Doctor Who has broadened its already universe-wide horizons lately. Between that shocking Season 12 finale, the return of the Ninth Doctor to the audio adventures, and some heartbreaking quarantine-filmed YouTube specials, there's no medium Doctor Who won't jump into wholeheartedly. Now, it looks like the newest frontier is animation, and it may not include the Doctor at all, instead bringing back an old friend.
When the BBC announced the voice cast attached to their latest project, Daleks!, an animated web series part of the crossover series Time Lord Victorious, there was a surprising addition: Anjli Mohindra. While she may be unknown to many American viewers, she played a character beloved to British children — Rani from The Sarah Jane Adventures.
The Sarah Jane Adventures was a Doctor Who spinoff that ran for five seasons on CBBC, the children's BBC subsidiary. It had relatively lower stakes, and followed former companion Sarah Jane Smith as she fought alien foes with the help of her adopted alien son Luke and his friends, including Rani.
Unfortunately, the series was cut short due to the tragic death of lead actor Elisabeth Sladen. But the show is still considered Doctor Who canon, and recently was given a literary send-off with tributes from all the actors reprising their roles, including Anjli Mohindra.
While we know she'll appear in the upcoming animated series, it's still yet to be announced if she will reprise her role as Rani, now canonically a famous reporter. Daleks! will follow the evil race of aliens as they defend their home planet of Skaro with the help of some former enemies, but it's difficult to see how a very terrestrial character like Rani could find herself off in the far-off reaches of space.
If she's not reprising her old role, she will probably try a change of pace and voice the villain the Daleks are facing against, and her name recognition will drive Sarah Jane Adventures fans to the animated series. It certainly would be a new experience hearing kid-friendly Rani's voice drive fear into the Daleks.
The teaser trailer for Daleks!
If Rani is reintroduced, it could usher in a new era for that character. In the Doctor Who universe, she's a "friend of a friend" of the Doctor, but being given a starring role in this could bring her back and reincorporate her into The Doctor's close circle, possibly promoting her from "spinoff companion" to "Tardis companion."
Regardless of whether Anjli returns as Rani or someone more sinister, this new animated series will provide a new lens, and a new medium for the Daleks, and a possibility for them to shine outside of The Doctor's spotlight.
Daleks! will air on the Doctor Who YouTube channel in November.