Behind the Scenes of Planet of the Dead - Part Five
Excerpts from Benjamin Cook’s set report in DWM 408:
On Valentine’s Day in the desert, what could possibly be more romantic than an oversized fly waving a gun at a lady in a catsuit? It’s hard to think of anything, isn’t it?
It’s our final day filming in the UAE [United Arab Emirates], and veteran Doctor Who monster performer Paul Kasey has arrived to play Sorvin the Tritovore. “The head is operated by remote control,” he explains, “which Neill [Gorton, prosthetics designer] is operating off camera.” Isn’t that disconcerting for Paul? “You get a sense of what’s happening. Over the years, I’ve begun to recognize the different motor sounds.”
So, Sorvin marches the Doctor and Christina, at gunpoint, toward his crashed Tritovore spaceship - presently a green screen pinned against the double-decker bus. “Can you still see where you’re going, Paul?” asks James [Strong, director]
But he can’t. “There’s your mark, Paul,” says David [Tennant], guiding his captor. “HEY, PAUL?!!!”
Meanwhile, just out of shot, Daniel Kaluuya [who plays Barclay] is relieving himself on a tuft of shrubbery. “I know I shouldn’t look,” giggles Victoria Alcock [who plays
Angela], “but I can’t help it.”
“I’m letting it grow, man,” insists Daniel. “Giving it a chance. They’ll call this the Kaluuya tree.”
David is more focused on his shades. “I’ve had my sunglasses on again,” he tells make-up man Steve Smith. The specs leave a slight mark on the bridge of his nose, requiring a retouch.
“Not again!” sighs Steve.
“Well, it’s bright,” David grins, “and I look cool in them.”
However, the sun soon starts setting. James wants to squeeze in one final shot: David and Michelle running down the hill, carrying the clamps from the Tritovore spaceship. On the take, Michelle trips, tumbling arse over tip. “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” she flinches, getting up and dusting herself down.
“She managed to make even that look dramatic and well-handled,” David points out.
“Phwoar, I wouldn’t mind being the sand beneath Michelle,” mutters someone who will remain nameless.
“I can’t believe how fast David runs,” Michelle admits, “but then I’m Lady Christina; the Doctor should be a bit faster than me. I guess she’s a fantasy figure, with her catsuit and backpack, but also she’s real in that she’s not flawless. She’s not Wonder Woman.”
You know, I really love all those ‘Earth is Space Australia’ ideas and humans as the super tough, super unflappable space badasses who can smile in the face of any danger and who will pet absolutely anything that mostly isn’t toxic and sits still long enough. I adore them. However, sometimes I do wonder … do aliens have phobias?
Because I can’t help thinking that somewhere in this future universe there’s the one human who went to space because spaceships are relatively sterile environments and therefore in space there are less bugs*. And then one day a guest comes onto the ship and their multilegged pet comes slithering out from under their fashionable collar and suddenly from the back of the shuttle bay there’s this high-pitched, hysterical screaming. And the alien crew turn around and there is their human, their badass, amazingly tough human, the one who managed to survive with half her leg torn off that one time long enough to make it back to medbay, the one who bluffed space pirates for a full half-cycle without so much as a quiver, the one who had to be forcibly restrained from petting the nine-foot slavering hregallar on Threlanix because apparently they were 'adorable babies’ … that human, their human, is suddenly clinging to the ceiling in blatant defiance of the ship’s artificial gravity and wailing her head off in absolute terror over a pathetic little xhilitin. The tiny, stupidly harmless insects that about sixteen species keep as pets because their jewelled carapaces are lovely and decorative and they’re so dumb and harmless that they’ll cheerfully sit on your hat as an ornament from here until infinity.
So the mildly shellshocked aliens try and calm their human down and they get her to medbay and they’re asking 'are the xhilitin on Earth dangerous?’, which, probably, apparently everything on Earth is deadly, but none of it has ever terrified their human before, and their absolutely mortified human is going 'no, well yes, some of them are, that’s not the point, it doesn’t matter if they’re dangerous or not, I just don’t fucking like them, okay, please never let one aboard ship again, i will love you forever and fight off a hundred pirates for you if you just keep the creepy leggy little fuckers the hell away from me, i’m so fucking serious right now, i am begging you’.
And she is absolutely deadly serious, and it makes no sense whatsoever, but suddenly the entire crew are 100% for never, ever letting xhilitin aboard the ship again. Because, well. She would fight off a hundred pirates for them, she has fought off a hundred pirates for them, she’s dragged herself back with half her leg torn off that one time after saving Lehm and Ehletol from the nine-foot slavering beasties she still thinks are adorable. There is no rational reason in the universe for her to be afraid of xhilitin, but it doesn’t matter, because she is, and that means this ship is suddenly a no-insect zone from now until forever.
Because hey, okay, humans are tough, humans are insane, humans come from Space Australia, but sometimes humans come with a couple of odd little quirks, sometimes they’re randomly terrified of ridiculously harmless things, and that’s okay. That’s okay. That just means that sometimes aliens get a chance to look out for their humans in return.
* please allow me my comforting illusions and do not inform me of how unsterile and full of bugs spaceships really are, okay, this is future sci-fi land where spaceships are clean and free of creepy crawlies and nobody needs to have nightmares
As I get older the younger the boys who fought and died in the wars I read about seem to be. When I first read Band of Brothers when I was seven years old, I thought that 19-20 years old was an adult age and they’d had plenty of world experience.
By the time I was that age I compared their lives to my own and realized, Jesus, these guys didn’t know anything and were going into battle. Now, despite not being much older than the older enlisted men or even officers, I do look back and realize just how young all these brave people were, their life extinguished before it really started.
I am still writing ageswap au, hopefully now with more bonding with Anakin and Obi-Wan, but
this morning I was thinking of the similar-age au, where Dooku trains Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon trains Anakin, and slowly coming to realize that given Dooku’s motivations in training Obi-Wan and how that would effect Qui-Gon’s training of Anakin -
this Obi-Wan is going to an anxious, high-strung mess. It’s kind of like Obi!whump, especially given the current direction for it, which is Anakin recklessly moving to rescue their parallel selves and necessitating Anakin and Obi-Wan fucking off from the Order. Because Anakin is basically the only positive attachment Obi-Wan has in this fic, so naturally if Anakin fucks off then Obi-Wan is fucking off with him. Cue fights between the padawans and Obi-Wan having various panic and anxiety attacks.
(Ever since JA #7, The Captive Temple, I can’t unsee Obi-Wan having panic attacks. It’s one of the few things I approved of tbh, given that Obi-Wan by all rights should be a wreck after Melida/Daan.)
I had thoughts that it would escalate to the point that Dooku comes to hunt them down, unforgiving as always, and Obi-Wan would try to tell the others to escape and that he would face/stop his Master (chanting the Code to stave off yet another panic attack) only for the alternate universe selves to be like “wow no, we’re adults/a master and a knight??? Give us your lightsabers and we’ll fight Dooku” which is … literally almost the first time that anyone has ever stepped forward to protect Obi-Wan.
(could hilariously be a situation where knight!Anakin becomes Super Over Protective over P!Obi [much to his former master’s amusement but overall approval given what a fucking wreck this kid is] and starts coaching P!Anakin on the Care and Feeding of Obi-Wans [P!Ani gives him a look like “u think im a fukken amateur or wot m8″])
At this point, basically Obi-Wan and Anakin would have to Leave The Order Forever, even after getting their alternate selves back home. Qui-Gon might (successfully) hunt them down and grudgingly in his own way make sure they’re taken care of, given that this is his Chosen One who is loudly refusing to go anywhere without Obi-Wan. Possibly he directs them toward someone he knows that will help get them on their feet.
Anakin is a bit taken aback because his master is being weirdly supportive??? but Qui-Gon fucking remembers what it’s like training under Dooku. He can’t approve of what Obi-Wan and Anakin have done, but he understands it.
Besides, the two of them might some day turn out to be gr8 contacts or something, no point in completely burning bridges.
this au was actually supposed to have a well-adjusted Obi-Wan, who was perhaps even less emotionally available than canon Obi, but was pretty good at lawyering himself into doing the Right Thing and Loopholing it so that the Right Thing was the Rational/Jedi Thing to do. Then I gave Dooku’s motivations for taking him on too much thought and made myself sad :(
⚡️ The boy who lived (AU Trailer) I was bored today so I made this in a few hours, and I hope it’s gonna make you laugh as much as I did while I edited it. 😂
P.s I added the Snowbarry kiss after the “You’re the boy who lived” quote, because he’s actually the only one who survived a Caitlin kiss (considering what happens to all the men she dates
😂 Maybe it’s destiny?
okay so i have a theory for the season finale, bearing in mind what we learned from the latest stevenbomb, and that i am a supporter of the white pearl theory. i apologise in advance for the length, spoilers for latest stevenbomb are under the cut: