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Russell T. Davies Created New Female Doctors After Jodie Whittaker

Russell T. Davies Created New Female Doctors After Jodie Whittaker

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from nearly 55 years of Doctor Who being a thing, it’s that time can be rewritten. And unwritten and written the same, but differently. One of the biggest of these came around the 50th anniversary when, out of necessity with the lack of Christopher Eccleston’s participation, Steven Moffat unveiled a secret, as-yet-unheard-of past incarnation of the Doctor, which existed in between Paul McGann’s Eighth and Eccleston’s Ninth. Writers have fun with the Doctor’s history (and future) quite a bit, and now one of the series’ most important figures is ret-future-conning more of the Doctor’s life.

Russell T. Davies was the head writer and showrunner responsible for bringing Doctor Who back to television in 2005 and helmed the series for its first five years. As we told you a few weeks back, Davies—along with his successor Steven Moffat and writers Paul Cornell and Jenny Colgan—is adapting new series episodes into novelizations in the style of the Target novelizations done for the original series. Davies’ contribution is “Rose,” the first episode of his first series. According to Radio Times, Davies has thrown in some Easter eggs about future Doctors…including some that haven’t happened yet.

In the episode, if you remember, Rose encounters the Doctor in the mall where she works and runs away from the Autons with him. Afterward, she finds a man named Clive who has photos and case histories about the Doctor popping up in history. In the episode, it’s just pictures of the Ninth Doctor–the goal of Series 1 was to introduce the concept of Doctor Who without the baggage–but in the novelization, Davies has Rose look at pictures of all the previous Doctors, and the future ones (she turns away during a photo of the Tenth, conveniently) and he didn’t stop there:

Rose saw a photo of a man with a fantastic jaw, dressed in a tweed jacket and bow tie. Then Clive kept the sequence going; an older, angry man in a brown caretaker’s coat, holding a mop; a blonde woman in braces running away from a giant frog in front of Buckingham Palace; a tall, bald black woman wielding a flaming sword; a young girl or boy in a hi-tech wheelchair with what looked like a robot dog at their side…

This excerpt describes the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Doctors (let’s hope we see Jodie Whittaker fighting giant frogs in Series 11!) as well as “a tall, bald black woman wielding a flaming sword,” which, holy crap, that would be the coolest Doctor in the whole wide world. And he even includes a gender neutral, differently-abled Doctor. Unheard of Doctors?!?! How can this be!?

Well, it’s pretty typical, actually. The beauty if the Doctor is that the character is “ancient and forever,” a figure of hope throughout time and space, unbound by the rules of chronology. In Tom Baker’s second season in 1976, the story “The Brain of Morbius” featured the Doctor in a battle of the minds with Time Lord criminal Morbius, and we see projections of the Doctor’s past selves, and several future selves. Those were all just members of the production team dressed up; obviously none of them have ever been the Doctor. In the following season’s “The Deadly Assassin,” it’s established Time Lords can only regenerate 12 times, which we now know is not binding.

Davies had to play things rather safe in that arena, given the show was essentially brand new again, but now, eight years after leaving the series, he can have a ball and mess with continuity. He did something similar during Matt Smith’s era, when the Eleventh Doctor guested on episodes of Davies’ spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. Davies as writer had the Doctor says he can regenerate 507 times, during a time when the LAW was still 12.

Whether or not Chris Chibnall or whomever else decides to use these future Doctors, it’s a great way to nod to the now-fully established possibility for the Doctor to be anyone, regardless of gender, race, or physical ability of the actor playing them.

Russell T. Davies’ novelization of “Rose” is available for pre-order at various outlets now.

Images: BBC

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor and the resident Whovian for Nerdist. Follow him on Twitter!

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