A behind the scenes photo from the set of Doctor Who seems to show that the robot dog K-9 will be putting in an appearance in season 11. This is something of a shock, given that the upcoming eleventh season since the series revival in 2005 seemed to be emphasizing a new era for the classic science-fiction series, featuring a new showrunner, three new companions and a brand new Doctor in the form of actor Jodie Whittaker.
First appearing in the episode "The Invisible Enemy", K-9 was the creation of Professor Marius - a dog-loving scientist, who built K-9 since the quarantine conditions at the lab where he worked forbid him having a live pet. Professor Marius gave K-9 to the Doctor in thanks for saving his life, and the robot dog quickly became the Doctor's most loyal companion. The Doctor would rebuild K-9 three times over the course of his Fourth incarnation, sending a K-9 to accompany three of his female companions when they left his company - reporter Sarah Jane Smith, the warrior woman Leela and the Time Lady Romana. In the current series, the Tenth Doctor gave Sarah Jane an upgraded Mark IV K-9 following the death of her original K-9, who followed her into her spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures.
The photo was posted to Twitter by Brandon Mykol and clearly depicts a classic K-9 robot among a number of production crew members during an on-location shooting session. The post also includes a picture of Whittaker, apparently signing an autograph for a fan between takes.
It is unknown if K-9 will be rejoining the Doctor and his friends on the TARDIS or if his role will be just a one-off cameo appearance. For that matter, it is unclear just which incarnation of K-9 this is, though it seems unlikely it is either of the versions that went off with Leela or Romana. In terms of story, there is nothing to stop the most recent K-9 from rejoining his former owner, though the fate of Sarah Jane Smith and her K-9 in the Doctor Who continuity has yet to be confirmed following the death of Elizabeth Sladen - the actress who played Sarah Jane Smith.
Regardless, it seems likely this news will be welcomed by Whovians old and new. K-9 has always been one of the Doctor's most popular companions and one of the few to merit an attempt at a spin-off with the one-episode-wonder K-9 And Company. Undoubtedly the Doctor will welcome the return of his old friend... whichever one it turns out to be.
Doctor Who season 11 will air sometime in the Fall of 2018.
Source: Brandon Mykol