This article contains spoilers for Doctor Who series 8.
If the ending of Doctor Who series 8, Death In Heaven suggested one thing – appreciating we’ve got a Christmas special to come (with Nick Frost as Santa!) – it’s that series 9 of the revived show will somewhere along the line feature Gallifrey. It’s been teased very heavily again, even if its location is still a mystery. So as we look ahead to Doctor Who series 9, let’s kick off with one or two story threads, that remain ripe for exploration. After all, the Doctor had what he thought were the exact coordinates for his home planet, and couldn’t wait to see if it was there. It wasn’t, but Death In Heaven does offer a good hint that series 9 is likely to see the search for home intensify.
Since Doctor Who returned to our screens, Earth has inevitably been the home planet for more episodes than any other location (Jon Pertwee would have approved), and in truth, we’d expect that to be the case again. Wales only has so many quarries, after all. But at the very least, we’d now expect Gallifrey to become a recurring theme throughout series 9. It may be the search for it, it may be that the Doctor finds it. It may be we’re barking up the wrong tree. But any storyline involving Gallifrey in turn opens up the potential for more Time Lords. You can’t have Gallifrey without them, after all (even if more Time Lords may be a more natural fit for the series after).
Steven Moffat’s run on Doctor Who though has seen him set story arcs running, and in some cases wait years to pick them back up again. Gallifrey was reintroduced effectively at the end of November 2013’s Day Of The Doctor though (although Russell T Davies had found a way to the Time Lords in The End Of Time), and so all signs seem to be pointing in its direction for 2015.
If there are Time Lords – and we’re deep in speculation mode here – that also suggests a possible return for The Master/The Mistress/Missy. No matter that Michelle Gomez’s take on the character was blasted away in Death In Heaven (as we noted in our spoiler-filled review of Death In Heaven, the get out clauses are already in place). Absolute certain death has never precluded the return of any character in Doctor Who should the writers want them back, and in the case of Missy, she could always regenerate. However, we’d love to see Michelle Gomez come back. Her take on The Master crept under our skin more effectively than anyone’s since Roger Delgado.
Furthermore, even though she lied to the Doctor in Death In Heaven about Gallifrey’s location, it is, in theory, where she came from. She might not have been telling, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know where it is. Having a presence from The Master/The Mistress/Missy in series 9 can be intensify the search.
Mind you, there’s no shortage of other Time Lords that could be called upon should Gallifrey come back into the equation. Omega, Rassillon, The Meddling Monk, yep, even The Rani? If the Doctor does make it back to Gallifrey, Doctor Who in turn opens up a bunch of characters that the modern episodes of the show have spent relatively little time with. Was it, for instance, any coincidence that the Doctor’s four deceased wives and his presumed dead children and grandchildren were mentioned in Death In Heaven?
Furthermore, go back to Listen and the scene in the barn. We got a glimpse into the Doctor’s youth then, and The Master/The Mistress/Missy referred to that in Death In Heaven too. Might that Doctor Who origins story be getting ever closer? We doubt it, but you never know.
Then there was that bit of extra information that Clara dropped in when she was pretending to be the Doctor. The four wives, his children and his grandchildren. Plus Jenny from The Doctor’s Daughter? Whether Gallifrey factors in or not, might he go tracing his family tree? Or, more possibly, might his family tree start to trace him? That could be a series arc in itself. Possibly more.
Talking of family too, might Doctor Who series 9 pick up on the family line of Danny Pink and Clara? We know there’s a descendant there, but is that still the case?
Our head hurts.
Then there’s the question of who’s going to be travelling with the Doctor. The continuing rumour is that Jenna Coleman’s Doctor Who days are coming to an end, and her two series stint as Clara – about the going rate for a modern day companion – has likely either ended already, or will end with the Christmas special.
It looks likely, then, that a new companion will board the TARDIS. This time, it may not be one of Earth origin too. Not since Ace was picked up in Dragonfire (and even then, she actually came from Perivale, a place with Hale and Pace, and some cats) has a new regular companion joined the TARDIS from anywhere but Earth (Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory, Clara). Heck, could the Doctor get another Time Lord sidekick? Idle speculation on our part, certainly, but you never know.
The odds are on whoever a new companion is being relatively young and female. But then we thought Twelve would be young and male. Look where that got us.
Behind The Camera
In terms of personnel, Steven Moffat will be guiding Doctor Who through series 9, as we’ve certainly heard nothing to the contrary. Plus, he’s been chatting about his plans. It’s going to be another full run, without splits. Moffat has already teased that he knows what the cliffhanger to the penultimate episode of series 9 will be, and that “it’s a whopper” and “I don’t think you’ll see this coming”. Let’s assume that it’ll end with a two-parter again, then. We’re good at piecing together mysteries like that.
Oh, and Peter Capaldi is definitely signed up to play the Doctor again. He’s the only member of the cast to be 100% confirmed so far.
We also know that director Rachel Talalay has at least been in talks about returning to direct more Doctor Who episodes, and Paul Wilmhurst is likely to return. Rumours continue that Peter Jackson will guest direct now that he’s done with Hobbit movies, yet he’s also got a Tintin sequel to make, so that may remain a pipe dream. Plus, y’know, Doctor Who has 45 minutes per episode. Arf arf.
Rumoured other writers include Neil Gaiman (who has expressed his wish to write a Doctor Who episode for Peter Capaldi), Gareth Roberts, Neil Cross, Peter Harness and Mark Gatiss. There’s no shortage of people who want Jamie Mathieson to have another go to, ourselves included.
Beyond that? With production not starting for a little while yet, Doctor Who series 9 is still mainly under wraps. But we’ll keep this post updated as we discover more…
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