Doctor Who: Returns of River Song and Jack Harkness are “never closed off” says Steven Moffat

But the characters' comebacks would have to be "seismic," says the showrunner

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“Seismic” returns for River Song and Captain Jack Harkness would be the only way the deceased Doctor Who characters could come back to the show says Steven Moffat – but he’s not ruling it out. 

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Alex Kingston’s charismatic (or annoying, depending on your point of view) River Song last made an appearance in 2013 episode The Name of the Doctor as some kind of enigmatic computer projection and hasn’t been seen yet during Peter Capaldi’s tenure. John Barrowman’s flirty Captain Jack Harkness, however, has been missing from Doctor Who since 2010’s The End of Time, where he was seen drowning his sorrows after the events of Torchwood: The Children of Earth in an intergalactic bar. 

Moffat told Zap2it that the characters’ return is, “never, ever closed off. It’s all about ‘Do you have a story that’s worth it?’ Unless you’ve got a story that is absolutely informed and invigorated by their presence, just bringing a character back in an ordinary story won’t do. Both River Song and Jack Harkness are massive characters in Doctor Who mythology. Their returns would have to be seismic, not routine.”

In terms of River Song, Moffat’s comment is a slight change from what he said in Doctor Who Magazine earlier this year, which was, “My immediate instinct was that story’s probably done. Not that we saw all of it, but I never thought we should see all of it. I’m slightly tempted, because I imagine Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston would be absolutely hilarious together…”

Moffat’s new comments will come as welcome news to John Barrowman, however, who didn’t sound very optimistic when asked about Jack’s return earlier this year. 

“When somebody comes in and takes over from the team that were there when you were there they tend to cut a lot of stuff and go in their direction,” he told Magic FM. “If you’re not in that plan then there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s a BBC decision, it’s not my decision. I would love to do it, but I might never be on Doctor Who or Torchwood again.

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Fingers crossed, John.