With Doctor Who set to premiere soon in the US and abroad, it’s time to start getting excited! And boy, does Season 9 sound like one to be excited about. Peter Capaldi proved himself enormously capable of filling the Doctor’s role, leading to a memorable eighth season, and he’s obviously back this year. Though it was touch and go for a while on whether Jenna Coleman would return, she will be back to roam the universe with the Doctor as Clara. But enough about the obvious! Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
Major Resurrections (or at least returns)
Though Missy aka the Master appeared to die at the end of last season, Michelle Gomez will reprise her role in the season premiere two-parter episodes, “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar.” Word is that this time around Missy and the Doctor will team up – sort of, but Missy and Clara will definitely be teaming up in order to find the Doctor, who has gone missing.
In more characters we thought were dead news, Osgood (Ingrid Oliver), who also died in last season’s finale – at Missy’s hands, no less – will return in another two-parter, “Invasion of the Zygons” and “Inversion of the Zygons.” The equally dead last time we saw her in “The Name of the Doctor” River Song (Alex Kingston) is set to return in Doctor Who’s Christmas special with few details yet available.
Finally, Rigsy (Joivan Wade) from last season’s “Flatline” will appear in Episode 10 of the season, which will feature an “invasion of invisible streets.” At least he wasn’t dead last time we saw him, but more importantly, “Flatline” was a really good episode and Rigsy a great character, so it’s exciting that he’ll be back.
You probably already know, especially if you watched either of the two trailers for Doctor Who Season 9 , but Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams will guest star in a pair of episodes, “The Girl Who Died” and “The Woman Who Lived.” It seems fairly likely that Maisie is “the girl” and “the woman” in the episode titles, but showrunner Steven Moffat is keeping mum on her character, saying she might be “the girl” but “it won’t be as simple as that.”
What we do know is that in spite of fan hopes, she’s supposed to be a new character and that her first episode will feature Vikings, robots and a dragon while the second will take on French highwaymen. The two episodes are obviously connected through Maisie’s appearances, but supposedly, they aren’t strictly a two-parter – at least not a traditional one anyway.
Tons of Villains
Of course every season of Doctor Who features a lot of villains, but this season will take on many who are already familiar to viewers. The first two episodes start with the Daleks and more specifically, their creator Davros. This time around, Davros will be a little kid, and the Doctor has to decide whether or not to kill him. This is all set to take place on the Dalek home world of Skaro and should feature the return of the red Supreme Dalek from Season 4’s “The Stolen Earth.”
The middle of the season (episodes five and six), which will bring back Osgood, will of course also bring back the Zygons in the episodes named for them. We saw the Zygons pretty recently in the 50th Anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” and in fact, the new episodes are supposed to act as a kind of sequel to that episode.
Also along for the ride will be the Judoon, featured most prominently in Season 3’s “Smith and Jones” and Season 4’s “The Stolen Earth,” and the Hath, seen in Season 4’s “The Doctor’s Daughter.” It’s unclear yet whether either group will actually qualify as villains or what episodes they’ll be in.
Several of the season’s 12 episodes will be divided into two-part adventures, which could be good or bad. Bad, because that means cliffhangers and fewer new Doctor Who stories per season. Good, because Moffat claims this will help he and his writers build and maintain mystery, atmosphere and character moments. And Moffat certainly has a crack staff, who should deliver on that promise.
Moffat himself will write both the two-part season premieres and season finales as well as the Christmas special. He claims that Episode 11 (the first of the two-part finale) is “one of the strangest Doctor Who episodes ever made.” Rumor has it that the episodes will explain why Peter Capaldi appeared in Season 4 as a different character – aside from, you know, casting – and Episode 12 might take place on Gallifrey. Unfortunately, none of those details are confirmed.
Tackling episodes three and four, which are being billed as “ghosts plus time travel,” is Toby Whithouse, creator of the BBC’s Being Human. His two most recent Doctor Who episodes are Season 6’s “The God Complex” and Season 7’s “A Town Called Mercy.” Even more exciting, Steven Moffat says the episodes are “brilliantly creepy… one of our scariest adventures yet!”
One of the few standalone episodes this season is Episode nine, which will be written by Moffat’s Sherlock partner Mark Gatiss. His most recent Doctor Who credit is last season’s “Robot of Sherwood,” but his new episode sounds very different, partially because it’s supposed to be a found footage episode à la Cloverfield.
The Doctor is… Cool?
Although Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor professed to be cool, it looks like it’s Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor who’s actually the cool one. In the new trailers for Doctor Who Season 9, we see the Doctor don sunglasses and play guitar. He also flashes double peace signs in the latest one. Could it be true? Is the Doctor cool now? I guess we’ll have to tune into Season 9 to find out.
Doctor Who’s Season 9 is shaping up to be a great season – except for one thing: Moffat keeps threatening cliffhangers. Reportedly, the first episode ends in a cliffhanger as well as the season finale, and that’s probably only the beginning. Doesn’t he know that’s no way to treat your fans? But if we have to have cliffhangers, it’s easier to deal with them on Doctor Who than a show that might get canceled any time. Plans are supposedly in the works to keep Doctor Who on air until at least 2020.
Doctor Who Season 9 will premiere Sept. 19 on BBC America.