Jodie Whittaker is back in Doctor Who season 12 and these newly released images find her face-to-face with some old adversaries: the Judoon. After the departure of showrunner Steven Moffat and Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who season 11 represented somewhat of a rebirth for the long-running science fiction series, with Chris Chibnall taking over from Moffat and Jodie Whittaker cast as the very first female to portray the show's titular Time Lord. Despite pockets of criticism, the revamped series was largely well-received and also enjoyed a boost in viewership. Season 11 also relied primarily on completely new villains, with only the iconic Daleks returning in the New Year's Day special.
The Judoon first appeared in the 2007 David Tennant-era episode "Smith And Jones" as an intergalactic mercenary police force and could be described as bipedal armor-clad rhinos. Since then, the Judoon have made minor appearances in a variety of episodes, most recently 2015's "Face The Raven," and have also featured in several wider media spinoff adventures. Described by The Doctor as thugs, the Judoon aren't necessarily evil in nature but do make for highly intimidating and formidable warriors and their insistence on rigidly adhering to any given planet's legal system provides an interesting and humorous quirk.
Brand new images from the filming of Doctor Who's forthcoming twelfth season have now revealed that the Judoon are making their long-awaited return. Released by the BBC, the two images appear to be set in some kind of space station or alien base and show The Doctor - possibly in handcuffs - confronting a helmet-free Judoon Commander, with four more armed grunts securing the area.
The design of the standard issue Judoon uniform appears more or less unchanged since their last on-screen appearance but they do seem to have been given somewhat of a weapons upgrade and are now packing more grisly looking LED-decorated rifles instead of the smaller handguns that were seen in their debut episode. Physical appearances aside, it certainly seems like the Doctor is once again at odds with the Judoon, however these rhinos are notoriously unintelligent and motivated primarily by reward; therefore they may not be the main antagonists in this scenario, and could merely be administering the will of a more troublesome villain lurking in the background.
One of the biggest criticisms of Jodie Whittaker's first season in the TARDIS was that the new-look show felt largely disconnected from established Doctor Who history, featuring a roster of almost entirely new aliens and making a limited number of references to past adventures. However, early indications suggest that Chris Chibnall and his team will be more willing to delve into the franchise's lore this time around, and the return of the Judoon is an encouraging step in that direction.
Doctor Who season 12 is expected to premiere in early 2020.