There are some science fiction designs you mess with at your peril. Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy left the X-Wings as they were in the Original Trilogy and the basic shape of the USS Enterprise has remained the same since the 1960s. Even Doctor Who, which effectively reboots itself every few years, keeps a few things the same. Notably, the now-anachronistic blue police box TARDIS. But it seems that the BBC are starting to fiddle with the other major iconic design: the Daleks.
The fascist alien pepper-pots have been the Doctor’s most iconic enemy ever since they debuted in 1963’s “The Daleks,” and they’re due to appear next in this year’s Christmas special, appropriately titled “Revolution of the Daleks.” Filming took place back in October 2019 and the plot seems to cover a schism in the Dalek Empire, indicated by shots from the set that appeared to depict an army of more traditional Daleks about to exterminate a ‘Recon Dalek.’
Recon Daleks were last seen in “Resolution,” which aired on January 1st, 2019. This saw a woman being gradually overtaken by Dalek technology, with the Recon Daleks revealed as one of the first to ever leave the Dalek home planet of Skaro and search for new civilizations to subjugate. Now, it seems that this design is coming back and you can check it out down below.
To the untrained eye, this might seem like a minor redesign, merely slimming down the body to distinguish it from other Daleks. But Whovians on social media absolutely despise it, saying it looks “wobbly and unbalanced,” that it “looks like a toy,” that it’s been “feminized” and “WTF?!?!?! That’s just awful.” Personally, it looks fine to me. After all, if you’re doing a Dalek v Dalek story, you have to be able to distinguish one type from another.
In any case, at least “Revolution of the Daleks” looks set to be finished on time for Christmas. Doctor Who has become notorious for lengthy gaps between seasons, with COVID-19 meaning we may not see Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor return for her third run until late 2021. So, let’s hope this Christmas adventure contains enough action to tide us over.