Fans of Doctor Who are in a bit of a drought for new content, as the series won’t return until November. However, once the 60th-anniversary specials arrive, the fun will keep coming. The return of David Tennant, as the next Doctor, followed by Ncuti Gawta’s time as the Time Lord in the subsequent Christmas special and series has our excitement cranked to an all-time high. Russell T. Davies has hinted at some big changes and exciting revelations for the future of Doctor Who. And if the new rumor, folding around cyberspace is to be believed, some of that excitement involves the return of some Time Lords from the Doctor’s past.
So what characters does the rumor indicate are returning for the new season of Doctor Who? And what is their reappearance all leading to? Let’s break down this rumor and a few others about what fans might expect when Gawta’s first season as the Doctor finally arrives.
[Warning: Potential Spoilers from the upcoming season of Doctor Who are below!]
Some returning Time Lords with new faces
According to a rumor posted by Doctor Who Leaks on Twitter, some familiar adversaries from across the 60 years of Doctor Who are returning to face off against Ncuti Gatwa’s 15th Doctor. As with all rumors, none of this information is confirmed by the BBC, Bad Wolf Studios, Disney, or Russell T. Davies, and therefore should be looked at with a healthy dose of skepticism. That being said, the rumor reads:
“Plan is to bring back many Time Lords who fled Gallifrey. Toymaker being one (NPH), The Rani (Jinkx), the Meddling Monk (Unknown), Rassilon (Unknown, but I heard a woman), and possibly some new ones. The Master gets a break, which will lead to their return.
“These Time Lords returning are due to the Valeyard. I can theorize that they think The Doctor is about to turn into the Valeyard but I’m not 100%.” – Doctor Who Leaks
While this is just a rumor, if correct, the return of these above-mentioned Time Lords has some huge and exciting implications for the future of Doctor Who.
While Gallifrey and its people have appeared in the revival era of Doctor Who to varying degrees, there has always been a lone wolf mentality to the Doctor. Other than himself, the only other Time Lord that appears frequently enough is The Master/Missy, the ultimate foil to our main hero. With that exception, the Time Lords and Gallifrey at large aren’t heavily featured in the revival series.
However, with the need to reinvent the series once again, bringing back other Time Lords, which would create a larger problem for the Doctor, might be exactly what is needed.
Who are these named Time Lords?
As stated above, there are specifically named Time Lords that the leak indicates are about to make their return to the series. Some of these characters have had more screen time than others, but all have caused the Doctor some grief.
The Toymaker whose first and only live-action appearance was in the 1966 serial “The Celestial Toymaker,” was an immortal being from a different universe. Having lived millions of years, many in isolation, The Toymaker has become madder than Missy, playing games in a child-friendly version of Saw. Players cannot win these twisted games, as The Toymaker has thought of everything, ensuring his victory.
After the announcement of Neil Patrick Harris’ involvement in the 60th-anniversary specials and the release of a promotional still of him in costume, many fans believed him to be playing a new iteration of The Toymaker. Fuel was added to the fire when the trailer for the specials was released, with one scene featuring a mysterious-looking toyshop. NPH definitely has the energy and acting abilities to pull off an off-kilter, perhaps unhinged toymaker who wants to rule the world through vindictive games. Think Count Olaf, but smart.
The Meddling Monk, who first appeared in the First Doctor adventure, “The Time Meddler” had one other appearance in the series and a slew of audio adventures and novels featuring him. This Time Lord’s main objective is to travel through time, focusing specifically on Earth and its history, wreaking havoc and messing up the timeline. This goes against everything the Doctor stands for, as he believes in holding the integrity of time. Interestingly, at one point The Meddling Monk was voiced by David Tennant, which could be another interesting twist to rebuilding the brand.
Rassilon is a Time Lord that fans of NuWho might be more familiar with. While his first appearance was in “The Five Doctors”, the 20th-anniversary special of Doctor Who, he appeared twice more on screen in Tennant’s episode “The End of Time” and Capaldi’s “Hell Bent”.
Hailed as one of the founders of the Time Lord Civilisation, Rassilon has a long and complicated history that doesn’t always paint him in the greatest of lights. For example, in “The End of Time”, Rassilon, played by Timothy Dalton, was willing to destroy Earth to bring Gallifrey back. His return could spell big trouble for the Doctor, especially if he thinks the hero is turning into the Valeyard.
Last but not least, is The Rani, a scientist hailing from Gallifrey that will go to any lengths to achieve her goals. Appearing in only two serials, “The Mark of the Rani” and “The Time of the Rani”, Kate O’Mara’s rogue Time Lord caused trouble for both the Sixth (Colin Baker) and the Seventh Doctors (Sylvester McCoy).
The Rani’s scientific pursuits were mostly in manipulating other species’ biochemistry, playing Doctor Frankenstein without care of repercussions. There were plans to continue The Rani’s storyline, however, the series was taken off the air before that could happen.
Bringing back The Rani would be a great choice, especially if the rumor is true that it’s Jinkx Monsoon. The announcement from RTD’s Instagram page indicated that Monsoon would have a major role in the next series, although not much information is given past that. However, she would be a fantastic choice to play The Rani in an ongoing capacity, connecting NuWho to the classic era even more. He stated that more information will come in the next month’s Doctor Who Magazine, so we don’t have long to wait to find out who she’ll be playing.
If these Time Lords are returning due to The Valeyard, all I have to say is that we’re in more trouble than we initially thought.
The Return of the Valeyard in Doctor Who
According to the rumor, these Time Lord appearances are because they believe the Doctor is becoming the Valeyard. The Valeyard as a concept is shrouded in some mystery but is a version of the Doctor who turns selfish and rather evil. Originally believed to have arrived sometime between the 12th and final regenerations, that idea has changed with the 11th Doctor receiving an entirely new cycle of 13 lives.
The Valeyard is an individual who engages with his darker side, giving in to violence and self-motivated actions to fuel his desire. If the Doctor is indeed becoming him, it would change the structure and fate of the show, adding a twist to Doctor Who I’ve never seen coming. Though perhaps it’s something more along the lines of Ten and Ten-2, where there’s a split and two “Doctors” exist at the same time. One our hero, the other the Valeyard.
Doctor Who returns for its 60th-anniversary specials in November. But what do you think? Do you think we’ll be seeing some returning Time Lords to the series? Who else might you like to see return to Doctor Who? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out our theory on multiple Doctors in the anniversary specials!