25 Dec 2014

The End of Darkpaths: (SPOILERS!)

So, that's it. The end has arrived for Darkpaths. A series that I started thinking of years ago, and finally started properly in May 2012. Just over two and a half years later, I've finally completed the series. It feels as though I have achieved something that I wanted to do way back in 2003 when I first envisioned the series. I got part-way through it last time, but it all felt a bit directionless and it felt like the story wasn't as coherent. With Darkpaths I feel that I had a very clear beginning, middle and an end. It also it feels sad that the characters are now gone and I will never be revisiting them again.

In March 2015 the follow-up series will begin. It will be called Doctor Who: Resurrection and will feature James McAvoy as the next incarnation of the Doctor. It is set in the same universe, but an unspecified amount of time has taken place between the Doctor's regeneration and McAvoy's era. It is a natural continuation to Darkpaths, but very few of the events in that series will be references. In a way it is a "soft reboot".
I think I needed to do a "soft reboot" of the series. Darkpaths was very laden in its own continuity and I needed to wrap that up and start afresh with Resurrection. I want to attract new (and maybe different readers), and I knew that anyone new coming into the series with, say, "Before the Dawn" and "Family" may have been completely lost. And Darkpaths is about the Doctor going on a dark path of his own - heading towards his death. So when he finally reaches the end and survives it's like he has been resurrected. That's why McAvoy had to have his own series. It was a resurrection and something fresh and new.

There will be fewer stories in the next series. I have no idea how many yet, but the whole series kicks off in March 2015. I'm also taking my time to write as well. During series 3 of Darkpaths I really pressured myself to get the stories written, and as such I didn't always enjoy the writing. Resurrection is something new and I want it to be about quality, not quantity.

As far as what to expect with Resurrection: what we won't see are characters such as Caroline, the Apparites, Aleena or Jayne. They are all gone. Done and dusted. We will never, ever see those characters again, and we will never ever revisit Thornsby ever again. Thornsby was very much the Darkpath-Doctor's terrain, like the Powell Estate (with Rose Tyler) was very much the 9th and 10th Doctor's terrain. We never see the 12th Doctor revisit the Powell Estate.

What we will link to, however, will be the Master. He is out there somewhere with a new face. We may see Reikon, Caleb and Celestia again as that was kind of my introduction to aspects of the next series. Celestia told the Doctor something that the Master told her, and that will be explored in Resurrection. There will also be no previous Doctor's. Darkpaths was very heavy on old faces. I was conscious of that as it was the 50th anniversary and wanted to do my bit. But we won't see any previous Doctor's now. Resurrection is all about looking to the future and what is to come.

When I started Darkpaths I avoided Gallifrey and made some references to the Time War. The 50th anniversary episode was a game-changer which altered the status quo. At that point I made more references to Gallifrey. It's pretty obvious that at some point in the future Gallifrey will return. The nature of it's return is a mystery for now and what happens after that is a mystery.

What we have to remember is that Darkpaths and Resurrection is set far, far in the Doctor's personal future. So the standpoint we take now is that Gallifrey is already back, but there is a reason for why the Doctor can't return. It's what happened in the many years after it returned, that has stopped the Doctor from going back. Whether this is explored...well, I can't say yet. I keep things quiet so I can play around when we learn more from the TV show.

Not everything always played out how I wanted them to during Darkpaths, and often there were big changes to the ongoing storyline. Originally Danny would have died in "Lockdown" and been resurrected by the Apparites in "Call of the Spirits". In the end I liked Danny so much that I wove in the story about it being his brother, and Danny lived to fight another day. I liked the relationship between Danny and Caroline too much. Being friends that loved each other, but not quite wanting to make anything official.

Another massive changed to the ongoing story was the fact that the Doctor should have died and regenerated at the end of Series 2. The Master and him would have been trapped in the collapsing dimension and then the Doctor would have gone missing, presumed dead.
We then would have seen the Doctor - having absorbed the Master's body (!) - regenerated into Henry Ian Cusick. Series 3 would have then continued with the Doctor now looking like Henry Ian Cusick, with the same stories that we did see in Series 3, but with a new Doctor who was battling against the dark side left in him by the Master. I even went as far as to design the cover for "Village of the Daleks" with Henry Ian Cusick as the Doctor.

As I got towards the end of Series 2 I realised that it wasn't really going to work, so instead changed
everything around. That's why Series 3 feels a little different and disjointed. Originally I envisioned the series as novel-length stories, and Series 3 then fell into a pattern of shorter stories and structured more like the TV series. That's why there's a new companion and set-up in Series 3. It was meant to be a "soft reboot" of sorts. It's also why the Doctor's impending death takes a while to get there. Towards the end of Series 3 (and definitely by the time we got to "Before the Dawn") I began to re-weave in the Thornsby stuff to finish off the story line so we could start afresh with the next series.

With regards to the future, I struggled for some time on what to do as I was having a hard time leaving the characters behind. I had two options - either we went for the soft reboot like we are doing and had everything shiny and new, or we continued with Darkpaths Series 4 and built on already established mythology.

Had we continued we would have seen the Doctor regenerate and end up being cared for by Danny and Caroline. Caroline would have then found herself thrown back in time to be back with William Fieldgate and the spin-off series "The Thornsby Chronicles" would have begun, with Danny and co. trying to find a way to get her home. Thornsby would have continued to feature with the Doctor finding a cult of former Ancestors who had started to misuse their powers. The Doctor also would have began to travel with Millie, who was introduced in "Before the Dawn". I've still left hints of her being a companion, which obviously has never happened. The Doctor and Millie would have left Thornsby and gone to the future where they would have encountered Millie's twin - Lizzy - who was mentioned in "Before the Dawn". Lizzy would have been a nasty piece of work and would have caused all sorts of issues for the Doctor and Millie.

I didn't run with this, though, as, like I said before, I really decided it was best for a fresh start and to tie up the loose threads. So I shelved the idea of "The Thornsby Chronicles" and scrapped all the other plans and rebooted.

I will miss the characters though. I liked Caroline. On reflection she started off rather moody and she was put through the wringer a bit. But I liked her relationship with Danny. Aleena was good in her first story, but I felt she lost some of her spark during the other appearances. Ivy was enjoyable and I really liked how she had gone from a normal, Victorian girl, to a time-hopping, space-faring friend of the Doctors. Incidentally Ivy was originally going to die in "The Lives of the Doctor" to draw a line under the Izzard-Doctor.

I feel a little bad for Alice because she never shone as much as she should have. I had a few ideas for her. I never intended on "killing" her off, but then added it as a twist with Tylaya taking her body. When I wrote it I intended for Alice to be dead forever, but then I toyed with the idea of Alice still being around. By the time she came back her story was over. She maybe would have continued with McAvoy, should Series 4 of Darkpaths have been made, but in the end I decided I'd screwed her up that much that I had to write her out.

The stories that didn't work for me where "Eye of the Jungle", which was too long, "The First Eleven" which was too repetitive, "Fall of the Eye", which kind of fell apart for me, "The Trees of Cologne", which never felt as epic as I wanted it to feel and "War of the Machines". They weren't bad stories, but I didn't "feel" them when I wrote them. My favourite stories were "The Ghosts of Winter", "Lock Down", "The Story of the Ancestors", "Reflections", "Before the Dawn" and my absolute favourite and most enjoyable to write, "Lost in Time".

What can we expect from Resurrection? Well, the McAvoy Doctor is very energetic and youthful. He
embraces life and enjoys the world around him. He's eager to move on and not hang around. His brush with death has made him more mindful of enjoying life and grabbing it by both horns. When we meet him he's travelling with a girl called Lilly Galloway ("played" by Evanna Lynch). They've been together for a while and the relationship and history between them is very much kept a secret until later in the series (no romance though!)
He then meets our new companion called Holly Dangerfield ("played" by Felicity Jones). Holly is an adventurous young woman and an ex-librarian. She purposely travels with the Doctor rather than tagging along for a different reason. He doesn't want her there, but she stows away and she also tries to work out who Lilly is. She's fun and intelligent and definitely enjoys travel in space and time.

We also have the Master coming back with his new-found powers, and a new face...

We have stories involving zombies, we have a return of the Mondasian Cybermen, we have the Doctor and co having to lead normal lives to track down an alien. We also have the return of the Master and a big, big finale involving Lilly.

So, that's it. It's been a lot of fun! This blog will be staying online, but the new series will start across on it's own blog which is located here:


Merry Christmas everyone, and here's to the future!

No comments:

Post a Comment