The 12th Doctor will seemingly end his adventures almost exactly the same way his first incarnation did: fighting the Cybermen from the planet Mondas. On Monday, a new publicity from the BBC confirmed that the season finale of Peter Capaldi’s final season of Doctor Who will be invaded by Cybermen sporting lower production value than usual.
While this is being billed as the first time the “original” Cybermen have returned to Doctor Who, that isn’t strictly true. Cybermen from the planet Mondas have been seen since 2005, just not in their old-school 1966 getups. In Doctor Who canon, the original Cybermen came from the planet Mondas, and screwed with the 1st Doctor (William Hartnell) in his final adventure. All other Cybermen (regardless of their design) seen after that were also from the planet Mondas, until 2006 anyway.
In the second season of the “new” show, the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) encountered alternate universe Cybermen, who originated on a parallel Earth. This “Cybus” Cyberman design has been used on the show ever since.
But, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been Mondasian Cybermen on the new series before. The Cybermen Rory threatened in “A Good Man Goes to War,” in Season 6 were in fact confirmed to be the Mondasian Cybermen, though they had the look of the Cybus Cybermen from the alternate Earth. And the Cybermen who the Doctor dealt with in “Nightmare in Silver,” in Season 7 were also Mondasian, though again, with a design more similar to the ones from “Pete’s World.”
The last time the Cybermen were seen was in the Season 8 finale, “Death in Heaven,” where they were being controlled by Missy in an effort to use the bodies of the dead to create new members. While these Cybermen looked like the Cybus variety, it seems like they were probably the Mondasian kind, since there was no mention made of crossing into parallel worlds. Either that or they were made by Missy in specific.
So, what does the return of the “old” Cybermen mean? Or more specifically, why have the Mondasian Cybermen started rocking their 1966 look?
Because this is Doctor Who, the easy answer is time travel. But is the Doctor journeying into his own past? Because, if Peter Capaldi revisits the events of the William Hartnell’s “The Tenth Planet,” fans are going to freak out. Notably, David Bradley played a convincing version of William Hartnell in 2013’s “An Adventure in Space and Time,” meaning it wouldn’t be crazy for Bradley to return as the 1st Doctor in an epic crossover season finale. 1st Doctor Cybermen could equal 1st Doctor crossover.
Besides, the “Day of the Doctor,” never did answer how the 1st Doctor knew to bring his TARDIS to Gallifrey at the right moment. Nor, did we ever learn why the 12th Doctor was there either.
So, perhaps the season finale of Season 10 will answer both these questions. Could the 12th Doctor really travel back to the show’s distant past, fight old-school Cybermen and plug a plothole from the 2013 anniversary special at the same time? Here’s hoping.
Doctor Who Season 10 debuts on BBC and BBC America on April 15.