News of Doctor Who Reboot Horrifies Fans

When Variety reported this morning that Harry Potter director David Yates is going to spearhead a reboot of the Doctor Who franchise for the big screen, I braced myself for whatever hit the fan. After having read a lot of comments on various articles on the subject all day, it was about what I expected. Fans of the series are not seeing this as good news. According to Variety:

Yates made clear that his movie adaptation would not follow on from the current TV series, but would take a completely fresh approach to the material.

“Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch,” he said.

The most common reaction to this news seems to be “… wait, WHY?” It’s a fair question. Why take something that’s already massively successful and pretend it doesn’t exist? It’s pretty rare that something is rebooted while it’s still in production, particularly if people like it in its current form.  If the point is to bring Who to a larger audience, then that should include the existing audience, too. And based on the response so far, it seems like this might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, where the fans are the baby… well, you get the point.

Though there have been some tentatively positive fan responses, the overwhelming majority are along the lines of “NOOOOOO!” or “WHY DOES DAVID YATES RUIN EVERYTHING?” If there’s something we know about scifi fans, it’s that we’re serious about our continuity. Even the Star Trek reboot takes that into account.

So what say you? Worst idea ever? Is there a glimmer of hope? Is there some dream casting of the Doctor that would sway you to their side? (And don’t say Matt Smith – from the article, I think I have about as good a chance of being cast as he does.)

[Image: Day 214/365 - This picture is recommended by 7 out of 10 doctors / Tony Case / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]





61 Responses to News of Doctor Who Reboot Horrifies Fans

  1. I think it is absolutely absurd to reboot something that is in my opinion at the height of its popularity. DocWho is one of the biggest scifi shows on television and there is absolutely no need to restart it. But the most annoying thing? As fans we will go and see the film regardless, so David Yates wins no matter what. CURSE HIM

      • But it is. It's like making a Star Wars movie and saying "Lucas did a great job, but I'm gonna do things my own way." It is the whole "start from scratch" that is the worry. Both Davies and Moffat have grown off each other; Yates implied he was tossing it all aside. That's like saying, "Let's make Vader female and histrionic."

        • They did! It's called episodes 1, 2 and 3 – except Lucas screwed himself over there. But yeah it's balls – if theyre going to do it, they shouldnt but if they are – it should be years in the future :)

  2. Nothing would get me excited about this plan. Ugh. WHY this constant need to remake and reboot? Get your own damn franchise, David Yates.

  3. The idea of Doctor Who is that he is the same man, just different. He is the same Doctor from 1963. Saying your ditching that and starting from scratch is an insult to the IP you want to work on, the fans who follow it, & most importantly to yourself as it show that you aren't good enough to use the IP as is. Abrams messed up the last Star Trek movie. Yes it was a good scifi movie, but it wasn't Star Trek. So Yates, if you do this you will simply be known as the Destroyer of Doctor Who. Don't do it, don't threaten it, don't even think about it. If you do it will be nothing but a trap, and there is one person you never put in a trap.

    • I personally felt that Davies' decision to number his first series in charge as series 1, rather than continuing the numbering scheme already in existence for the previous 30 odd years, was an insult.

      • I don't disagree, but I can also see Davies's side, to some degree, in not wanting to confuse an new fan base who lacked knowledge of an old series.

  4. You'd think Hollywood would have figured out that reboots are a terrible idea 99% of the time. Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night… The only reboots that have been even REMOTELY acceptable have been Star Trek and X-Men First Class, and the former only by a marginal amount of us fans who are willing to ignore cannon. At least it EXPLAINED the alternate universe that required a full new story.

  5. First off, yes, terrible idea. Glimmer of hope? Perhaps they could do something that couldn't be done in the actual series, like exploring more of The Doctor's roots (a younger William Hartnell, if you will). Otherwise, the series is fine as it is – no need to mess about with it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    • indeed – something pre-canon or even old school within the existing architecture would be acceptable and potentially even very good. well said, nikki.

      and, to both further your last point, and tie it into the terminology here, if your computer is running fine, don't reboot it.

  6. NO!! not okay, if one is to make a Doctor Who movie keep it as it is, it has survived almost 50 years exactly as it is, no person especially David Yates should take that away from the fans!

    • Not at all true. There are already two Doctor Who movies, and their existence parallel this almost exactly (except they were made in the 60's and star Governor Tarkin). Back when Doctor Who was first popular they made 2 non-cannon movies that were generally ignored by the community. Now history is just repeating itself for the current re-imaging of Doctor Who.

      I personally don't think those two old movies had much effect on the popularity of the old series but what if they did in small roundabout ways and they helped DW last for an additional 20 years? Their popularity and use as a "gateway drug" for the mainstream to discover to the main franchise may have helped usher in the golden age of Doctor Who.
      If this movie drives non-fans to the "real" series and doesn't pull people away maybe it could ensure another 20 years funding.

  7. This is probably one of the worst ideas ever. how can you ignore what is currently going on in Doctor Who when the BBC version is what is considered "cannon"? that's basically like David Yates writing his own fan-fiction, except he has the power to turn it into a movie. Fans were pissed off enough about the tv movie put out by fox and bbc, and a lot of fans still debate whether or not it's cannon.

    But since you asked, I think the only actors that might make me possibly consider seeing this would be James McAvoy or Liam Neeson. Just because they're awesome. but it would still take a lot of consideration.

  8. As an American, I must insist.
    Keep American paws off of it completely.
    That being said, I'd rather it didn't happen. I like Doctor Who the way it is.
    The Americanized Torchwood already is playing with the Doctor Who Cannon and I'm hating that.

    Let's just not go there at all…

    • At least Torchwood acknowledges the current Who universe… this sounds like it would disregard it completely :-(

      • If they make a movie I would prefer it disregard it completely. Then we can ignore it and the TV series can continue unaffected.

        It's rare that a feature film fits in with the TV show (X-Files movie is the only one I can think of) and doesn't just feel like either a long episode, or a awkward version of the TV shoehorned into movie format. We don't need another Star Trek: Generations crapping on the franchise.

  9. Ignoring all previous comments, let me kick off by saying, this is why I love this site so much. Without you, I would have gone for a few more days not knowing this.

    Anyway… Personally, I hate this idea. Not all of it, mind you, just the "reboot" potion. Speaking as a die-hard fan of the Doc, and coming from an entire family(immediate, and many of the extended) of Doctor Who fans, this is terrible. Now, if they were to make a full-length movie that was in keeping with current history, fine, we'd all love to see that, so long as Moffat had at least a couple fingers in the project, if not both hands(imho).

    Unfortunately, They're not. And that sucks. So, with this news, my only hope is that fan outcry will be extensive and persuasive enough that Yates will either give up on the project entirely, or that he'll keep going with it, but make it so that the plot follows the show, in some decent form or fashion. Yeah, I know the latter option is little more than a pipe dream, but hey, if a fanboy can't dream an impossible dream, who the heck can?

  10. dont do it, if the american movie of cirque du freak is any example it proves that americans just ruin original european work. if this idiot does this it could ruin the doctor forever! i don't want to add a shitty ass actor to the list of actors who've played the doctor, its an awful idea! if this dumb ass wants to rape original ideas for a profit, tell him to go make another animated star wars movie and leave alone what hasn't already been ruined by money grubbing scum like him.

    • Woah man, woah. This may seem like splitting hairs, but it's HOLLYWOOD that's the problem. Americans don't like seeing their favorite books, TV shows, comics, or games being mistreated by Hollywood either. And there's a LOT of Dr. Who fans in America, and they'll be screaming just as loud as their Eurpean/UK counterparts. Count on it!

  11. I actually thought of this a while back. (Pretty sure every fan has at some point or another.) We were introduced to the Doctor as an older gentleman. It doesn't need to be a reboot if they decide to go all the way back to the beginning and have the Doctor actually become the Doctor could be more of an origin story . I know a lot of fans will be upset over the numbering but call the movie Doctor Doctor 0 or something. I actually would like to see tan origin story/trilogy/harry potter serial. Maybe with each incarnation having the Doctor meet a villain all while he is working to become a time lord. I say have at it, The Brits need another big movie Franchise since Potter is done & Bond is few and far between.

    • That is the first I've seen about BBC squashing the idea. Every article I've read today (which was about 30 different places) said that BBC was endorsing it.

    • The article is about the fan response, which is definitely true. :)

      Though I will say that I haven't seen an official debunking yet – even BBC news is reporting on the Variety article. Fingers crossed though!

  12. Heres what will cause yates to be murdered. He's going to give the doctor a name in the series. BIG mistake.

  13. I'm not an obsessive fan of The Doctor, however I do think it's great! I'll rephrase/quote what one person said.. as and american I say don't let american paws touch it. However, a reboot isn't all that bad… I mean it's not so much as to ignore the one that's currently running so much as give the doctor and the series a different spin. Not the current one running but the whole thing. I mean… The Doctor doesn't always stay in the same body… and why does he always have to have some girl side kick for instance? What if he met with this person first then that person… what if he was able to take out the Daleks from the start. While this current program running is great… and the cult following is greater, you have to be open to new experiences. Again though… this all goes out the window depending on who the one doing the reboot is. Hell I thought Yates was English so why not let him have a go. After all Peter Jackson could of jumped in on this… "One Sonic Screwdriver to rule them all"… I mean hell the damn thing does just bout everything (or least I figure one can rule the world with it no?)

  14. If there's going to be another Doctor Who movie, it should occur between seasons. It should star the 12th Doctor, and should be played by Hugh Laurie. There is no other reason for making a Doctor Who movie, except possibly to make Rowan Atkinson's portrayal canon.

    • Between seasons? Which? Autumn and winter perhaps? Or maybe Spring and summer? I think you mean between series.

      • I'm afraid that at least where I come from, a 'series' is a grouping of 'seasons.' Doctor Who is a series. Matt Smith played the Doctor in seasons 5, 6, and soon to be 7. It might be a British vs American deal- I always get a slight start whenever I hear Doctor Who series finale- On all the stations this side of the ocean, that implies the last episode ever.

  15. Most of Doctor Who took years to develop interest with fans. I would love to see a big budget Doctor Who but the Doctor is simply not a character that can be appreciated in 1 or 2 movies. Remember the American Doctor Who, that made every Doctor who fan ill for years?
    Remember how it made the mere mention of Doctor Who impossible to speak of without wanting to puke in your mouth?

    BUT…that said…if they wanted to redo a version with Christopher Eccleston's Doctor before he met Rose, that I would be interested in seeing. I think we were cheated with him.

      • I've read conflicting articles on that. Some said he wanted to do other projects at the same time, while others said that he personally spoke saying he wasn't given a choice. That his contract agreement was for 1 series of Doctor Who.

  16. This is the worst idea EVER! I cannot see how BBC could ever endorse this. The Doctor has been around on the series since 1963. There are sometimes generations of the same family watching this when it's on.
    As an American, most of us are unaware about how integral this is to British pop culture. This would be tantamount to Yates deciding that he didn't like Anakin becoming Darth Vader and rewriting the whole thing. If Yates wants generations of people to hate him and wants to kill his career, fine. Let him make the movie.
    This is just another movie that will be laughed at. Even more so than the movie that Peter Cushing played in.

  17. Pre the new series with Eccleston, or Pre whole series with a young first Dr. maybe. I say do the missing years with David Tennant and Russell T Davies or go away.

  18. reboots can work, the first Batman reboot was a good idea, but that was because Hollywood had killed the franchise. A fez and a bow tie are nowhere near bat nipples. But, no matter what you say. about Yates, it could be worse.. it could be Uwe Boll….

  19. I'm a geek who hasn't watched a single episode of Dr Who, so I am somewhat interested in a "rebooted" movie. It sure beats watching every episode of the series just to catch up with a "canonical" movie. Canonicity is overrated IMO.

    • The problem is, the idea founded here would be arguing to throw away the cannon completely. It may beat watching every episode of a cannon to you, but if your intention was to get some sort of feel for Doctor Who, you'd be completely mislead.

  20. As I read this post there was only one word screaming in my head NOOOOO!!! Very bad idea very bad. I hope they don't ruin it but they will. Just plain stupid but I gotta ask WHY? there is no need oh wait yes $$$$. Someone once said I don't know the quote or who but when your makeing something creative if it's not form the heart and just for money don't bother cause it wont go anywhere. Or something along those lines

  21. Ignoring nearly HALF A CENTURY of continuity and pissing off several GENERATIONS of fans is quite possibly the stupidest idea I have ever heard.

    FAIL!

  22. I've had an evening to think about this, rage on to the point of signing a petition online, and come to a simple stance on it:

    How to make this not completely suck:
    1.) Get Gaiman involved in the screenplay. He loves Doctor Who, he's a master of converting fantastic ideas into screenplay format, and you know, he's kind of a good writer too. ;)
    2.) As others have said – take it back to Galifrey, when The Doctor was a younger man; maybe explore his child/teenage years growing up with The Master
    3.) Actually show the moment the TARDIS stole him; subtly show how she lured him in… which, after seeing the Harry Potter movies, I think Yates could actually pull off should he cast the right actor and hired the very very best CGI crew.

    But for the love of Who, don't start mid continuity. It just wont work. Start from Galifrey or just leave it well enough alone.

  23. Wow…this just reeks on so many levels. :P

    Sure let's take something that has existed for almost 50 years on its own merits, throw it all out the window, and make it all up brand spanking new and "perfect". Why would anyone consider that a good idea? How about a Harry Potter reboot too? That would just be perfect.

    A movie in the pre-series timeline would be interesting, or even filling in a hole in the existing storylines would be neat, but that doesn't sound like what he is proposing here. The 8th doctor movie initially rubbed me the wrong way because, as a movie, it just didn't play *like* Doctor Who. Now I like it and appreciate how the 8th Doctor movie and series of novels really filled in a void keeping the series alive in some form until it returned to television.

    It is time for all these movie yahoos to stop being lazy and come up with their own real ideas. It all come down to: If it ain't broke then don't fix it. Nothing is wrong with Doctor Who today.

  24. David Yates utterly butchered the Harry Potter books with his movies. They were utter crap and that was simple material to work with, plus he had access to its author! Now he wants to take a complex, time-traveling story line with 50 years of history and backstory and make it work?

    He can't hack it. It would be horrifying.

  25. I am utterly against this, but sadly I can understand why BBC would allow such a travesty. BBC is losing money, at least in america, which is why the next season of Doctor Who is going to be in Spring/Summer. Maybe they think that a movie would drive up interest and funds to be able to continue showing the show. But I think that Yates–at least with his current plan–is the wrong man to do it. I will admit that I liked his HP movies, but Doctor Who does not need an entirely new direction. The Doctor Who canon is not something that can be retconned and still be made to work: at least in the eyes of the loving fans.

    "It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena." -Yates, Variety
    The Doctor has all of space and time, how can you get a bigger arena?

  26. Worst idea EVER!!
    How can someone be up to take nearly 50 successful years of Doctor Who and just bin it?
    That makes no bloody damn sense!

  27. In my opinion (which probably noone will read anyway, because people are here simple to rage out, not read others' ranting) it could be a good thing, but only in case it's not considered a reboot. The TV series keeps going like nothing happened. The movie is a standalone feature that is "based on" the series. I, for one, would welcome an alternative approach – as long as it doesn't hurt the real Doctor Who. Because obviously everyone will know the difference between the "Real DW" and "Yates' DW". So why not? And it's a chance to see some interesting actors play the Doctor which would not be cast in the series otherwise.

  28. As a fan, but not a super-fan, I'm torn.

    Yes, a movie would be awesome. It might bring it to a wider audience, who only remember Tom Baker (with jelly babies, the scarf and K9).

    But its current resurgence is completely due to what Davies and Moffat have done. Moffat in particular has taken it to an excellent space, so not including him seems a little bizarre. It's kind of like what the Kuzuis are doing by rebooting the Buffy character without including Joss Whedon or anyone from the show.

    I don't think Yates is a bad idea – he handled the Harry Potter world pretty well, I thought (with the exception of killing the Voldemort back story in favor of the romances for Book 6 – I realize something had to go, but that wasn't it, but it probably wasn't all his decision anyway). But it's really odd to include neither RTD or Moffat while the show is still in active production.

    But by the same token? I mean I like Matt Smith as The Doctor, but I don't know if I want him in full movie feature. I'd rather they brought Eccleston back for that, actually.

  29. to do something like this almost seems like a fuck you to the fans and an effort to try and capitilize on Dr. whos growing fame in america. i think the only reboot ive liked has been the star trek one and that was mostly bc it had leonard nimoy in it and that they explained why things where different

  30. Star Wars, Transformers, Star Trek and now… Doctor Who? Time to stream some reruns and never leave the house again.