The Doctor could come face to face with the one of his oldest enemies in the new season of Doctor Who. When time gets truly wonky, the Doctor may have to fight the Valeyard — his future evil self.
Details on the plot of Doctor Who Season 10 are scarce, but we do know that it will be a fresh start for the quirky sci-fi epic, complete with a more welcoming tone for new viewers. But for hardcore fans, there’s every reason to believe villains from the show’s long-running history could resurface. James Aggas of Fansided postulated on October 10 that the Valeyard could be a potential antagonist in the 2017 upcoming season, and it makes good sense.
Though referenced as recently as 2013’s “The Name of the Doctor,” the Valeyard only appeared in one episode of Doctor Who: “The Trial of the Time Lord” in 1986. Played by Michael Jayston, the Valeyard was a court prosecutor on the planet Gallifrey. But, the Master reveals to the Doctor that there’s a secret to the identity of this person: “The Valeyard, Doctor, is your penultimate reincarnation … Somewhere between your twelfth and final regeneration.”
In “The Name of the Doctor,” the evil Great Intelligence (Richard E. Grant) taunted the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) with the knowledge that the Doctor would be known by more insidious names before his eventual death including “the beast” and “The Valeyard.” In the 2015 Titan Comic Book series “Four Doctors” the 10th (David Tennant) and 11th Doctors are forced to team-up with the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi). Because the 10th Doctor doesn’t believe he could have a 12th incarnation, he incredulously assumes that the 12th Doctor is “the Valeyard” and regards him with scorn.
But, because the events of “The Time of the Doctor” reset the Doctor’s regeneration cycle, the idea of a “penultimate” version of the Doctor is now pushed further into the future. Initially, the Doctor was only supposed to have 13 versions of himself, but the revelation of the “War Doctor” (Jon Hurt) in “The Day of the Doctor” changed all that. Though the War Doctor existed “in between” two incarnations — the 8th and 9th Doctors — he wasn’t the Valeyard exactly. Meaning, with a new regeneration cycle on the table, the Valeyard could haunt the Doctor again. Plus, even in “The Trial of the Time Lord,” the Master says “12th and final incarnation” which could put the Valeyard literally anywhere after Capaldi’s Doctor.
During New York Comic Con on October 7, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat mentioned that the previous two seasons of the show had “gotten dark.” A lot of this darkness can be attributed to Peter Capaldi’s more complex and somber Doctor, a decided departure from the upbeat David Tennant and Matt Smith. Could Capaldi’s 12th Doctor be headed for a confrontation with the psychical embodiment of all of his angst and darkness? If the next season of Doctor Who brings a fresh approach to the show, bringing back an old and totally under-explored villain like the Valeyard would be the perfect element to liven things up.