Thursday saw the release of a brand new full trailer (a minute long, but you know) for Doctor Who‘s hotly anticipated 11th season, with Jodie Whittaker at the helm, giving us some great Doctory bits, like saying “when people need help, I never refuse,” and her new friends insisting that the Doctor’s in charge, because of course she is! But perhaps the most intriguing element–aside from what that new spaceship could be–is the distinct lack of Doctor Who‘s longest mainstay: the TARDIS.
My theory: at the end of the trailer, when the Doctor tearfully kisses something goodbye, I think she’s kissing the TARDIS goodbye.
DUN DUN DUN
From what I can gather, most of the trailer footage we’ve seen so far has been from the premiere episode of season 11, judging by all the times we see Whittaker wearing Capaldi’s tattered costume from the end of “Twice Upon a Time.” However, we do see her in her new trademark new look a few times, and notably in the above moment of kissing something goodbye. She appears to be in some kind of alien ship; is it possible it’s the TARDIS interior, completely devoid of personality? Perhaps when the TARDIS exploded this time, it got reset, and the Doctor will have to let it go in order for it to rebuild.
In every interview I’ve heard with new showrunner Chris Chibnall and the new cast, whenever the subject of the TARDIS has been brought up, they’ve been very cagey about whether the TARDIS will even appear in the season. It seems to me that the TARDIS not being around will be a major part of the season-long arc, and maybe even the arc of the show at large during the Whittaker era.
Given how big the announcement of the brand new sonic screwdriver was, and how it’s clearly going to have a narrative reason for looking the way it does, it seems strange for them to just totally change the subject whenever the TARDIS is mentioned.
Another point in the trailer has the Thirteenth Doctor saying she’s “just a traveler,” somewhat wistfully; maybe she’s saying it like this because now she has lost her means of travel, and her oldest friend. What’s a traveler without the ability to travel?
There is a precedent for this kind of thing in the series; when the show went from black and white to color in 1970–its seventh season–the Third Doctor was stranded on Earth due to Timelord banishment, and he spent much of his off-time fiddling with the TARDIS console, trying to override their block on his time traveling. That only lasted until partway through the next season, but by season 9, the Doctor had full use of the TARDIS again.
Now, we do know that the Doctor and her friends are going to travel in time–going at least back to see King James the First played by Alan Cumming–and judging by some other shots, space will be involved as well. But maybe they’re going to travel in the strange ship we see in this trailer, rather than the TARDIS. Now why they’d swap one easily-disguised time and space machine for one that looks like an alien spacecraft is probably going to be a big part of the season, but we ain’t seen no TARDIS, so I’m guessing she won’t have it, for at least these first 10 episodes.
These are just theories, of course, but I think it could certainly stand to reason that the new Doctor won’t have the TARDIS, and people all over the world will be sad.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor and the resident Whovian for Nerdist. Follow him on Twitter!