Wizard World is a comic book, celebrity, gaming, and nerd culture event that springs up in multiple cities across the U.S. every year. I attended the Austin Wizard World, September 21-23 at the Austin Convention Center. So did Doctor Who. Two of him.
Although the event was dedicated to all kinds of pop culture, with plenty of cosplay everywhere, the most common dress/shirt I saw was emblazoned with a TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space). Doctor Who (and other Time Lords) uses this time- and space-bending version of a British telephone booth as an intergalactic RV.
Two of the actors who have portrayed the Gallifreyan Time Lord attended Wizard World Austin: David Tennant and Peter Capaldi. I attended Tennant’s talk and fan Q&A with hundreds of his fans.
No Shoes, But Sox and Service
Tennant ran out onto the stage to the screams of his fans in one of the larger Austin Convention Center auditoriums. He took questions from both the Wizard World moderator and the audience, but mostly the audience and especially little kids.
“When you were a wee lad,” the first questioner asked, “did you have your sights set on acting?”
“Kind of. I wasn’t weirdly focused on it,” he said, “but I watched shows on TV and had a conversation with my parents. I observed that the people on TV were pretending and thought that was cool.”
Tennant, born in 1971, admitted that growing up, Doctor Who was one of his favorites. “It was my Saturday tea-time treat,” Tennant recalled. “It’s weird to grow up with posters on the wall of a show, and then you’re the focus of it. It’s one of those shows that even people who don’t watch it, know about it. That comes with good and bad, but I wouldn’t change any of it. It does affect how you go to the supermarket, though.”
He said he was also a big fan of The Incredible Hulk and that passing Lou Ferrigno in the exhibit hall earlier that day was a treat. “I’ve come to Wizard World and it’s like the geeks have won. I feel very empowered by that,” he explained.
Then, in honor of Austin’s unofficial slogan – Keep Austin Weird – he took his shoes off. Despite urging from fans, the socks stayed on.
His Doctor Who
“The show went off when I was in drama school,” he recalled. “When it came back, I thought how wonderful it would be for my eight-year-old self if I could just be in one episode.”
A fan asked him how he thought he had changed the character.
“Well, I wore a hat more,” he said. “Also, I found a stethoscope on the set and worked that into a few shows. And the shoes. I had this old pair of Converse that I brought to the set.”
Another fan inquired about who made the decision for him to lose his Scots accent and speak with a posh British voice.
Tennant explained that he had been working with Russell T. Davies on the 2005 series Casanova, which is credited with making Tennant a star. He explained: “Casanova was kind of my audition for Doctor Who. The accent was never a big heavy-handed thing. Russell had this voice in his head. We never tussled about it. It was always just what we were going to do.”
Mickey Mouse and Hamlet
As a slight change of pace, Tennant has been playing Scrooge McDuck on the current version of DuckTales. He enjoys it. “As a kid, I never got to go to Disneyland,” Tennant recalled. “A friend would get to go and I would think, ‘Wow, you got to go to the fairy land of America and see Mickey Mouse.’ So now I love being part of DuckTales and I get to go to Disneyland. My favorite ride is California Screaming because it’s a giant old roller coaster.”
A fan asked Tennant where he would go if he really had a TARDIS that could fly through time and space.
He made very British choices. “First I would go to the old Globe Theater and see the first performance of Hamlet,” he said. “Then I would go to the Cavern Club and see the Beatles before they were the Beatles. And I’d sign them to a contract.”
What’s next for Tennant? In mid-October fans will get to see him on Camping, a limited series sitcom on HBO. No TARDIS, however, just regular RVs. You can watch Tennant and co-star Jennifer Garner in the trailer, below.
Photos by author unless otherwise noted.