The flagship BBC television series, Doctor Who has created some iconic villains during the course of its half century of storytelling – and a number of them have become instantly recognizable as arch-nemeses of the courageous Time Lord. The Daleks, for example, are now so famous that they even appeared in The LEGO Batman Movie.
Few are as utterly terrifying as the Cybermen, however, and they have now been confirmed as the formidable foe squaring up to the Twelfth Doctor in the final episodes of the upcoming tenth season. This is a significant development, because it coincides with the departure of the showrunner, Steven Moffat, and the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi.
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) March 6, 2017
The Cybermen have been bugging the titular character ever since 1966, when they came up against the First Doctor, played by William Hartnell. This initial interaction saw the Cybermen attempting to siphon the Earth’s energy for their own planet – Mondas. Mondas was once Earth’s twin, but it was knocked from solar orbit, leaving the Mondasians needing to find new ways to adapt and survive. Being technologically advanced, they began replacing body parts with cybernetic alternatives – eventually relieving themselves of emotions altogether. They became entirely Cybermen, driven by the singular motive of the expansion of their species.
They created a propulsion mechanism that enabled them to drive their planet through space, seeking new species to conquer and assimilate – constantly replenishing their own numbers. This means that, though the Cybermen have been an ongoing menace for The Doctor and his companions, those they have encountered since 1966 have often been other species that have been turned into Cybermen, as opposed to the original Mondasians. The return of the Mondasians is highly meaningful in the world of Doctor Who, because it was the ferocity of their initial battle with the First Doctor that led to the first-ever regeneration of the character – with the role being taken over by Patrick Troughton.
Peter Capaldi has confirmed that he’ll bow out of Doctor Who in Season 10, with his last appearance reportedly being planned for Christmas 2017. With departing showrunner Stephen Moffat confronting him with the Cybermen in episodes 11 and 12 of that season (likely the season-closing arc), it seems inevitable that the Twelfth Doctor will regenerate in the finale, leaving the opportunity for him to pop up alongside the Thirteenth Doctor in the Christmas Special – possibly in a flashback, or dream sequence. While this all makes for an epic season end, the real question remains – into whose face will Peter Capaldi finally melt? The answer will surely be coming soon.