Oh, folks, we are so impossibly close now to the long-anticipated ninth series of Doctor Who, the Sophomore year for Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi. It’s so near, you can almost smell the arc fumes from the TARDIS now (probably). And true to form, the BBC and the show’s lead writer/showrunner Steven Moffat had been keeping as many secrets as they could for as long as they could, even extending to the names of the episodes and stories that will populate the 12-week run. But today, friends, we have ourselves the answers, and I’mma gonna tell ya.
I know some people are particularly spoiler-phobic to the degree that they don’t want to know ANYTHING about the episodes, so for those people I’m gonna go ahead and issue a SPOILER WARNING here on out. I won’t spoil anything more than what the BBC is officially releasing, though, because I don’t know it.
Series 9 will be a series of two-part episodes; even if they aren’t directly connected by writer or storyline, they’re going to be at the very least thematically entwined. Episodes 1 and 2 we already knew; “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar” are written by Moffat (natch) and have been directed by Hettie MacDonald. MacDonald directed the Hugo-winning episode “Blink,” also written by Moffat. These episodes will see the return of Missy (Michelle Gomez), Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), and a certain horde of living hate-tanks. Did you watch the prologue yet!?!?!
Episodes 3 and 4 are new to us: “Under the Lake” and “Before the Flood” have been written by Toby Whithouse (the creator of Being Human who also penned the Who episodes “School Reunion,” “The Vampires of Venice,” “The God Complex,” and “A Town Called Mercy.” They’ve been directed by newcomer to the show Daniel O’Hara and were the first ones filmed for this series. The episodes will feature guest star Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) and Moffat has called them “brilliantly creepy… one of our scariest adventures yet!”
Episodes 5 and 6 we’ve also known a bit about because they’re the ones that will feature Ms. Maisie Williams in her as-yet-unreleased character. Those are called “The Girl Who Died” written by Jamie Mathieson (“Mummy” and “Flatline” from last series) and Moffat, and “The Woman Who Lived” written by former Torchwood writer Catherine Tregeena. Both episodes are directed by another Who newbie Ed Bazalgette.
For 7 and 8, it would appear we’re getting some old-school UNIT action in “The Zygon Invasion” and “The Zygon Inversion” written by Peter Harness (“Kill the Moon” last series) with Moffat co-writing the second episode. As you might expect, this two-parter will see the return of the Zygons as well as Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart and Ingrid Oliver making her back-from-the-dead appearance as Osgood. They’ve been directed by Daniel Nettheim who, you guessed it, is new to the show.
Episode 9 has been written by longtime series writer Mark Gatiss and is entitled “Sleep No More,” which I’m going to guess has something to do with Shakespeare, because Gatiss is all kinds of literary. That one will guest star his old League of Gentlemen cohort Reece Shearsmith. Episode 10 has been written by Sarah Dollard, a veteran of sci-fi/fantasy shows like Merlin, Primeval, and Being Human. That one’s called “Face the Raven,” which I’m going to guess has to do with Edgar Allan Poe. It will also see the return of Joivan Wade as Rigsy, Clara’s pseudo-companion from “Flatline.”
And finally, we have Episodes 11 and 12, given the wondrously evocative titles of “Heaven Sent” and “Hell Bent,” both written by Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay, who returns for her second straight year of directing two-part finales. Given that the Series 8 final episode was called “Death in Heaven,” it seems particularly intriguing that “Heaven” should be used again so soon. I won’t speculate anything yet, but BELIEVE ME I WILL LATER.
So that only leaves the Christmas special, which we still don’t know the title of, but we do know it’s written by Moffat, directed by Who veteran Douglas Mackinnon, and will see the return of Alex Kingston as River Song.
That’s rather a lot to mull over, but the good news is we don’t have to mull for long! The Series 9 premiere of Doctor Who, “The Magician’s Apprentice,” will premiere this Saturday, September 19, at 9pm ET/PT on BBC America. And be sure to check back to Nerdist.com after the episode to get my full review! It’s finally here, chums!
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!