Peter Capaldi says the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas special ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ reminds him of the classic Christopher Reeve ‘Superman’ movies.
The 58-year-old actor sees his titular Time Lord team up with a superhero known as The Ghost (Justin Chatwin) and journalist Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield) to battle brain-swapping aliens who are threatening to take over New York City in the story.
When he saw Steven Moffat’s script for the episode, Capaldi immediately thought of the four-movie franchise which starred the late Reeve as the Man of Steel and began in 1978 and was delighted with the humor in the story.
Speaking to BANG Showbiz in a Q&A, Capaldi said: "There’s a kind of lovely kind of wit that you have in, for instance, the early Christopher Reeve ‘Superman’ movies. And even if you watch the old ‘Batman’ series with Adam West in them, there’s a tremendous kind of tongue in cheek humor about the whole thing which has sort of slightly vanished now from the world of superheroes. I think that happens in ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ which is nice. Although I don’t think there’s much in common between Doctor Who and superheroes. I mean Doctor Who is a kind of anti-superhero … He doesn’t have tights for instance … I think he’s not as slick as the traditional superheroes. They don’t really come from the same place."
Moffat, 55, admits that DC Comics character Superman was his inspiration for The Ghost and he actually came up with the idea to have a superhero join the Doctor for an adventure during a script meeting for a different episode.
Although he and the team decided not to pursue the "awful" plotline at the time, it later seemed perfect for the annual festive romp.
The showrunner – who is to hand over control of the program to ‘Broadchurch’ creator Chris Chibnall after the 2017 series airs – shared: "I’d suggested the idea of a superhero when we were having a big script meeting of a previous episode and we were getting nowhere with the story. I was throwing out ideas and one of them was ‘Why don’t we put a superhero in the next one?’ I thought it was an awful idea but then they said, ‘You know that terrible idea that you had for another episode would actually be quite good for Christmas day.’ As you’ll see in the story it’s about a superhero fan who gets superpowers. So he’s taken inspiration from all of them. But I guess Superman, he’s the main one. All the others are named after him."
Capaldi also stars in the special with Matt Lucas who is returning as Nardole – the character he first played in 2015 Christmas Day episode ‘The Husbands of River Song’ – Tomiwa Edun, Aleksandar Jovanovic and Logan Huffman.
‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ airs on BBC America on Christmas Day (12.25.16).