‘The Power of the Doctor’ is Jodie Whittaker’s last outing as the Thirteenth Doctor. Here’s everything we know so far.
(Check out our latest piece: What did we learn from the new Power of the Doctor trailer?)
First, we’ve known for a while that the Doctor’s arch enemy is returning for this epic centenary special, his presence being hinted at in the final episode of Doctor Who: Flux where the Doctor was told, “Beware the forces that mass against you, and their Master.” His return in ‘The Power of the Doctor’ was then confirmed in the trailer that followed ‘Legend of the Sea Devils,’ although we see Sacha Dhawan’s Master in two different forms – one being a young, clean-shaven renegade, and another being a somewhat older, bearded variant.
And whilst these various Masters may bring ‘The Curse of Fatal Death‘ to mind, it does suggest that something timey-wimey is going on in ‘The Power of the Doctor,’ particularly as David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be appearing in the episode that follows, seemingly in older forms.
Dhawan, meanwhile, has revealed that ‘The Power of the Doctor’ is a somewhat emotional final outing for the Thirteenth Doctor and his incarnation of the Master. Speaking in the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine, Dhawan said: “I wanted it to be epic and moving, and when I watched the episode myself, I thought, ‘I’m so glad we landed that,’ because it kind of takes your breath away a bit.
“Which actually makes the scenes much more electrifying, and a lot more moving than I thought they would be. Especially in the centenary special. I watched the episode on my laptop in a dark room the other day, and I was just a blubbering mess.”
This may not come as a massive surprise given that ‘The Power of the Doctor’ will be Whittaker’s last, and it will also likely be the final outing for companions Dan Lewis and Yasmin Khan. Plus, regeneration episodes tend to be somewhat emotional affairs, the only (possible) exception being the Sixth Doctor’s death-by-tumultuous-buffeting in ‘Time and the Rani.’
At the same time, ‘The Power of the Doctor’ promises to contain some Sherlock Holmes-style plot twists. According to Doctor Who Magazine‘s Paul Kirkley, the special contains a revelation that will stun everyone.
“There’s one pivotal, jaw-dropping moment in the episode — no spoilers, but you’ll know it when you see it — that Sacha Dhawan is particularly proud of,” he wrote. “When the great Terrance Dicks first proposed the character of the Master to producer Barry Letts more than half a century ago, he famously sold him as ‘the Moriarty to the Doctor’s Holmes.’ So it’s fitting that Sacha’s Master and Jodie’s Doctor should face each other in their own ‘Reichenbach Falls’ moment.”
The Reichenbach Falls – as some of you may know – is where the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty had their last battle as they locked horns in 1893’s ‘The Final Problem.’ But you can’t keep a good detective down, and author Conan Doyle later revealed that Holmes had miraculously survived the showdown at the famous waterfall. So there is every chance that the same thing could happen in ‘The Power of the Doctor’ – an epic, impossible fight that the Doctor (somehow) emerges from unscathed. Or even in a new body.
And what of the regeneration? Well, we’ve known for a while that it things will be a little different for ‘The Power of the Doctor,’ with Whittaker’s transformation occurring (apparently) outside of the TARDIS, which will be a first for the current incarnation of Who.
Speaking to the Radio Times, the episode’s director Jamie Magnus Stone said: “We shot that last day for Jodie in story order. So we ended up on her last scene. But before that, there were so many tears. And we shot the last-ever scene in the TARDIS, and said goodbye to the TARDIS, and then there were some tears. And then we went out to film, basically, her regeneration. And the last shot that we did, I think, will be the last shot in the episode as well. So it was really nice to do things in sequence. And it was mostly Jodie and Mandip’s [Yaz’s] scenes on that last day. So it was just super-emotional.”
Of course, the next big question is who, exactly, Whittaker will change into. The next Doctor is officially Ncuti Gatwa, but we know that the Tenth Doctor is returning for the 60th anniversary celebrations, which will follow ‘The Power of the Doctor.’ So will Whittaker somehow inexplicably (temporarily?) turn into David Tennant? Or will we get a brief glimpse of Ncuti Gatwa? We’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, we have a whole host of other returning characters to look forward to in ‘The Power of the Doctor.’ It was recently revealed that the Master’s regenerating Cyber army from ‘The Timeless Children‘ will be putting in an appearance – these are modified Cybermen who have been “upgraded” with Time Lord DNA, meaning they have the ability to rejuvenate themselves when killed. The villainous “lone Cyberman” Ashad will also be putting in appearance, although quite how this is possible remains to be seen (he was previously tissue-compressed by Dhawan’s Master!)
The Brigadier‘s daughter Kate Stewart will also be appearing in ‘The Power of the Doctor,’ following on from last year’s turn in Doctor Who: Flux. And as we all know, the Doctor’s former companions Tegan and Ace will also be reunited with the Doctor for this centenary special, and the BBC has recently released some new photos showing the Thirteenth Doctor catching up with her old friends.
And for any ‘Remembrance of the Daleks‘ fans out there, it looks as if Ace will be reunited with her famous baseball bat. Eagle-eyed Doctor Who fans have spotted a true blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in the trailer for ‘The Power of the Doctor’ where it looks like Ace is attacking a Dalek as she did in the 1988 serial. Intriguing. All we need now is a ‘Castrovalva’ throwback so that Tegan can practice her TARDIS flying skills!
So when will we get to see ‘The Power of the Doctor’? Fortunately, we don’t have too long to wait. The 90 minute special is set to air sometime in October to coincide with the BBC’s centenary, and it’s an episode that incoming showrunner Russell T Davies has described as “fantastic,” “gorgeous” and containing “lots of surprises,” so be sure to get the popcorn (or jelly babies) in.
What are you most looking forward to about ‘The Power of the Doctor’? And what surprises are you hoping for? Let us know in the comments below.
Take a look at our previous article – Doctor Who 60th anniversary: Could past Doctors make an appearance?
Thirteenth Doctor scarf – order now from the Lovarzi shop!