, he's a genius'


When RTD was showrunner he got exactly the same kind of hate. He was accused of many things- turning the show into a soap opera, neglecting classic Who's legacy, blah blah blah.


The incumbent is always criticised and hated. Without constant criticism of the incumbent, the show will rot away and die, due to lack of improvement. It is good that RTD was criticised as showrunner, and it is good that Moffat is criticised as showrunner.


The people who can't accept criticism of Moffat need to grow a pair.

TheIdleIdol
TheIdleIdol

Did Moffat dictate Solomon's demise? That was a Chris Chibnall episode, and I don't personally remember any sources that suggest Solomon's death was a script direction mandated by the Moff. I could well be wrong though, so please correct me if so - I'd be interested to know. Also, Moffat has killed a fair few lesser characters beyond the main companions; all of the Church Soldier dudes from the Byzantium perished, either to the Angels (poor Bob) or the Crack in Time. The majority of the expedition to the Library died as well. Lorna Bucket croaked in A Good Man Goes To War. There were plenty of deaths in The Wedding of River Song - albeit it in an alternate timeline. Kovarian's was particularly memorable. Asylum of the Daleks saw corpses animated as Daleks, if you count that (no on-screen deaths, but the theme of death was still pretty evident - as it was in A Christmas Carol, and Abigail's subsequent implied off-screen demise). There was also the death of Reinette (albeit that historical, and thus not entirely of his own making), the death of the pilot whose name eludes me in The Night of the Doctor, and the death of Handles, if you choose to include non-human protagonist (of sorts) deaths. So whilst he's not particularly excessive with it, he certainly doesn't shy away from killing the less-important characters in his stories, despite his "everybody lives" debut. Plus, although you're not wrong in the whole "happy ending" thing, he's most likely referring at least in part to the various times he's "killed off" Rory or The Doctor, or at least implied their death then  written around it; River, Amy and Rory are all technically "dead" from the Doctor's perspective too. Death is a theme that certainly recurs throughout a fair number of Moffat's episodes, even if it's not immediately obvious or particularly notable/memorable. 

TheIdleIdol
TheIdleIdol

The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone sort of meets that criteria. Only The Doctor, Amy and River - the primary characters - made it out of the Byzantium alive. There was quite a sizeable church army force that all perished through some means or another. He also came close in Silence of the Library/Forest of the Dead, where only Strackman Lux made it out alive alongside the main protagonists - although the rescuing of the thousands of previously-lost guests at the end undoes the effect of that a little. 

Oodkind is foretold...
Oodkind is foretold...

@blartfarble That would be interesting. I liked Inferno for that reason: all the characters in the mirror universe die. I suppose The God Complex was a bit like this.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

@Oodkind "I hate Moffat; he always kills my favorite characters. I'm still mad about what he did to Rose."

Bwa ha ha haa! xD

yolt13
yolt13

@Ottoman14 Takes a bigger pair to earnestly stand up for the showrunner for the great job he's doing in an environment (online fandom) which is often hostile to such defenders (calling them sycophants and apologists) than it does to regurgitate the same old tired, baseless, secondhand gripes about how he's "ruining the show", etc. The notion that people whining about RTD or Moffat (or JNT, or Graham Williams, or...) while the show is riding high in the ratings & global popularity somehow helps it get better is dubious, to say the least. Constructive criticism certainly helps guide & influence future writers, directors, and showrunners. Overt hatred of the showrunner (and you yourself distinguished between the two types of complaints, whether you meant to or not) for hatred's sake does nothing to help the program, and serves only make organized fandom a far less enjoyable place to be. It doesn't require big stones to join the angry, unhappy mob in a venue in which you can speak with relative impunity and anonymity, in my estimation. Any quivering fanboy or fangirl with a compulsive need to fit in can do that. Standing up to that brainwashed mob and saying, "You're all a bunch of petulant ingrates who are completely & utterly full of crap and lack even the most basic of social graces!" because DOCTOR WHO & its cast & crew deserve better, on the other hand, requires a little bit of intestinal fortitude.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

@Ottoman14 I feel really sorry for whoever takes over after Moffat, because s/he will be compared to both predecessors and have diehard fans of both scrutinizing their every move. It might be best if the successor is someone relatively unknown, who doesn't have any previous hype to live up to, so that their contribution will be what matters. It could also be interesting if the next showrunner won't be working as headwriter, but more in a position of producer and script editor like in the days of Letts and Dicks or Hinchcliffe and Holmes.

TomLong2
TomLong2

@Ottoman14 I don't mind people criticising Moffat. But, what bugs me is when he is being criticised in areas where there is absolutely no need for criticism.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

@supermoff  @MaraBackman It seems likely that it might be happening, considering what has been implied. But it also gives me further reason to paranoia, as I suggested such a development already two years ago. :P

Beasts_a_Snarling
Beasts_a_Snarling

@yolt13 @Ottoman14 Moffat's (unreliable for the moment) changes wouldn't be possible without naysayers like myself. Of course, it is reasonable not to deny everything for the sake of one's own pride...

twoheartsonemind
twoheartsonemind

The issue with having a relative unknown taking over is that they won't have as much experience running a show and Doctor Who is a big show, a big, crazy show. It goes into all sorts of odd areas and can do nearly anything; not to mention, it's got a huge worldwide fan base. I feel it's better to have someone very experienced taking over.

Ottoman14
Ottoman14

@TomLong2 @Ottoman14 That's a funny thing to say, because who exactly determines whether or not criticism is needed? You? 

Erga kai Hemerai
Erga kai Hemerai

Criticism is fine and can help improve the show. Hate is unacceptable and actually works against valid criticism. Because when it's difficult to find actual criticism among hatred every sensible person runs away from it and that criticism gets lost. Also, sometimes when I don't like something and want to talk about it, I imagine some people I don't want to have anything to do with leaping on it and turning it into poison. So I say nothing.

Beatles12345
Beatles12345

@Beasts_a_Snarling @yolt13 @Ottoman14 Oh will you all shush? RTD was nitpicked at and so is Moffat. There will NEVER be a perfect showrunner because what is good writing for some is bad to others, and as we have seen, Moff can do a wonderful job and people will still bitch. Some just have a glass half empty mentality in life and it's sad. It's a shame i read these comments from people who act like they and no other fan make the show go round. WE ALL DO!

Oodkind is foretold...
Oodkind is foretold...

@Ottoman14 @TomLong2 How about saying Moffat is sexist? Is that needed? He's written plenty of episodes that show he is not. Trouble writing females, maybe, but not sexist. That's an unneeded criticism, because it's totally unfounded.

Beasts_a_Snarling
Beasts_a_Snarling

@Ottoman14 @TomLong2 No one. Criticism is needed for mostly everything on this site. This statement for example, deserves to be criticized and analyzed. We can't just run around accepting things and allowing people to make the same mistakes over and over again. Besides, everyone has the right to share their opinion as long as it isn't offensive in some way.



Beasts_a_Snarling
Beasts_a_Snarling

@Beatles12345 @Beasts_a_Snarling @yolt13 @Ottoman14 Oh, did I say naysayers? I meant naysayers in the sense of people who stand contrary to popular opinion and are willing to stand up for it. Yeah, sorry  for not being clear - I haven't slept well. Unfortunately, I can't merit my own unclarity to your comment. I never said that critics make the whole show go round; I said critics help writers recognize their mistakes- just as supporters help writers recognize their strengths. 





Beasts_a_Snarling
Beasts_a_Snarling

@Beatles12345 @Beasts_a_Snarling @yolt13 @Ottoman14 I don't have that attitude at all. Stop trying to make out that people who stand up for there opinions are haters and pessimists. I am sick of others and myself being attacked just for claiming their opinion! Please can we just have civility! By the way, I find there has been some absolutely sublime show runners - Verity Lambert, Bob Holmes, and Barry Letts to name a few. Stop trying to impose your opinion as orthodoxy. This is not Nazi Germany. 


Arkleseizure
Arkleseizure

Yes, this. I always thought RTD was very poor when it came to endings, but that doesn't mean he had some sort of prejudice against them. Similarly, if female characters aren't Moffat's strong point (and not going into that particular "if" now), it doesn't follow that he has a prejudice, either. Did Douglas Adams get accused of sexism when the only lead female role in Hichhiker's, Trillian, was such a dull cipher? No. He just admitted that he wasn't all that good at female parts. Similarly, John Cleese said that all Sybil's good lines in Fawlty Towers came from Connie Booth, because he wasn't very good at writing female parts. Anyway, I think I've made my point.

YaelMoise wonders if they'll reference the goddess
YaelMoise wonders if they'll reference the goddess

@ClaireAbraham @Beasts_a_Snarling @ Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey @Ottoman14 Not necessarily. I think the show as an institution is bigger than the showrunner. DW changes and grows. It gains fans and loses fans and alters all the time. Regular shows, if they start to go bad, don't have the promise of a new beginning just around the corner. DW does. Add that to 50 years of history, and you have a powerful device for keeping people around, or at least for keeping them coming back. DW is the ultimate "I'll give it another chance" show because the possibility that whatever it is you disliked is now gone is a very real one. So, yes, the weaknesses of the showrunners could be greater than their strengths, but so long as it's done at the right time, in a show like DW, it might not be a death-sentence.



Beasts_a_Snarling
Beasts_a_Snarling

Now, who are you to determine if people are belittling Moffat are simply sharing their opinion?

 Notsosmartguy
Notsosmartguy

@Beasts_a_Snarling @ Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey @Ottoman14 Strengths for RTD great family drama, relatable companions, not afraid to do dark things ( for better or worse) great LBGT characters. Weaknesses IMO too much focus on Rose Tyler, series 2 and beyond Rose Tyler in general, and too much death at times. Strengths of Moffat, embraces the time travel concept using it to its fullest, Characters we can admire, interesting takes on monsters, and bringing some intelligence to the show while at the same time being fun. Cons, same ending each finale (time ends up broken).


Beasts_a_Snarling
Beasts_a_Snarling

@ Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey @Beasts_a_Snarling @Ottoman14 RTD Strengths: 1. Doctor Who is not about family dramas, it is about having adventures in space and time. This is what I am watching the show for, not waiting around wondering if Jackie will do this or do that on 21st Century Earth of all places. I want to see something imaginative and out of the ordinary! 2. True, but it got boring after a while. What about an interesting alien companion? 3. He had darkness, but alongside this I feel like RTD was trying to do too much. It was just all too much to handle and it became a shambolic mess. RTD couldn't decide what tone he wanted and he just fused it all together hoping that it would work. 4. Agreed. RTD Weaknesses: 1. Yeah, Rose Tyler got annoying after a while. She was good in Series 1, but just got ridiculous from Series 2 onwards. 2. Really? I felt it was the right amount. The horror factor was higher in the RTD era, but it should have been ramped up if anything. MOFFAT Strengths: 1. Definitely, but he should have been more open to casual viewers who were left estranged and confused. 2. Um... hm... that's an interesting one. I felt Moffat was trying a little to hard with Amy and Rory and not hard enough with Clara. River was ok. Paradoxically, his one off and recurring characters were great. 3. True, but he should have helped other writers in developing their monsters - Neil Cross's in the Rings of Akhatten for example. 4. Hm... I actually completely agree with this. MOFFAT Weaknesses. 1: Yeah.



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