The end of the Peter Capaldi era of Doctor Who is rapidly approaching with the debut of The Christmas Episode entitled “Twice Upon a Time.” Christmas Day marks the time for The Doctor’s regeneration and fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 13th incarnation of the beloved character. While Season 10 faced mixed reviews, Season 11 looks promising with the confirmation of drastic changes being made to the franchise such as a new showrunner and alterations to two of The Doctor’s main accessories. Whovians are also keeping their fingers crossed concerning rumors about the new season involving possible returning characters and a famous director taking on an episode.
For those new to Who, the British sci-fi drama is about a time traveling alien known as The Doctor who travels the universe protecting Earth from otherworldly threats. Dedicated to helping those in need, The Doctor is aided in his (or indeed her) adventures by human companions. For 54 years, the franchise has grown in popularity, gaining a cult following in the United States. Proud “Whovians” have witnessed 12 incarnations of the beloved main character and are excited for what the new season will bring. Below are facts about the upcoming season along with rumors fans are hoping will come true.
15 FACT - THE FUTURE IS FEMALE
For the first time in 54 years, the BBC announced The Doctor will be played by a woman. Since its beginning, Doctor Who portrayed the character as a male and casting speculations strongly suggested that it would remain that way. Jodie Whittaker’s reveal as the Thirteenth Doctor was announced in a short introduction video in mid-July and was met with strong opinions. While many embraced the change, “traditional” fans were upset that the show veered off its established path.
Whittaker welcomed reviews saying, “I want to tell fans not to be scared of my gender. This is a really exciting time and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.” Capaldi’s regeneration is expected to happen “during the last two minutes of action” in the Christmas episode according to DoctorWhoTV.
14 RUMOR - NARDOLE TO RETURN?
Speaking of male companions, fan favorite Nardole is still on the fence about whether he is staying or leaving. The actor, Matt Lucas, suggested, “I do know the answer to that question. I’ve known the answer to that question for a while, but I can’t tell you the answer I’m afraid.” The actor has remained tight-lipped when it comes to revealing potential spoilers, fearing, “if I talk to one person, then I’ll panic.”
He says, “the less I knew, the better because it’s hard to keep secrets. I might, for instance, know all sorts of things about various personnel in the future, but I’d rather I didn’t.” Does “various personnel” include him? It has already been confirmed that along with Capaldi, Michelle Gomez (Missy) and Pearl Mackie (Bill Potts) will be departing but as for beloved Nardole, his future is still unclear. His full statement can be found on Express.co.uk.
13 FACT - MICHELLE GOMEZ WON'T RETURN AS MISSY
Michelle Gomez, who played the female regeneration of the Time Lord’s greatest enemy, the Master, will be bidding farewell. Speaking exclusively with DigitalSpy.com, Gomez revealed her devotion to Capaldi saying ““… I don’t know how I feel about being The Master to any other Doctor, because I feel like I’m part of Peter’s time.” The actress made her debut in “Deep Breath” as a mischievous Mary Poppins-esque rival of The Doctor who often toyed with his emotions, delicately balancing herself on the thin line between good and evil.
Gomez hasn’t ruled out a complete departure from the show, teasing, “'I’m sure in a couple of years' time, the urge to blow things up will just be too strong and Missy will come in guns blazing!” but admits “… at the moment, it just feels like this is the end of an era…”
12 RUMOR - THE DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN
Fans always look forward to the possibility of their favorite characters returning to their beloved franchise. While nothing’s been confirmed yet, Dead Beats Panel has thrown out a few names. Among them are Osgood and Ashildr / "Me."
Making her appearance in “The Day of the Doctor,” Osgood was introduced as a UNIT scientist and The Doctor’s #1 fan. In the 50th anniversary episode, she had the pleasure of meeting both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. If UNIT calls upon The Doctor again, perhaps their paths will cross once more. Played by Game of Thrones alum Massie Williams, Ashildr is a Viking who sacrifices herself when aliens invade her village. With The Doctor’s help, she becomes a functioning immortal and travels the universe under the alias “Me.” Williams has stated her character’s return is not expected though not entirely ruled out.
11 FACT - NEW SONIC SCREWDRIVER
One of The Doctor’s signature accessories, the sonic screwdriver has had as many updates and new applications as today’s iPhone. Early versions of the device were used for simpler tasks such as lock picking and projecting sound. Over the years, each incarnation of the Doctor has made their own modifications. This allowed for wider functionality, which included computer hacking, medical scanning, and moderate defense against certain weapons. Despite its advancements, the screwdriver often proved useless in certain situations. It is unable to open deadlock seals and is ineffective against wood.
As the Twelfth Doctor, Capaldi abandoned the technology in favor of “sonic sunglasses” and continued to wear them after he was rendered temporarily blind after exposure to the vacuum of space in “Oxygen.” No word yet has been made as far as specific designs for the Thirteenth Doctor’s screwdriver but one is expected to be created.
10 RUMOR - PETER JACKSON TO DIRECT AN EPISODE?
For years, director of The Lord of the Rings franchise, Peter Jackson has been teasing Doctor Who fans that he would love to direct an episode. A lifelong fan of the show, Jackson posted a video on Facebook teasing Steven Moffat has been trying to contact him regarding directing an episode. In the background, you can see a confused Peter Capaldi as The Doctor making his way around the room, insisting he is looking for a director.
It’s not clear whether the video was a clever collaboration to mess with Whovians or an unofficial announcement that he’s involved in the creation of an episode. According to DenOfGeek.com, Moffat has admitted that he’s “spoken to [Peter Jackson] face to face, and he would like to do one," and “"He accepts that… it would have to be when he’s available… I think it will probably happen at some point."
9 FACT - BYE BYE BILL
At a Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Pearl Mackie revealed her time as Bill Potts will come to an end after the Christmas episode. The actress received mixed reviews when it was announced that she would play the first openly gay companion to The Doctor, suffering backlash from critics who were quick to disagree pointing out pansexual Jack Harkness, lesbian Madame Vastra and the previous companion Clara Oswald, who gave an impression that she was possibly bisexual.
In the season finale, Potts was converted into a Cyberman but was then reunited with her “alien girlfriend” Heather. It is confirmed that she will return in the Christmas episode to say farewell to her Doctor but it’s not clear whether she will witness his regeneration.
8 RUMOR - RETURN OF RIVER SONG?
“Hello Sweetie.” Will Whovians ever hear those words again? Kickass archeologist River Song was introduced in the two-part episode “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Damned.” Her connection to The Doctor was unclear at the time. It wasn’t until the Eleventh Doctor that she was revealed to be the daughter of his companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, and his wife. Their non-linear paths made their encounters hard to follow, even with Song’s diary detailing their experiences together.
Her final appearance was in “The Husbands of River Song,” spending her final moments on a romantic date with The Twelfth Doctor. In Doctor Who Magazine (#509), when asked if her story ended, Moffat said “Well, yes, that does seem like the end to me. Except, of course, it isn’t, and can’t be. There’s always the chance that River will show up again, at some other point in her timeline…”
7 FACT - THE TARDIS IS GETTING A MAKEOVER
The Doctor isn’t the only one that gets upgraded for the new season. Various news sources strongly suggest that the Tardis is getting a makeover as well. Since the show’s beginning, the interior of the Doctor’s traveling phone box has changed almost as much as the Doctor.
While it remained consistent for 26 years, the show’s 2005 revival introduced a much quirkier industrial look and continued to alter itself. The Eleventh Doctor’s Tardis remodeled itself after being heavily damaged and settled for a retro design with shiny gizmos and gadgets while the Twelfth Doctor went for a sleek, modern look that featured silver and dark blue accents. There has been no word yet as far as specific design plans for the Thirteenth Doctor’s Tardis though fans suspect a possible tease might reveal itself in the Christmas Episode.
6 RUMOR - AUTUMN 2018 PREMIERE?
According to MoviePilot.com, an assumption has been made that Season 11 won’t premiere until next year. This highly likely rumor gained traction due to the late filming of the new season beginning in January of 2018. The new season is expected to consist of 13 episodes, including a Christmas special. This time frame would allow the BBC plenty of time to decide on the perfect companion for the new regeneration.
If this rumor is to be believed, it would suggest the season will be broken down into two parts. The first half would possibly consist of a huge story arc to either be resolved in the Christmas episode or in the second half which would air in early to mid- spring. Moffat firmly stated to Broadcast, “It’s critical that when Doctor Who launches, it’s the television event in that area.”
5 FACT - SHORTER SERIES & LONGER EPISODE RUNNING TIME
Drastic changes are expected for this new season; one of the most talked about is the fact that the series, according to The Mirror, “will run for 10 weeks rather than the usual 12 or 13, but each programme will last a full hour instead of 45 minutes.” While fans might be disappointed by a shorter season, longer episodes suggest more time will be dedicated to increased action, dramatic dialogue and more intriguing storylines.
In its early years, episodes of Doctor Who ran for only 25 minutes. The first episode premiered the day after John F Kennedy’s assassination; the show designed to appeal to families and use time travels as a means to educate people about certain scientific ideas and important moments in history. The 2005 revival of the series is a direct continuation of the events of the original 1963-1989 series.
4 RUMOR - ALL OF TIME AND SPACE
Since the show is about a time-traveling alien, it’s common knowledge that many of the episodes take place during different time periods -- past, present and future. An insider for the series reported to The Mirror that fans should “expect something fresh and brilliant, with more stories traveling backwards in time, to interesting historical eras, as well as forwards.” If the overarching arc theory is to be believed, perhaps The Doctor will be pursuing someone or something throughout time or the series will feature episodes heavily emphasizing certain historical events that might be in danger of being altered.
Throughout his journeys, The Doctor has encountered many historical figures. While the early episodes used history as means of education, the revival of the series introduced more frequent episodes of historical significance and told the stories of real people, including Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Dickens and Madame de Pompadour.
3 FACT - NO MORE STEVEN MOFFAT
Showrunner Steven Moffat announced last year that he would no longer be writing for Doctor Who and would be leaving the show in the capable hands of Chris Chibnall who won three BAFTAs for his detective series Broadchurch. Speaking of his departure, Moffat said “… the fact is my timey wimey is running out” and expressed his excitement “that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future” in an interview with The Radio Times.
As a Whovian himself, Chibnall expressed his devotion to the show saying, “Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. So it’s a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama.”
2 RUMOR - A MALE COMPANION?
The Doctor is known for traveling with a wide variety of companions, both human and non-human. An official announcement of the new companion has yet to be made though various sources have settled on two top contenders. In the lead is Bradley Walsh, a British gameshow host. The Mirror prematurely announced in August that Walsh has been confirmed as the new companion, saying a source close to the actor revealed “Bradley is super excited to be joining the cast of Doctor Who in such a key role.”
Another contender is Kris Marshall, who was rumored to be in the running for the Thirteenth Doctor but was quickly ruled out after Whittaker’s announcement. The Sun reports a source close to the actor said, “Kris is a big fan of the show and the BBC are a big fan of his.”
1 FACT - WHOVIAN WRITING ROOM
RadioTimes.com exclusively revealed that the BBC program would be adopting an “American practice” of using a writing room to brainstorm ideas for episodes and scripts. A spokesperson for the BBC stated, “It’s still very early days and no fixed model has been decided upon yet. Chris Chibnall as the new showrunner will write his own episodes and is currently exploring different ways of working with new and established writers on the show.”
DigitalSpy.com reports that Chibnall is interested in the new system where, as the leader of the group, he would assist in “hashing out storylines for each series together [with the writers].” Whether this system will actually be put into place is still questionable, though it has been made clear that Chibnall has a bold five-year plan for Doctor Who, confirming “a series-long arc is definitely possible.”
What else do you know (or have you heard) about the New Doctor? Let us know in the comments!