‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary Villains Reveal Story Details?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated April 2nd, 2013 at 11:24 pm,

doctor who matt smith david tennant Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Villains Reveal Story Details?

Now that Doctor Who season 7.5 has officially premiered (read our episode review), BBC has been releasing a steady stream of new details for the highly-anticipated 50th anniversary special. Recent reports confirm that fan-favorite Doctor (number 10), David Tennant, along with companion Rose, played by Billie Piper, are set to return for the episode – which will be presented in 3D, according to showrunner Steven Moffat.

New photos of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special table read show Tennant along with eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, freshly minted companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman), as well as newcomer Joanna Page – scripts in hand. But what secrets and surprises lay inside those pages? For one thing, Classic Who-villains, the Zygons.

The BBC has officially confirmed that the shape-shifting extra-terrestrials will be featured in the anniversary special – though it’s unclear if they’ll be the only enemy the Doctor will face. Longtime Who fans will remember the Zygons from the fourth Doctor episode, “Terror of the Zygons” – which presented the aliens as malevolent refugees bent on conquering Earth after a stellar explosion destroyed their home planet. The Zygons crash-landed in Loch Ness along with a Skarasen - a large reptile with cybernetic augmentations (commonly referred to by unknowing locales as “Nessie”) whose milk was essential for Zygon survival. As mentioned, Zygons utilize a shape-shifting technology that allows them to take the form of another person – so long as the individual is alive (and plugged into their body-printing machine).

Check out a picture of the 50th Anniversary Special Zygon below (click to enlarge):

 Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Villains Reveal Story Details?

The “Terror of the Zygons” was thwarted by the Doctor, companion Sarah Jane, with the help of UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce) and serves as the only Zygon-centric storyline in a Doctor Who episode. That said, the characters have been referenced in further classic and modern Doctor Who installments – not to mention books and audio dramas.

Now that they are set for return, we can only speculate how they fit into the 50th Anniversary Special storyline. While nothing is definitive, given the recent news of Tennant and Piper’s return (along with the Zygon UNIT connection), it seems increasingly likely that the special will take place in the parallel universe – and feature Tennant as the half-human, half-Time Lord clone (instead of a time-bending Tenth Doctor arc). While, the gap between the universes was repaired, there’s no reason to think Moffat couldn’t come up with a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey explanation for one brief adventure.

Maybe the Zygons capture the Doctor clone and Rose, take their forms, then broadcast a distress signal through universes to the eleventh Doctor and Clara? Maybe not, it’s equally possible that Rose and the Doctor clone could come to us – since Rose returned from the parallel universe back in season 4 of the modern series. Still, as indicated, given that Doctor Who criss-crosses through space and time, another storyline could easily see the eleventh Doctor and Clara bumping into the tenth Doctor and Rose – while both pairs are still traveling (prior to Tennant and Piper’s exit from the series).

David Tennant and Billie Piper Returning for Doctor Who 50th Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Villains Reveal Story Details?

Either way, while we expect UNIT to factor into the plot, it’s unlikely that the organization will play a major part – given that the episode is set to feature several fan-favorite characters. Unfortunately, John Borrowman, Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood fame, isn’t likely to be one of them – even after confirming Anniversary Special talks with BBC producers. Since the actor is a fan of the franchise and was interested in returning, it’s possible that his role (which could have been creatively intertwined through a UNIT team-up), wasn’t big enough to justify altering his schedule – given that Barrowman is keeping busy on the set of Arrow (along with several other projects). Of course, there’s a chance that, even after meeting with Barrowman, BBC decided not to include his character (or any Torchwood references) in the special. The same goes for UNIT – just because the task force played a role in defeating the Zygons once, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be needed this time around.

It might be awhile before we have a clear picture of what’s in store for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special but it’s looking as though Moffat is set to deliver a more focused multi-Doctor mash-up adventure – as opposed to cramming a host of Doctor versions into a single episode. Fans will likely be divided on the idea, especially if their favorite Doctor doesn’t make the cut, but the tighter storyline should provide more meaningful interaction with any of the characters who are set for return – instead of a gimmicky attempt to cram as many Doctors into an episode as possible.

We’ll keep you updated as more details surface. In the meantime, check out our Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List!


Doctor Who airs Saturday @8pm on BBC America. The 50th Anniversary Special is set to air sometime in 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Doctor Who as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: BBC

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. ‘it seems increasingly likely that the special will take place in the parallel universe – and feature Tennant as the half-human, half-Time Lord clone (instead of a time-bending Tenth Doctor arc).’ – According to what exactly? They’ve had a multiple doctor episode already since the revival with the minisode Time Crash and they could easily have it so that the Doctor and Rose are the same from Series 2 (they could explain that’ve gotten a bit older through the same explanation of the Fifth Doctor’s age in Time Crash). Just because the Tenth Doctor never mentioned meeting his next incarnation doesn’t mean that he didn’t.

    My theory on the 50th anniversary special draws on two things. On the Jonathan Ross show, Matt Smith gave the clue ‘paintings.’ and in interviews he has said that it pays tribute to the show’s past as well as looking forward. I really get the feeling that the Special will feature an interactive (futuristic) gallery/museum dedicated to the Doctor’s life (which would give them reason to feature any and all villians). Perhaps Rose and the Tenth Doctor could escape from an exhibit? Of course there’d be something devious going on behind the scenes, like the Curator being evil n’ all that in his obsession about the Doctor.

    • As mentioned in the article, any of us are operating purely on speculation at this point. Nearly anything is possible. No one was saying multi-doctor episode isn’t possible – given that there have been several. But as you mentioned, Moffat said the 50th is designed to look toward the future – not the past:

      “The show must be seen to be going forward. It’s all about the next 50 years, not about the last 50 years. If you start thinking it’s all about nostalgia, then you’re finished. It’s about moving forward.”

      For that reason, I doubt they’ll spend a lot of time pulling in past Doctors and villains. Instead, they’ll be more focused on the pieces they already have in play (like the Doctor clone).

      Still, who knows? Anything is possible.

      • I wouldn’t say the Doctor clone is in play anymore so than anything else that’s been in the show previously. Or maybe it’s just a preference of mine to leave most of the stuff from the RTD era (such as the Doctor’s daughter) alone.

        Also my gallery theory gives them a vehicle to look forward as the place would serve to encompass all of the Doctor’s faces and adventures (including those we haven’t seen). I’m not saying they could show the Doctor’s future incarnations as well (as they obviously haven’t been cast yet!) but it could all be done through suggestion.

        Just a thought!

        • I actually really like that idea – and would be happy if that’s what they did.

          As much as I like Moffat’s work, I’m just not sure he’ll give fans the Anniversary Special they want and will, instead, give them the one he thinks they should want!

          We’ll see.

      • They stared filming yesterday.No other actors have been mentioned as signing on….I think it’s a two doctor adventure or a one doctor and clone episode …that makes good sense.That way you leave the timney wimey thingy out of it

        • I think if it were the clone Doctor he would not have access to his TARDIS, and I’d argue that it’s more complicated to explain that than to pull out wibbly wobbly timey wimey

  2. First off, it was Torchwood that opened the way to the parallel universe. Jack Harkness was also connected to Torchwood, not UNIT, in fact he stated that he wasn’t sure how he felt about UNIT when talking to Martha Jones at the end of the Journey’s End. And as far as John Barrowman saying he passed on the 50th because of Arrow is rubbish. the showrunner for Arrow said he’d give John as much time as necessary if he were a part of the 50th. I doubt it was as much his decision as the Execs of Doctor Who that decided it.

    • The article said Harkness was associated with Torchwood but that UNIT might have been a good way to bring his character back into the picture (without having to bring both Torchwood and UNIT into the episode plot). It could easily be explained that one of the Doctors asks Harkness to help UNIT out.

      BBC and Barrowman were in talks about an anniversary appearance – which means they may have been open to it as well. It’s possible that Barrowman just wasn’t thrilled with whatever they wanted to do with him or that, as you mentioned BBC scrapped the idea. Or, Barrowman is busy with his other projects – Arrow isn’t his only gig right now. It’s equally possible that he will be in the episode and wanted to maintain that surprise.

      As mentioned there is a lot we don’t know yet.

  3. I just want to clear you up on one thing: Unit was not responsible for opening the void, nor was Rose ever part of it, Unit wasn’t even mentioned until the 3rd or 4th season. What you’re talking about is Torch wood, a society located in Cardiff that was created by Queen Victoria to manage alien and un-terrestrial things. Almost like unit, but Unit is much more military, and it is American-based. The biggest difference between Unit and Torchwood is that the doctor likes unit, but pretty much despises Torch wood.

    • Unit appeared in the new series in The Christmas Invasion just after the first series.
      I agree with Ben. I think the story will be set at some point during the time The Doctor and Rose travelled together

      • Actually I think you’re thinking of “Aliens in London”. I don’t think they appeared in the Christmas Invasion (I could be wrong). But in Aliens in London, the Doctor sees them on TV and says he knew them and they wouldn’t recognize him.

    • Fixed it – thanks!

  4. A few thing’s to point out to whoever wrote this article.

    As everyone else has stated, UNIT did not open the portal’s to the alternate universe, nor was Jack Harkness connected to UNIT.

    Also it has been reported (and pics taken I might add) that a) Tennent and Smith both arrived on location for filming the other day, implying that they will be meeting face to face in the show, and b) Tennent’s beat up old Police Box was seen on location next to a medieval tent. Implying that he is reprising his role at the Doctor and not the Meta Crisis Doctor.

    • Also, apparently there were pics today of Tennant in the brown suit, which would seem to indicate the real 10th Doctor rather than Clone!Doctor. I hope this is the case. To me, it seems a shame to bring back 10 and not use him as the actual Doctor.

    • We’ve corrected the typo.

      I don’t think anyone was debating whether Tennant and Smith would come face to face but, as mentioned in the article, it’s certainly possible that it is the tenth Doctor – not the clone. We just expanded on one possibility.

  5. Paintings… hmmmm…. my guess is that The Great Intelligence will be involved in some Doctor uploading and we’ll see Harry Potter style interactive paintings of all the Doctors.

  6. Actually I think you’re thinking of “Aliens in London”. I don’t think they appeared in the Christmas Invasion (I could be wrong). But in Aliens in London, the Doctor sees them on TV and says he knew them and they wouldn’t recognize him.

  7. It’s NOT the clone 10th Doctor. This will take place for the 10th Doctor and Rose in Series 2. The picture from filming look like the Doctor and Rose are just on an adventure when something could happen. Also the 10th Doctor’s Tardis was there to. The Zygons just look like they play a little part in the 50th i doubt they are the proper villian.

  8. I really hope The Master appears in some capacity. It’d be a shame if they really did just kill of the character in The End of Time, wasn’t really a nice way to send off the character in my opinion. Plus after the mad over-the-topness that was John Simm’s/RTD’s Master I’m quite interested in seeing how Moffat would cast him.

    As far as which version of the Doctor Tennant will be playing, it could be anything. Anyone watching the series knows that there are a hundred million ways the writers can just dream up some random way around the rules, so it could just as easily be the half-human 10th Doctor, an actual 10th Doctor from another universe or whatever. And bear in mind that we also don’t know if the parallel universe we saw has its own version of the Doctor as well.

    I’d also hope they bring Ecclestone back, but given he didn’t seem too happy working on the show back in his time, I doubt he’d come back :(

    • Completely agreed on the Master. He has to come back eventually. If he’d actually just died, one of Doctor Who’s greatest villains would be lost.

      There’s a brilliant chance when the Doctor’s name is revealed for the Master to appear and intervene. He used to be a friend of the Doctor so it’s entirely possible that he could attempt to prevent the Doctor from stating his name or at least ‘accidentally’ prevent whatever drastic consequences which are supposed to occur from occuring.

  9. Very predictable because David Tennant’s favourite monster was the Zygon’s
    He said it in any interviews. How come sceenrant didn’t mention the book- “Sting of the zygons” whih featured my favourite companion Martha Jones.

    • I mentioned they were covered in “books and audio dramas” as well. But the last time they had a full onscreen episode dedicated entirely to them was in ”Terror of the Zygons.” So we focused on that one.

      • right but it is the best Doctor who book released.

  10. Wow! After suffering that barrage of Doctor Who nerds telling you you have everything wrong, I’ll be surprised if you want to write anything about Doctor Who ever again Screenrant. (^-^)

  11. Ive been thinking it will take place in the alternate reality with Half human 10th doctor and Rose. Im hopeing to see if they had any babies yet lol

  12. i just want to say that i thought that the doctor’s clone was returning from the parallel universe but then, but doctors had a TARDIS and the Doctor didnt learn to build a TARDIS un til his 11th incarnation, but only with the help of the TARDIS in human form(The Doctor’s Wife). So that make it unlikely to be the clone.

  13. In the deleted scenes for series 4 episode 13, RTD wrote that david tennant’s doctor gave the meta-crisis doctor and rose a piece of the TARDIS so they could grow thier own TARDIS. RTD said that even though it wasn’t in the final cut, he still imagines it to have happened.