Sunday tends to be the lightest day of Comic-Con. The movie studios go home, and so do many fans who bought 3-day passes and fly out in the morning. But a "Doctor Who" 50th anniversary panel featuring Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and David Bradley (star of "An Adventure in Space and Time," an upcoming film about the origins of the franchise) made today's line for Hall H one of the longest and craziest of the Con. It should be a packed, delirious house for the Doctor, Clara and company. It's Matt Smith's farewell Con as the Doctor, as he'll be leaving after the Christmas special. The question is whether Moffat will announce his replacement in front of these 6000 American fans, or if he'll wait til he can announce it via a UK outlet.
As long as the wifi holds up, I'll be live-blogging the whole thing, so check back frequently for updates.
12:28 p.m.: Still a few minutes from starting, but the fans have already done one round of clapping to the rhythms of "The Sound of Drums." Hoping Jenna-Louise Coleman hasn't followed Karen Gillan's lead and shaved her head. A fan next to me has a very noisy sonic screwdriver.
12:32 p.m.: Fans just raised their sonic screwdrivers aloft in unison, like fans at a concert holding up their lighters (in the old days) or phones (now). Very cool.
12:35 p.m.: And we're underway with a montage of the 50 years of the series, from William Hartnell all the way to Matt Smith. Various lines about the TARDIS and time travel by the many Doctors have been mixed together into a hip-hop track by Eclectic Method. I'll just say that the Daleks are especially well-suited to this treatment.
12:36 p.m.: And here's our host, the awesomely Scottish Craig Ferguson. This should be fun. "Hello, sweeties!" he begins, quoting River Song. He admits some of the fans in the hall know the show more than him, but he's been a fan of the franchise for his whole life. Now he's quoting Amy's introductory monologue from the Gillan seasons. Promises, "If the right question is asked, the Silence will fall!" (Then jokes, "The people who are waiting for the 'Sons of Anarchy' panel right now are very confused.")
12:38 p.m.: The panelists come out, including Bradley, who is so evil on "Game of Thrones" and will be playing Hartnell in the TV-movie. Ferguson introduces Moffat as "the bastard who killed Amy and Rory!" Coleman, thankfully, has not shaved her head. Smith, however, is sporting a very un-Doctor-like buzz cut.
12:42 p.m.: Time for yet another history montage. David Tennant gets the loudest responses, and then we get a longer overview of Smith's time as the Eleventh Doctor. Fans are screaming, "Noooo!" as we see the Weeping Angels coming for Amy.
12:44 p.m: Now we've gotten a chunk of the Eleven/Clara partnership, with many loud squeals for the Doctor kissing River goodbye, followed by our brief glimpse of John Hurt as "the Doctor." New episodes return on November 23.
12:46 p.m.: The crowd yells out, "Thank you, Matt!" Smith thanks them in turn. (Ferguson: "Thanks you, 'Sons of Anarchy' fans!") Ferguson says he wasn't prepared for the sense of grief the Doctor went through over Amy and Rory. Moffat: "They died in their 80s. How much more merciful could I be?"
12:47 p.m.: Moffat says there's some sense of historical responsibility when you take over the show, but mainly you feel excited: "I get to do 'Doctor Who.' Even if I do it badly, that's pretty cool!" Says he's still a fan of it, "even though it wrecks every day of my year."
12:48 p.m.: Gatiss discussing the TV-movie, says the series' origin was a bunch of happy accidents, and a story he's wanted to tell for a long time. Bradley notes that he's old enough to remember the Hartnell years well, as he was already 20 at the time. Re: "Game of Thrones," Bradley jokes, "For some reason, the wedding invitations have dried up."
12:51 p.m.: The trailer for "An Adventure in Space and Time" looked impressive, including Brian Cox as a BBC executive. Similar period to "The Hour," and maybe even some of the same sets and costumes.
12:53 p.m.: Ferguson promises we'll get a 50th anniversary trailer soon. We're getting perilously close to trailer overload, especially since this is Smith's last time here as the Doctor.
12:54 p.m.: Smith calls this "the most fabulous journey" and hopes the Christmas special will be one of the best. "I'm determined to make it a real belter." Moffat says he's only on page 22.
12:55 p.m.: Ferguson brings up the frequent unresolved sexual tension between the Doctor and his female companions. He mentions the Rose/Ten chemistry, generating more squeals. Smith says each actor who plays the role comes to it with a different emotional background. Tennant was more swashbuckling with the ladies, while he tends to be more flummoxed. He says Clara challenges him in a different way from Amy, and, "I think he'd have a better chance of snogging Clara." Coleman thinks the Doctor is completely asexual, to protests from the audience.
12:56 p.m.: Moffat is pleading with the crowd not to post footage of the 50th anniversary trailer online, especially since fans ignored the similar warning in the "Sherlock" panel. Says if audio of this appears online, "There will be no more Comic-Con exclusives" for either show.
12:59 p.m.: Okay, that trailer was excellent, though it was hard to hear virtually any dialogue, given all the screaming anytime Tennant or Billie Piper appeared. Nice Tennant/Smith chemistry.