Every few years, it seems, rumors start circulating about someone trying to make a new Doctor Who movie. Usually they're just rumors, with about as much chance of becoming real as anything in the tabloids.
And then we get a snippet like this: "Variety reports that David Yates -- the director behind four of the 'Harry Potter' movie adaptations, including both parts of 'The Deathly Hallows' -- is looking to develop a big-screen version of the time-traveling Doctor." These are big names and big details, and the inner fangirl (or boy) in all of us Whovians starts jumping up and down.
In the '60s, there were two movies made with Peter Cushing that aren't cannon and also aren't very good. In the '90s, there was that TV movie with Paul McGann that is cannon, but also isn't very good (though I will defend it to my dying breath). And since then, despite the perennial nature of the rumor, that's all she wrote. The closest we've gotten is the yearly Christmas specials, and maybe the odder specials like "Dreamland" and "The Infinite Quest."
So the prospect of a new movie, done properly, is something hugely exciting. And then the article says this: "The new film would not be connected with the long-running series."
Eleven doctors, dozens of companions, a currently-running series that's wildly popular and they aren't going to work inside that cannon? Blasphemy!
Rationality points out that it's always been difficult to make a movie when the show is still on the air, what with having to confine the bigger canvas and scope of a movie to the smaller show's continuity. So, okay. But a total redo?
The wisdom of this choice, assuming it goes forward (and hoping, despite everything, that it does), would be entirely based on how they handled it. If it's a reboot and a reimagining along the lines of, say, the new Star Trek movie, where it's very much in the spirit of the original and has a lot of what made the original wonderful, it could do very well. If, on the other hand, they decide to muck with some of the basics of the series, like the Cushing movies did, it will be another disaster.
The Doctor has to be alien. He has to have a strangely-sentient TARDIS. He has to be the cleverest man in the room. He has to travel with companions. If they're having classic villains, they have to stay at least a little silly and entirely recognizable. If they're making new villains, they have to fit the scheme. It has to be full of action and adventure, a little scary, a little silly, and has to be generally positive -- it's brains that get you out of these messes, not brawn, and you're fighting for good, not control. It has to appeal to the massive original fanbase.
That's a lot to constrain a new adaptation.
But you know what? David Yates did a good job adapting Harry Potter from book to movie a few times. Maybe he can do the same adapting the Doctor from TV to silver screen while preserving everything that makes the Doctor worth watching, even if he has to change the framework.
Here's the opening sequence for you: