ByAlisha Grauso, writer at
Editor-at-large here at Movie Pilot. Nerd out with me on Twitter, comrades: @alishagrauso
Alisha Grauso

Ever since his announcement that he'd be stepping down as the Doctor after this season, Doctor Who fans have been preparing themselves to say goodbye to Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. This year's San Diego Comic-Con saw a packed house for the Doctor Who panel, including a beautiful tribute to Twelve that brought Hall H to its feet.

During the panel, the cast, along with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, revealed quite a few details about the Doctor Who Christmas special, set to be Capaldi's last hurrah, along with Pearl Mackie, who plays companion Bill Potts, as well as Moffat and Gatiss.

But at an earlier press event, Capaldi teased that the Christmas special would deviate from what we've come to expect from .

"Snow," he joked when asked if there would be a Christmas element to this year's special.

With it being 's last episode as the Doctor, he and Moffat wanted to do something different. Just like Twelve himself, the Christmas special will be a twist on what we're used to, Capaldi said:

Yes, there is a Christmas element, but it’s not the usual one. It’s very clever. There’s absolutely, definitely a Christmas element. But it’s slightly different. You know the Christmas special has come to be—you know, the classic show never had Christmas specials. It’s now come to be something of a tradition in Britain, and there’s a little bit of pressure in that because it’s got to be something slightly different from the regular run of the show.

Airing on Christmas Day, the Christmas specials have become something like standalone episodes. There are references to the events of the specials in the regular season, but general audiences who normally don't watch Doctor Who can also jump in and watch the Christmas special. This year, however, the lighthearted sweetness of previous specials has been eschewed in favor of a meaningful exit for Capaldi:

A broader audience watches it and it’s got to be a bit more festive and cheerful, but this year we’ve avoided that deliberately. It’s much more like a regular episode of Doctor Who that happens to have a Christmas element as opposed to a festive holiday Doctor Who episode.

It's fitting that the end of Capaldi's run will be marked with a Christmas special making a point to not do what's been done before; Twelve was a different sort of Doctor than what we had gotten used to with Matt Smith and David Tennant. One thing is for certain, no matter what happens in the Christmas special: However Capaldi bows out, it's sure to be with style.


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