matt smith karen gillan doctor who impossible astronaut 320 'Doctor Who': Steven Moffat previews 'Let's Kill Hitler' opening, talks breaking tradition

It’s been something of an epic week for American “Doctor Who” fans.

After a rock star reception at Comic-Con, stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan made the media rounds, and on July 28 they finally joined showrunner Steven Moffat at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

And in the interest of really psyching us up for the back six episodes, the panel kicked off with a screening of the first few minutes of the Aug. 27 mid-season premiere, “Let’s Kill Hitler.”

“Hitler” starts out with Amy (Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) careening through a wheat field in a beat up car. You can barely see much more than the tops of their heads until the car comes to a halt in a clearing, smack in front of the Doctor and the Tardis.

It’s a crop circle, the second “O” in a message that spells “Doctor.” They’ve called him, via these unconventional means, to see if he’s had any luck tracking down their baby, Melody (aka River). He hasn’t, but since they’ve all met her as an adult, they should know he soon will.

Before we cut out, we meet Mels (Nina Toussaint-White), an ex-con friend of the Amy and Rory’s who holds the Doctor up at gunpoint, presumably in an attempt to hijack the Tardis. (Hitler probably comes into play a short time later…)

Discussion at the ensuing Q&A tended to dwell on growing American audience for the series and the rehashing of a few Comic-Con details, but we did get some tidbits from Moffat about the back 6 and his approach to writing the Doctor.

“Every revelation has to be story,” he says. “You can’t just tie off the narrative. You think you know the truth about River. You don’t know it yet. There’s loads more to come.”

And with so much talk of River being outed as Amy and Rory’s daughter, Moffat seemed curious that people aren’t focusing on the larger mystery: the Doctor’s apparent collision-course with death at the hands of the mysterious astronaut. 

“There’s the great revelation,” he says. “We’ve still got to understand what happened to the Doctor in episode one.”

According to Smith, you’ll get that by the Oct. 1 finale.

Deviating a bit to latest batch of “Doctor Who” episodes and the noticeable emphasis on larger storytelling, Moffat says that he doesn’t want the show’s decades worth of history to make it a tradition.

“Tradition is the enemy of suspense,” he says. “It’s the enemy of comedy. It’s the enemy of everything… It will always push back towards the anthology model. We’ve just amped it up to see what would happen.”

As for the talk of the darker tones of the series and the iconic character, Moffat also offered a particularly interesting observation about taking the Doctor down his current path: “The dark side of a man who could destroy the universe is considerable.”

Posted by:Mikey O'Connell