The Daleks – well, one single Dalek – returned to Doctor Who on New Year’s Day in the winter special “Resolution.” As the story saw a Dalek creature manufacturing a replacement casing for itself out of scrap metal, the monster had a very different look when it appeared. Along with this one-off redesign, though, the Dalek was also brought to life in a wholly new way that honestly makes it quite a bit scarier.
As Who fans might know, the Daleks have been operated the same way for the past 50 years – a performer sits inside the pepperpot-like villain and controls its movements from within. However, the production team decided to bring the Daleks into the 21st century for “Resolution” and made the creature fully robotic.
Crew member Darren Fereday, who’s part of the art department, revealed on Twitter that everything from the varying sections of the Dalek to its accessories were controlled by robotics. He explained that this was achieved via a collaboration between the art department and the props team.
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Before any Dalek performers out there start worrying that they’re being put out of a job, the BBC confirmed to Radio Times that the construction of this Dalek was a special one-off and is not expected to be repeated for future appearances. Presumably, the decision was made to make this one remote-controlled in the first place because the scrap Dalek had a much skinnier mid-section than normal models.
Exec producer Matt Stevens also maintained in a recent featurette about the Daleks’ return that the “Resolution” Dalek was not meant to represent an update to the creature’s overall look and is intended to stand apart from the rest of the exterminating crowd.
All this insistence that this Dalek was a one-off suggests that there are plans to bring the Doctor’s greatest enemies back in full force in season 12. And you can start your theorizing about how that may happen as soon as you’d like, as we’ve got a lot of time to fill since Doctor Who won’t return until 2020.