Doctor Who Nearly Changed Forever By Horror Icon

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

new doctor who

While Doctor Who has been a pop culture phenomenon since it premiered in 1963, it’s fair to say the show wouldn’t have such a huge modern fanbase if not for the 2005 relaunch of the series. The premiere episode “Rose” established a new kind of Doctor and a new kind of Companion, all while setting a tone (somewhere between action and comedy) that would attract a new kind of viewer. The episode was a success, but both it and the Doctor Who franchise as a whole were nearly changed forever because this ep was almost directed by horror icon Edgar Wright.

Edgar Wright

scott pilgrim

Even those who have never watched an episode of Doctor Who should be very familiar with Edgar Wright. He’s the talented director behind such films as Scott Pilgrim and Last Night in Soho (which starred Matt Smith, incidentally). However, it was the director’s first feature film, the hilarious and unforgettable Shaun of the Dead, which made him into a modern horror icon.

Wright Was Offered The Premiere

Before he was making some of the most stylish feature films, the director was friends with the Doctor Who showrunner Russel T. Davies; the two were basically in the same line of work, with Edgar Wright previously serving as director for the quirky British sci-fi sitcom Spaced. Based on both their friendship and Wright’s extensive experience directing sci-fi television, Davies offered Wright the amazing opportunity to direct “Rose,” the first episode of modern Doctor Who.

Sadly, the premiere Doctor Who episode wasn’t directed by Edgar Wright, though director Keith Boak did a perfectly solid job. Still, the fact that we nearly had a visionary horror icon bring modern Who to life has captivated fans from the beginning. It’s become something of a legend among fans of the franchise, and like most legends, some of the details have gotten mixed up over the years.

Promoting The Dead

doctor who edgar wright

The story you will hear from most Doctor Who fans is that Edgar Wright declined the offer to direct “Rose” because he was busy filming Shaun of the Dead, his first feature film. However, in a later interview with Inverse, the director revealed that it wasn’t his movie shooting schedule that kept him from directing Doctor Who. Instead, he declined because directing that ep would have kept him from promoting the film, and as Wright said, “I wouldn’t have missed the Shaun of the Dead press tour for the world.”

He Has An Open Invite

doctor who edgar wright

If that first modern Doctor Who episode had been directed by Edgar Wright, it could have changed the future of the franchise. However, fans might very well get to see him leave his mark on the series now that Russel T. Davies is the showrunner again. In an interview with GQ, Davies confirmed that he would love to have Wright direct an episode in the future, cheekily noting “If he’s reading GQ please get him to do it” and “I love him.”

The Running Man

doctor who edgar wright

Before he can bring any Doctor Who episodes to life, Edgar Wright will need to complete his remake of the seminal Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Running Man, one he hopes will be closer in spirit to the original Stephen King novel. That could, however, be good practice for finally entering into the world of Doctor Who. After all, does anybody understand running for his life while being chased by colorful bad guys quite like the Doctor?