We’re days away from the return of Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor will be facing not only new monsters and villains but familiar ones as well, such as Missy and the Zygons. It got us thinking, what about some of the foes we haven’t seen in a while? There were a number of baddies featured in the classic Doctor Who days that could still give the Doctor a run for his money. Here’s a list of just some possibilities we’d like to see return in the future (or the past).
Introduced during the 5th Doctor’s run, the Eternals are cosmic beings who exist outside of space and time. They possess telepathic abilities, are basically immortal, and can manipulate energy and matter. They found the Time Lords and their so-called “mastery” of time to be pretty cute. The Eternals had very little personal ambition and drive, so they relied on the thoughts and myths of mortal beings (“ephemerals”) such as humans and Time Lords to give them identity and purpose. Their power is such that they could anchor the TARDIS and prevent the Doctor from ever escaping if they wanted to.
In several Doctor Who novels and audio dramas, an Eternal called Death pursued the Seventh Doctor in several adventures, sometimes offering twisted deals like a real life Devil. Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies said that the Eternals left our reality due to being horrified by the events of the Last Great Time War. But we know that at least one Eternal calling himself the Trickster remained. The Trickster’s agents and schemes have appeared in episodes of the modern day Doctor Who show and in Torchwood: Miracle Day. The Trickster himself was a recurring villain in the Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. He was a creepy, manipulative monster and it’d be great to see him and maybe some other Eternals return to our universe to plague the heroic Time Lord.
THE CELESTIAL TOYMAKER
The Eternals aren’t the only cosmic beings whose powers dwarf those of Time Lords. In the 1960s, we met the immortal Toymaker, also known as the Celestial Toymaker. While the Eternal known as the Trickster has tried to alter history to increase his power, the Toymaker delights in targetting people personally for his own amusement. He will, at times, force people to play his strange games, games with rules that he too must follow but which he might not always explain. Losers becomes his prisoners, living additions to his toy collection.
The Toymaker fought the First Doctor and claimed that he’d also met the hero when he was younger and had not yet left Gallifrey. Another TV adventure was planned for the Sixth Doctor but was never filmed, although it was presented as an audio drama years later. The Toymaker has also fought the Eighth Doctor in both audio dramas and comics. It would be fun to see this strange, Q-like being try his bizarre antics on the serious minded Twelfth Doctor.
MORGAINE LE FEY
Yes, THAT Morgaine Le Fey. The one who fought King Arthur. In the late 1980s, we learned that the saga of Camelot happened on a parallel Earth where Morgaine, Arthur and others lived. In the TV story “Battlefield,” Morgaine and her son Mordred journeyed to our Earth in order to unleash a vicious demon. When they ran across the Seventh Doctor, they immediately recognized him as Merlin, though remarked that his face was different. The Seventh Doctor then realized that a future version of himself would one day become Merlin on this parallel Earth that Morgaine came from.
What if that future version were the Twelfth Doctor? You could do a story where he arrives in Camelot and meets a young Morgaine for the (sort of) first time.
Time Lord society was founded by two major figures: the madman Rassilon, who created their time travel technology, and the stellar engineer called Omega, who found the means to power time travel machines. For millennia, it was believed that Omega had sacrificed his life to create the original, prime Eye of Harmony which powered the TARDISes of Gallifrey. But the tenth anniversary story “The Three Doctors” revealed that he had survived and had been in exile in an anti-matter realm where he became an energy-based life form.
He was defeated in that story, and then again years later when he attempted to create a new physical form for himself, but can you ever truly kill a Time Lord who has ascended into existing as a being of pure thought? Perhaps he’s been biding his time and is ready for a comeback.
In the Sixth Doctor’s final on-air season, we met a Time Lord known as the Valeyard, a title that refers to a high court official on Gallifrey. The Valeyard was a cold, cunning, and manipulative man who was determined to see the Doctor executed. The villainous Master then arrived and revealed the truth: the Valeyard was the Doctor’s dark side given physical form. According to the Master, the Valeyard was created in a possible future during a time between the Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctor’s life (or, depending on how you interpret it, between the Eleventh or Twelfth Doctor’s life). He had journeyed into the Doctor’s past to steal the hero’s lives and take his place in the timeline.
The Valeyard was, of course, defeated but he was never forgotten. The official audio dramas by Big Finish recently had actor Michael Jayston reprise the villain for stories that explored his character and origins further. That version of the Valeyard has apparently been wiped from existence. But in Matt Smith’s episode “The Name of the Doctor,” an enemy claimed that there still existed a possible future where the Valeyard would rise and possibly replace the Doctor. Wouldn’t it be great to see a new, dark version of the Doctor appeared?
And wouldn’t it be fun if he were played by someone who’s already played the Doctor? Just saying.
You’re welcome, internet.
What are some monsters you’d like to see return to Doctor Who? Let us know!
Alan Sizzler Kistler (@SizzlerKistler) is a pop culture historian, focusing on sci-fi and superheroes, and the author of the New York Times best seller Doctor Who: A History.