Tagged: BBC

John Ostrander: Quo Vadis the TARDIS

Ostrander Art 130609The Beeb announced this week that Matt Smith, the current actor playing the Doctor on Doctor Who, its long running (50 years!) SF series, will be leaving the show with the Christmas Special this year. For those of you living outside the Whovian time-space continuum, the Doctor is a time traveling alien who can regenerate entirely at points of mortality. Different face, different body, largely different personality, completely different actor in the role. They’ve done this eleven times so far so, in general, they have the procedure down pat.

I’ve seen some interesting speculations as to who will be the next Doctor. While usually the actor cast as the Doctor is not so well known, a names of a lot of well known actors are being currently tossed around by that mysterious series of tubes running underground known as the Internet. Hugh Laurie, best known as Doctor House here in America was one name mentioned and I think he would be very highly entertaining. I’ve seen Mr. Laurie in any number of different roles and he was marvelous in all of them. I don’t think the Beeb can afford his salary but it’s still interesting to think what might happen.

I read an interview where Helen Mirren had voiced a desire to the play the Doctor. Could the Doctor change into a woman? In the first episode that Neil Gaiman wrote for Doctor Who, “The Doctor’s Wife”, the Doctor mentions in passing a fellow time-lord who did regenerate into a woman so we have to take it as a possibility. Dame Helen Mirren has done a switched character before when she played Prospera, a female version of the character Prospero, in Julie Taymor’s movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. If she could do that, I have a feeling she could do the Doctor with no problem.

At one point before Matt Smith was cast as the current Doctor, Idris Elba’s name was bounced around as a candidate for the role. Elba is a fine actor who happens to be black; some Americans will know him as the title character on the BBC series Luther while others might know him as the character Heimdall in 2011’s Thor, a fact that cheesed off some Aryan neo-Nazi types who whined that Heimdall was supposed to be white. Mr. Elba has tremendous strengths as an actor and incredible charisma; I would love to see what he would do rattling around in the TARDIS.

Especially interesting to me is that the last two candidates are very non-traditional approaches to the character of the Doctor. I think that would invigorate the show. For example, I would love to see Helen Mirren’s Doctor meeting River Song or, for that matter, Captain Jack Harkness. You could argue that  a show that’s hit 50 can use some fresh air and a dusting away of the cobwebs.

One person who will not be playing the Doctor, I can predict with some certainty, is – me. Not for want of trying. Years ago, during my acting days, the part I most wanted to play was the Doctor. I realized back then that the odds of an unknown American actor living in Chicago would ever be cast in the part were in the infinity range.

However, I was part of a vibrant Chicago theater scene – I was not only an actor but I had been a writer, a director, and a producer. What about the odds of my putting on an all-new Doctor Who play in Chicago? I could cast myself in the part and I knew the mythos well enough, I felt, to write a convincing new adventure.

Long and short, I did try and I very nearly succeeded – although I couldn’t get the part of the Doctor which explains part of the reason why I left acting far behind. I mean, if I couldn’t even get the part I wanted in a play that I has written and was producing, that was the epitome of futility, wasn’t it?

The play never got produced although we got close but all that will have to be a column for another day. One lasting thing did happen as a result of all that – I met and got to know Kimberly Ann Yale, my late wife.

And the Doctor was partially to thank for that. Thanks, Doc.




Matt Smith leaving “Doctor Who” at Christmas, Internet asks for tissue

Matt Smith as the Eleventh DoctorThe BBC announced officially this weekend that Matt Smith, current star of Doctor Who, will be leaving the series in the Christmas episode.

Both Matt and showrunner Steven Moffat have already been quoted heaping glowing praise on each other, and rightly so.  Doctor Who fandom has already kicked into overdrive, showering tumblr and other blog pages with a deluge of tribute graphics, please to remain, and other spontaneous eruptions of raw emotion.

Doctor Who fans will now once again pass through the seven stages of grief, a process that some have never experienced, being new to the show, some have already seen once or twice, or for older fans (raises hand), seven, eight, or as many as eleven times.

One of the most amazing things about Doctor Who is this process of regeneration.  While other actors have been replaced on television shows, Doctor Who invented a process that made it a part of the narrative.  Time Lords, the Doctor’s people, have the ability to completely rejuvenate themselves in times of extreme trauma, completely reborn, with a new body and a new personalty.  It allows the show to not only move on past the departure of its star, but forge into brand new directions.

Along with the regeneration process will be an equally traditional series of events:

The news media will kick the rumor mills into high gear – Names will be floated, denials will be made, and actors will play coy, taking advantage of the publicity to get their name in the sun.

The betting will begin – Gambling is legal in the UK, and the local bookies have traditionally taken wagers on the identity of the new Doctor.  And the aforementioned media will report the current oddsmaking, as if it has some connection to reality. As in the rumor mill, new names will emerge and rise and fall in the rankings, and it’ll be a delight to watch.Unless you’ve put money down, in which case it’ll be harrowing.

The discussions about making The Doctor a woman will re-emerge – So too making him black, or Asian, or any of the other “types” of people a character can be.  Both Mike Gold and Yr obt svt. have discussed the recurring meme, more about the fervor and hysteria around it.

The fans will swear blind it will never be as good as (insert name here) – Nothing is ever as good as what you have now, or if you are older (just leaves hand in air), than what you had when you were younger.  Each Doctor was perfect, and nobody can ever replace him, until about five minutes into the first new episode when the new guy grabs you and rubs your tummy with his acting and makes you forget the last guy’s name for a moment.  The show will careen off in a new direction, just like a trip in the TARDIS itself, and the trip will be thrilling and terrifying, and ultimately satisfying.

Someone’s life will never be the same again – Moffat has it right – “Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor“.  The show was popular during its original run, but now it’s dead center in popular culture, and the person selected to play The Doctor will shoot  to super-stardom before a frame’s been shot.  Matt Smith has already taken advantage of the opportunities the role has afforded him – he’s currently filming Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut How to Make a Monster, and plans to direct himself.

With six months to go before the final Smith adventure airs, and several weeks before it starts filming, fandom will be filled with many emotions, a rampant desire to learn new details, and will spent a great deal of time trying to separate reality from fantasy.  Moffat and the BBC will begin the arduous process of choosing the actor to entrust with their golden franchise (if, indeed, they haven’t already started…or even finished), all the time trying to ride the line between keeping it all a secret and letting just enough details slip to keep the media hungry.

There may be an important wrinkle to the new Doctor’s story that may take the show in a dramatic direction.  Matt’s Doctor is the eleventh regeneration, but events at the end of the final episode of the series suggest that there’s one more to be accounted for.  John Hurt was revealed to be playing The Doctor as well, and fans has surmised he may be (have been) a regeneration between Eight (Paul McGann) and Nine (Christopher Eccleston).  If so, even though Matt’s calls himself the eleventh Doctor, he’d be the twelfth…and the next one would be the thirteenth.  According to the show’s history, a Time Lord can only regenerate twelve times, for a total of thirteen bodies, which would make the next Doctor…the last.

Which will likely never occur.  Russell T. Davies has already said that when the time to get around that little plot device that seemed SO far away when they came up with it decades ago, “I’m sure someone will wave the Amulet of Zog and sort it all out”.  But it’ll be the process to get to that eventual happy end that will make the show all the more exciting,.

Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Rumor mill

In a absence of fact, rumor and Clever Theories rush in to fill the vacuum.  And considering the security surrounding The 50th anniversary Doctor Who adventure, and the ravenous hunger of the public for details, there’s no doubt the media is falling over itself to deliver any snippet it can, real or imagined.

So far the actual facts are few and far between.

It will be broadcast in 3-D Whether or not there will be any cinematic presentations in that format is unkown, but wouldn’t be a bad idea.

We know of only one other Doctor who will appear – namely David Tennant, with Billie Piper returning as Rose Tyler.  No news on from what point of his history this even will take place, however, though based on their costuming, it’s a fair bet Tennant is playing the proper Doctor and not “Doctor Two”, the one from Pete’s world.

The Zygons are back – publicity photos confirm this. However, Robert Banks Stewart, writer of Terror of the Zygons (not to mention The Seeds of Doom), confirmed he gave permission to use the baddies, and claims in this interview that the Daleks and Cybermen will appear as well.  His data source is suspect, and none of either baddie have been sighted on location.

Jemma Redgrave will be back as Kate Stewart, the new head of UNIT.  Other guest stars include John Hurt and Joanna Page, “Stacey” from Gavin and Stacey, in which James Corden was Gavin.

Christopher Eccleston will not appear – He’s stated, and the BBC has confirmed that while he talked to Moffat about a return to the series, he has chosen against it.  Now there’s every possibility that’s a clever lie, intended to keep a surprise a secret. But one must know when to fish, and when to cut bait, so considering Eccleston’s reticence to stay with Who any longer than he did, it’s fairly safe to presume this is the truth.

None of the earlier Doctors will be back either – Colin Baker, Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy all confirmed at a convention in New Zealand that none of them had been approached.  McGann still help out hope for a last-minute call, commenting he was used to being called on Wednesday for a part that began on Thursday.  But one thinkg they all agree on is that Lord of the Rings auteur Peter Jackson would make a stellar Who director.  Jackson whimsically commented in earlier interviews that he’d love to do an episode, even refusing payment, saying he’d accept a Dalek in lieu of a check.  While I’m sure the BBC would love to have this happen, but there’s certainly nothing in the cards

Those are the facts at hand.  Everything from this point on is merely the reportage of various rumors, dreams and outright cockeyed flumdummery from the media.

The roles Hurt and Page are playing are unknown, but theories abound.  Based on her costume at the various location shootings, some believe Page may be playing Queen Elizabeth the first, a character who has been alluded to in past episodes, most notoriously when The Doctor implied that her sobriquet of The Virgin Queen was not  (any longer) the case.

John Hurt’s role is unknown as well, but the fans are ready with a clever theory.  There are those who suggest that he is a new incarnation of The Doctor, having taken place between McGann’s and Eccleton’s.  This is possibly sprouting from this picture of John Hurt from the filmnig, wearing an outfit somewhat reminiscent of both actors’ costumes.  Whatever he’s playing, he’s dedicated to the part – he left early from a party in his honor over the weekend to ensure he made first call in Cardiff the next day

The past Doctors may appear virtually – The latest rumor bouncing about is that Doctor Who may take a page from Star trek, specifically Deep Space Nine’s adventure Trials and Tribbleations The UK’s Daily Star (not exactly a paper of record, but still) reports that the BBC may be planning to digitally insert matt Smith into episodes from past Doctors’ eras in the same way they inserted the DS9 cast onto Space Station K-7 in The Trouble With Tribbles.  This wouldn’t be the first time they did something similar – Matt appeared dancing with Laurel and Hardy on Amy and Rory’s TV in The Impossible Astronaut, which may well be where the rumor got its start.

The BBC are keeping as tight a lid on the details of the episode as possible for obvious reasons. Matt Smith has reported it’s a wonderful story, but shared no details.  On Jonathan Ross, David Tennant suggested “paintings” may be involved in the story in some way.

As a rule, one must use the first rule of the internet when analyzing the various “news” you will hear over the next few months – “Pictures, or it didn’t happen.”


New Who Companion To Be Selected “Idol”-Style


Riding the wave of major West End productions being cast by popular vote on television, the BBC announced today that the next co-star for the popular science-fiction program Doctor Who will be selected on a new reality show talent competition.

The show, “No Xenon Impact” (An anagram of “Next Companion”) will be executive produced by Caro Skinner and Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the format of his reality show “How do you solve a problem like Maria?“, which cast the lead of the Sound of Music revival. The show will be co-hosted by John “Captain Jack” Barrowman and long-time Doctor Who fan and guest-star David Walliams.

DW Showrunner Steven Moffat admitted he was first “hesitant” at the idea, but admitted “It gives the show a mad new challenge – The Doctor never knows who his new friends will be, and now neither will we.”

The show will premiere on May 25th, a week after the second half of the current series of Doctor Who ends, and will run for six weeks.  Contestants (eight female, four male) will be drilled weekly on their acting and improv skill, their knowledge of the program, and what Walliams describes as “A whole lot of running.” Contestants will be voted on weekly by the viewing audience, and a different “guest alien” who “Exterminate” one or two hopefuls live on the program. Matt Smith and current companion (already confirmed to be returning for the eighth series) Jenna-Louise Coleman have agreed to appear for the series finale, where Matt will present a key to the TARDIS to the lucky winner.

Filming for the new eighth series of Doctor Who has yet to be scheduled; it is believed by many that this competition has been in the planning for some time, and the eighth series production has been scheduled to accommodate it.

David Tennant, Billie Piper in Doctor Who 50th

David-Billie-billie-piper-and-david-tennant-27911403-250-400Announced just hours before the series premiere this evening, the BBC confirmed the first casting information for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, and they started big.  David Tennant will make his return to the series, as will Billie Piper, reprising her role as Rose.

Tennant’s Doctor regenerated into Matt Smith on January 1, 2010; Billie was last seen in a cameo as Rose on the same adventure.  Rose left the Doctor two years previous, on “Pete’s World” a parallel Earth, in the company of a human clone of The Doctor, created as a result of the fight with the Daleks in The Stolen Planet / Journey’s End.  At this point, there’s no definite verification whether Tennant will return as The (original) Doctor or his Pete’s World clone.

Also announced as a member of the cast is John Hurt, British acting icon with quite a long resume in genre work, including Merlin, V For Vendetta, Elephant Man, Harry Potter, and 1984.

Tennant and Piper have spent much of the past months denying vehemently and whimsically their appearance in the series. David reported in a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show that a representative arrived backstage to remind him not to talk about the special, “…and I don’t even know anything!”

Other actors associated with the show have been equally reticent about their appearance, and the few that have dropped tidbits have been rapped on the proverbial knuckles.  John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) announced that he was “talking” to the BBC to appear, only to have to retract that comment, followed by a tweet some weeks later stating definitively that he would not be appearing.

Filming for the new special begins this week, directed by Nick Hurran and written by Steven Moffat.  Odds are that news of additional casting will filter out over the next weeks, either officially or via the hordes of fans which will certainly descend on each location shoot.

John Ostrander: Revamp, Reinterpret, Regenerate, Reinvigorate

Ostrander Art 130303There’s been a lot of pushing the reset button in pop culture recently and I find the results interesting. J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek franchise a few years back and, while some fans complained, I think it was successful. Certainly it was financially successful, which is what the Hollywood moguls really care about.

At the start of Daniel Craig’s run, the James Bond movies were also rebooted, culminating in the recent spectacular Skyfall, which – again this may be heresy to some – was the best Bond film ever. It’s visually stunning and takes Bond himself to greater depths and heights than I’ve seen up until now.

Sherlock Holmes has been reinterpreted into the modern age with two versions, the BBC’s magnificent Sherlock and Elementary on CBS. Both are true to the basics and it’s amazing how well the classic fictional detective gibes with modern times.

Of course, we’ve witnessed DC’s rebirth with the New 52. Again, you can argue as to whether it is artistically successful but I don’t think you can argue that it hasn’t been financially successful thus far. This summer will see a movie rebooting of Superman with Man of Steel. The Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy rebooted that cinematic history as The Amazing Spider-man did with that character’s movie version. X-Men: First Class reimagined Marvel’s mutants and so on. The next Star Wars chapter and the announced Star Wars solo films, while they will undoubtedly respect the previous movies, will probably play hob with what is known as the Extended Universe, the complex continuity that has sprung up around the films via novels, comics, games and more. Depending on how they turn out, that may not be a bad idea.

All my professional comic book writing career, I’ve played with and enjoyed continuity. I respect it but I don’t worship it and I don’t think it is cast in stone. Sometimes, continuity becomes like barnacles on the bottom of a boat and need to be scraped off in order to make the boat (or the franchise) sea/see worthy again.

One of the most successful franchises is the BBC’s Doctor Who and part of its longevity (it celebrates 50 years this year) is its ability to change the actor who is playing the Doctor. It’s built into the series; the Doctor is an alien being who regenerates from time to time into virtually a new character, played by a different actor. The new Doctor doesn’t look, act, dress or sound like any of the other incarnations. The re-invention is a part of the continuity and that’s very clever.

I think this is very healthy; characters and concepts can and should be re-examined and re-imagined for the times in which they appear. They have to speak to and reflect concerns that its current public has if they are going to remain vital and alive.

Can it be overdone or badly done? Absolutely. Some remakes get so far from what the character is about that they might as well be a different character altogether. You want to take a look at the essence of the character, what defines them, and then see how you get back to that, interpreting it for current audiences. Some folks revamp something for the sake of revamping or to put their stamp on the character. I don’t think that usually works very well. Change what needs changing, certainly, but be true to the essentials of the character or concept.

Have I always done that? I don’t think so; when I was given Suicide Squad, I didn’t go back to the few stories that were originally published and work from that. I created a new concept for the title. However, I did reference the old stories and kept them a part of continuity, albeit re-interpreting them. I think we played fair with the old stories.

On The Spectre, Tom Mandrake and I took elements from as many past versions of the character as we could while getting down to what we felt were the essentials. Really, our biggest change was not the Spectre himself but his alter-ego, Jim Corrigan. Originally, he was plainclothes detective in the 30s and our version reflected that. I think that was a key to our success.

Even with my own character GrimJack, after a certain point I drop kicked the character at least 100 years down his own timeline into (shades of the Doctor) a new incarnation. I gave him a new supporting cast and the setting changed as well. It made the book and the character fresh again and made me look at it with new eyes.

The old stories will continue to exist somewhere; they just won’t be part of the new continuity. At some point, that new continuity will be changed as well as the concepts and characters are re-interpreted for a newer audience. That way they’ll remain fresh and alive. Otherwise, they’ll just become fossilized and dead. Who wants that?




Richard E. Grant returning to Doctor Who in second half of seventh season

In BBC America’s press release discussing the second half of the seventh season of Doctor Who (premiering March 30th), a number of guest stars were listed, including Dougray Scott, Warwick Davis, Dame Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachel Stirling. But one name listed may be a big clue to the season’s Big Bad.

Richard E. Grant, who appeared in the Christmas episode, The Snowmen, will be returning in the season’s eight episode run.  Grant played Dr. Walter Simeon, head of the Great Intelligence Institute and mastermind behind a plan to take over the world with an army of animated ice creatures.  The Great Intelligence, the disembodied life force  who allied with Simeon (and voiced by Sir Ian McKellen), was a Who villain from the Troughton days, with appearances in many of the other media adventures, and a cameo in the 20th anniversary adventure The Five Doctors.

BBC America would not confirm the character Grant will play in his return, but the rumors that the Great Intelligence would make a further appearance in the series certainly gives one reason to suspect that we’ve not seen the last of Dr. Simeon.

The Teaser photo, released yesterday by the BBC, offers numerous teasers about the new series, including our first look at The Spoonheads, the monster from the premiere episode, The Bells of St John, the first to be broadcast in 3-D.. Also featured are the Ice Warriors, returning via a story by Mark Gatiss, and the redesigned Cybermen from Neil Gaiman’s second DW adventure.

The series will also feature Jenna-Louise Coleman, and hopefully provide more information how the same woman with the same name could appear in three different times; the far future of Asylum of the Daleks, the Victorian age in The Snowmen, and modern day Britain.

Doctor Who premieres March 30th on the BBC, and on BBC America, as part of their “Supernatural Saturday” lineup.

League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith playing Patrick Troughton in 50th anniversary Doctor Who special

Additional casting for the 50th anniversary Doctor Who special An Adventure in Space and Time has been trickling out slowly as filming has proceeded.  Today it was revealed that the role of the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, will be played by Reece Shearsmith, a member of the surreal comedy team The League of Gentlemen. The team also includes Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss, who wrote the anniversary adventure.

Reece Shearsmith

Reece Shearsmith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I first asked Reece 12 years ago when I started thinking about this project.” Gatiss was quoted in the Mirror. “We were in the midst of League of Gentlemen and I just remember thinking, if anyone plays Patrick Troughton, it should be Reece. Like the Second Doctor, he’s small, saturnine and a comic genius. The complete package. He thought it was a fantastic idea and I’ve kind of nurtured it all this time.”

While the team have been long-time fans of the series, Reece is the only member of the League not to have made an appearance in the returned show.  In addition to writing several episodes for the new series, Mark Gatiss played Dr. Lazarus in The Lazarus Experiment, voiced one of the Spitfire pilots in his episode Victory of the Daleks, and was almost unrecognizable under makeup (and a pseudonym) as Gantok in The Wedding of River Song.  Steve Pemberton played Strackman Lux in the Moffat-penned two-parter Silence in the Library / The Forest of the Dead.

While he’d not made it to the big game till now, Reece’s history with Doctor Who is quite long indeed.  His first professional acting credit is with the fan-produced Doctor Who Homage series P.R.O.B.E. a production written by Gatiss.  The show attempted to pay homage to Doctor Who, even casting many classic Who actors like Caroline John (playing her Who role of Liz Shaw) and several Doctors including Peter Davison.

An Adventure in Space and Time is a dramatization of the creation of Doctor Who, centering mostly on the show during the early years, and the growing professional relationship between first Doctor William Hartnell and the show’s producer Verity Lambert.  It will be one of the last productions to be produced in the original BBC Television Centre, where the original series was filmed,  before the property is redeveloped.  David Bradley (Argus Filch from the Harry Potter films) will play Hartnell, and Call the Midwife‘s Jessica Raine will portray Verity Lambert.

Second “Doctor Who” anniversary e-book by Michael Scott

The BBC and Puffin books are continuing the monthly releases celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. The second adventure, starring the second Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) will be titled The Nameless City, written by Michael Scott, author of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

The synopsis promises new adventures and a new foe for The Doctor:

“When Jamie McCrimmon brings the Doctor a mysterious book, little does he realise the danger contained within its pages. The book transports the TARDIS to a terrifying glass city on a distant world, where the Archons are intent on getting revenge on the Time Lord for an ancient grudge.”

Apparently featuring Jamie as The Doctor’s Sole companion, it is likely this adventure takes place in the fan-theorized “Season 6B”, a period of time after the events of Troughton’s last adventure The War Games, but before the first Pertwee adventure, Spearhead from Space.  Many fans, including now Who writer Paul Cornell, surmised that for a period of time, the Time Lords  had The Doctor perform certain tasks for them, before his eventual regeneration.  The Tardis Data Core wiki has a good run-down of the theory, which has effectively been accepted into continuity by the BBC.

The book will be released on 2/23, and can be pre-ordered via Amazon.com.

Doctor Who’s new TARDIS revealed!


After a couple of teaser photos, the BBC has released a shot of the new TARDIS interior, to premiere in the upcoming Christmas episode, The Snowmen.  Featuring a much more sleek design, it’s much  more like the old school sets, that, to quote Arthur Dent, “really looks like a spaceship”.  The TARDIS from the TV movie on has looked more like a bachelor’s apartment, with everything thrown in, and patched up with random bits of junk.  However, in a cut scene from The Doctor’s Wife, It’s explained that the TARDIS console is itself under the aegis of the chameleon circuit.  It’s not made of junk, it’s made out of very high-tech components that look like junk.

The basic design of the control has not changed much.  There’s still a railing around the perimeter, and what looks like a multi-level setup again.  The additional console to the rear is new, but not entirely so.  The Hartnell and Troughton control rooms had panels and console along the back and side walls, which eventually vanished as the control room grew more simple, and action was centered around the main console.

So why does it look all high-tech again?  I have what might be considered a Clever Theory.

If I may take a comment from Time Crash literally, this may be the TARDIS’ “default” desktop setting.  This is what an off-the-rack TARDIS looks like inside.

This is the TARDIS of a guy who doesn’t care anymore.

There’s the remotest of possibilities this may not be “the new set”, but just a temporary one, until The Doctor becomes more his old self again.  It looks a bit…simpler, certainly more sparse that the current one.  It may not be intended to be kept long-term.

New companion Jenna-Louise Coleman mentioned liking the new console in an interview with CNN, discussing “these new kind-of rolly balls” which is an out of context statement if you ever heard one, and even lets slip that she gets to fly the TARDIS at one point, tho it’s not made clear if this takes place in the Christmas episode, or further down the line.

Other surprises for the Christmas episode includes news that Ian McKellen will be voicing the titular baddie, although rumors and whispered spoilers suggest he may be voicing another character, one who may carry through as an antagonist through the second half of the season.  The…force behind the snowmen, if you will.