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October 30, 2014

Mekhi Phifer to Star in 'Doctor Who' Spinoff, 'Torchwood: The New World'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Dec 14th 2010 7:45AM
Mekhi PhiferAfter a tumultuous year of rumors about remakes and reboots, cancelations and crazy casting ideas, it seems as though things are finally coming together for Starz's 'Doctor Who' spinoff, 'Torchwood.'

First, it got a new name. To differentiate it from the first three, BBC-produced, seasons, Season 4 -- which is a joint production between Starz and the BBC -- will henceforth be known as 'Torchwood: The New World.'

Now we hear that 'ER' alum Mekhi Phifer has signed on to star as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson. According to deadline.com, Matheson is "a fast-tracked high-flyer with a lethal sense of humor who starts to feel his mortality when his life is put in danger." So, a possible replacement for previous 'Torchwood' fan favorite, mild-mannered Welsh police officer PC Andy Davidson, then?

Names previously linked with the role include 'Dollhouse' alum Enver Gjokaj and Chad Michael Murray from 'One Tree Hill.' Phifer joins original 'Torchwood' stars John Barrowman, who plays time-traveling ex-con man, Captain Jack Harkness, and Eve Myles, who plays ex-police officer Gwen Cooper. Gwen's husband Rhys (Kai Owens) and their baby are also rumored to be making an appearance. More characters are expected to be added, so stay tuned for updates.

And no, 'Torchwood: The New World' is not a remake or a reboot. It's a continuation of where Season 3, 'Torchwood: Children of Earth' left off. Showrunner Russell T. Davies clarified: "It's very much the next step. It's not a new version, it's not a reboot. We're simply moving countries."

It seems likely that along with the change in location and characters fans can expect some change in direction for the show. It remains to be seen if 'Torchwood' will maintain its often nihilistic sensibilities, or whether it will continue to explore same-sex relationships. Russell T. Davies -- who also created 'Queer As Folk' -- attracted acclaim and controversy in the UK over his decision to make the central male character, Captain Jack, bisexual (Barrowman is openly gay).

Davies has also added heavyweight names to the writing team, such as John Shiban ('Breaking Bad,' 'Supernatural,' 'The X-Files') and Jane Espenson ('Battlestar Galactica,' 'Buffy,' 'Game of Thrones'). Word is that Espenson has been tapped to write three episodes. The 10-episode Season 4 is slated to debut in the US next summer on Starz. (UK viewers will see it on the BBC.)

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