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Doctor Who Theory: New TARDIS Design Created By Season 11's Big Villains

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Does the new TARDIS design in Doctor Who connect to the season 11 villain? It's common practice for the TARDIS to undergo a new design every so often, and season 11's model showcases a major evolution from the ship from previous seasons. In fact, aside from all the various factors that influenced its updated design, it's possible that villains from this season may have had a major effect on the Thirteenth Doctor's time and space-traveling police box.

In the Doctor Who season 11 premiere, the show introduced some notable changes. The Doctor was being played by a woman for the first time ever, Team TARDIS going back to the series' roots with more than a single companion (or friend, as she officially refers to them now), and Chris Chibnall has replacing Steven Moffat as showrunner. But one significant change comes courtesy of the TARDIS. Completely MIA in the first episode, the TARDIS steals the show in episode 2, "The Ghost Monument," unveiling its brand new design from the inside out. It contrasts the Twelfth Doctor's dark, metallic interior with a bright, organic look that somewhat harkens back to the Ninth and Tenth Doctors' TARDIS, and there are unique touches harmonizing with the new Doctor's personality.

Related: Doctor Who: 10 Big Questions After "The Ghost Monument"

That said, there may have been some outside influence that the Doctor hasn't yet noticed, courtesy of a brand new villain in the Doctor Who universe - an alien race called the Stenza - and the connection kicks off the moment the Doctor constructs her brand new sonic screwdriver.

The Stenza were introduced in the Doctor Who premiere via T'zim-Sha, who spread his alien presence throughout much of Sheffield. The most important impact was when the Doctor borrowed some Stenza tech while constructing the new screwdriver. From a craftsmanship perspective, it makes perfect sense that the Doctor would make the most of her surroundings and implement whatever alien technology she can find in order to craft a working sonic screwdriver, but in doing so, she may have gotten a little too close for comfort. The new TARDIS interior's crystals are strikingly similar to those used in the screwdriver, which may suggest this design has a link to the Stenza.

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At first, the Stenza seemed like a mostly throwaway "Monster of the Week," but then they were mentioned again in episode 2 (they were in charge of the weapons facility on Desolation). It's beginning to look like the Stenza could be Doctor Who's new overarching villain presence, which makes the physical likeness of the screwdriver and the TARDIS peculiar. Is their technology simply part of a new visual language for the show, or the sign that they've got their invisible hooks deeper into the Doctor than she realizes? The TARDIS was on Desolation phasing in and out for long enough before the Doctor found it to become a legend, so they could have easily found it.

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Related: Doctor Who: Who Is The Timeless Child?

With little known about the Stenza beyond their violent culture, it's hard to draw any concrete conclusions about how everything connects. The TARDIS' crystals may be derived from the new screwdriver, or simply a result of Doctor Who's new production designer, Arwel Wyn Jones, taking a personal liking to crystalized features. But in the Doctor Who fandom, half the fun is the speculation - and this could be on hell of a twist.

More: Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List

Season 11 of Doctor Who airs on Sundays on BBC America and BBC One.

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