In a new twist, showrunner Russell T Davies has revealed that the character of Mavic Chen will be involved in Doctor Who Series 14 – somehow.
Just to be clear, we can’t be certain that the character of Mavic Chen will actually be returning for Doctor Who Series 14 or its precursory specials. But then, we can’t rule it out either.
But where does this nugget of information come from? Well, Russell T Davies made the revelation in a recent edition of Doctor Who Magazine, where he was specifically discussing the co-production deal with Disney and addressing some fans’ concerns that there would be too many “American notes” interfering with the shape of the programme. Here’s what he had to say.
“I know people are, naturally, worried about American producers having notes on things,” he stated. “Well, don’t be. They’re giving excellent notes.
“And I’m here to tell you, you haven’t watched a drama on British television in 20 years that hasn’t had American notes on it. Everything is a co-production… it’s really, completely normal.
“And if you want any more reassurance, let me just tell you that we’re about to transmit the words ‘Mavic Chen’ on television for the first time since 1966. It is absolutely the same show.”
Obviously, the name-checking of Mavic Chen is to reassure viewers that the series’ continuity will be preserved, whilst also highlighting the fact that neither Russell T Davies (or Disney) has any compunction with dropping some deep, niche references into Doctor Who Series 14. In fact, Mavic Chen could be so niche that some of this blog’s readers might not have heard of him.
So who exactly is Mavic Chen? He dates back to the 1966 Doctor Who story ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan‘ which, incidentally, is often cited as a fan favourite for the First Doctor’s era. This epic 12 part adventure saw the metal mutants trying to enact their greatest scheme to date – that is, the complete destruction of time with the aptly-named Time Destructor. The serial followed the Doctor and his companions Steven, Katarina and Sara as they attempted to thwart the Daleks‘ dastardly scheme in an adventure that took them from prison planets to Ancient Egypt to contemporary (festive) London.
Sadly, three quarters of this adventure are currently missing from the BBC archive, but the character of Mavic Chen is preserved in the surviving instalments two, five and 10, where viewers get to see him in action as the villainous Guardian of the Solar System who has joined forces with the titular enemies.
But what could this mean for Doctor Who Series 14? Well, we could take Russell T Davies at face value and assume that the character will simply get name-checked at some point in Doctor Who Series 14 – this could be during a Dalek story, or during an adventure set within the same time period as ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan,’ or something else.
For many fans, the most exciting possibility would be the return of Mavic Chen himself in Doctor Who Series 14, which might sound like wishful thinking. But let’s not forget, the trailer for the upcoming David Tennant specials has already teased the return of Beep the Meep, a character from the comic books and audio adventures who is a much more obscure villain than Mavic Chen. And if Beep the Meep is returning for Doctor Who Series 14 (or its earlier specials) then no character in the Whoniverse is off the table. Plasmatons, this could be your time to shine.
There is plenty of time to speculate, though, as we won’t be seeing Doctor Who Series 14 and its associated specials until November 2023, with Ncuti Gatwa’s first full run of episodes airing in 2024. Alas, that also means we have to wait a long time until we see the return of Mavic Chen – or at least, the return of Mavic Chen’s name! Keep the popcorn handy.
Undoubtedly, there will be many more revelations about Doctor Who Series 14 and the upcoming specials over the next few months, so be sure to stay tuned to Doctor Who Magazine to get the latest news first.
In the meantime, how do you think Mavic Chen will ‘return’ in the upcoming Doctor Who episodes? And which other characters would you most like to come back? Let us know in the comments below.