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‘Doctor Who’ Spin-off Rumor Roundup

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2023 appears to be another great year for Doctor Who fans. With the return of David Tennant as the Doctor and his reunion with Donna Noble played by Catherine Tate, we are definitely in for a treat. There are a lot of rumors about future Doctor Who spinoffs floating around on the internet right now, so we thought we’d take a closer look at what’s out there.

Below are some rumors based on tweets from the Doctor Who Leaks Twitter account  specifically. Many of the previous leaks from this account were posted well before reports came out confirming them. However, not every rumor is apt to be true, so keep in mind that they are just that – rumors, take them with a grain of salt for now, and have fun considering the possibilities.

Torchwood characters may return in the UNIT series

The first rumor claims that in the UNIT series that’s in the works starring Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart, we’ll also get to see some familiar faces. Names tossed around are Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). Martha had loads of adventures with the Tenth Doctor (Tennant). However, only a small amount of them showed her working as a scientist. Martha also had a minimal role in Torchwood. Her appearance there took place after her adventures with the Doctor. She visited them often enough to learn some dark secrets.

Jones has also worked at UNIT. After several missions, she decided to leave the task force and become a freelancer. When we last saw Martha, she was married to Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) and fighting aliens with him. This was something that surprised many viewers back in the day.

Gwen Cooper was an ordinary police officer. All that changes when Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) recruits her, with her eventually becoming the second in command of Torchwood Three. At first, her reaction to the whole situation with aliens/other worlds was “normal.” She didn’t believe they existed. But she learns everything there is to learn from Jack, becoming a loyal companion.

Torchwood - Dissected audio drama graphic
Torchwood – Dissected audio drama graphic (Big Finish Productions)

In her early days at Torchwood, she accidentally released poisonous gas from a meteor, raising people from the dead, and much more. When Martha was at Torchwood, she and Gwen become close, even having their own audio series for Big Finish together.

That’s why both of them joining the UNIT series would be so cool. Because of them, the UNIT series could serve as a light continuation of Torchwood, since it was not completed in live-action. Especially when we team Kate Stewart with people who are capable of protecting the Earth. As for other Torchwood characters, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jack Harkness or Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) again.

Even some characters who are no longer alive would be a great addition to the series. One of them could be Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd), who was Jack’s lover, or Owen Harper (Burn Gorman) Gwen’s previous love interest. Owen died saving the city from a nuclear disaster. But this is the Doctor Who Universe after all. There’s always a way to bring back the dead. I also wouldn’t be surprised if one of the previous Doctors, or maybe even the Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) has a cameo in the UNIT series.

New Doctor Who animated projects may be on the way

With plans to create more Doctor Who spin-offs (as mentioned in a previous article), we may see a push beyond live-action media. Other recent rumors indicate animated Doctor Who movies and series are on their way.

This would not be the first time Who has gone from live-action to animation. Thanks to the willingness and efforts of creators, older episodes of Doctor Who have been revived in the form of animated episodes. Somewhere between 1967 and 1978, the BBC removed the archival footage. They justified this decision by the lack of space in their warehouses and the lack of retransmission rights. In 2006, the now-defunct Cosgrove Hall restored the lost segments of the 1968 episode “The Invasion”. This way, they recreated more than 140 episodes about the adventures of the First Doctor (William Hartnell) and the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton), that were missing.

Promotional graphic for First Doctor animated missing episodes
Promotional graphic for First Doctor animated missing episodes (BBC)

As well, there are a few other instances when Doctor Who made the jump to an animated format. Scream of the Shalka was a flash-animated serial produced for Doctor Who’s 40th anniversary, with the Doctor voiced by Richard E. Grant. This serial came out in 2003, before the revival in 2005, following the events of both the original series and the film. However, it’s not exactly canon to the Whoniverse anymore, as Grant’s version of the ninth Doctor is vastly different than the one we got on television. Although, Derek Jacobi voiced the Master in it, so perhaps part of this alternate universe leaked over into the main Whoniverse.

The Infinite Quest was another animated special released along NuWho’s third series, with stars David Tennant and Freema Agyeman voicing their roles from the series. It was released in 13 different parts between April and June of 2007. Most recently, the infamous villains of Doctor Who, the Daleks, had their own animated series, aptly titled Daleks!, which aired as part of their cross-platform Time Lord Victorious event. While their animated efforts haven’t been consistent, these examples show a desire to push into this different medium.

Recently there have been rumors of an animated Doctor Who movie. It’s unclear whether this project would involve the Tenth Doctor, the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann), or someone else. But the idea of creating Doctor Who movies for the Disney+ platform, seems likely and on brand for the House of Mouse. Especially in the era of bringing back past events and characters from Doctor Who.

When it comes to Doctor Who, the most important thing is quality over quantity. I think that bringing back animation is a good idea. With a whole universe of great stories and fantastic characters at their fingertips, they should expand it even further. 

By this, I don’t mean creating fifteen seasons of stories about a villain or some companion who appeared for three minutes on screen. But rather showing the adventures of older Doctors with actors who are still alive. Perhaps even with new voice actors for the first three Doctors.

It’s all there already, and all they have to do is hire great directors, writers, and animators to do the job. Maybe even Russell T. Davies, Steven Moffat, or Rachel Talalay would be interested in doing something like this. I guess time will tell.

Further thoughts on future Doctor Who spin-offs and plans

As the release of the three-part special episodes on the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who approaches, we’re sure to get more updates about other future plans and spin-offs. I honestly don’t know what to expect from these new stories. I’m a really big Whovian, but expanding a series too much too fast could be a risky move.

That being said, Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies are the men responsible for what many consider to be the best era of Doctor Who. Their participation in the franchise has always given us something new, so I look forward to what is coming next.

Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary three-part special is releasing in November 2023. What’s your opinion on these rumors? Let us know on Twitter and The Cosmic Circus Discord channel. And if you haven’t already, check out our theory on how multiple Doctors could appear in the 60th Anniversary specials.

Theory: Multiple Doctors in Doctor Who Anniversary Specials

Multiple Doctors in 60th Anniversary Banner

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

Wiktor Reinfuss has 116 posts and counting. See all posts by Wiktor Reinfuss