Since it’s return all the way back in 2005, Doctor Who has often kept fans at bay between series with small prequel or “in-betweener” episodes, quick shorts that bridge gaps between episodes or set up series premieres. Steven Moffat and the Who crew aren’t changing course for series 9, and have released a brief episode ahead of the show’s return Sept. 19.
The short depicts Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in hiding, speaking with High Priestess Ohila – one of the Sisterhood of the Karn last seen in the “Night of the Doctor” prologue to the “Day of the Doctor” 50th anniversary special – about some unseen enemy the Doctor is trying to avoid. The two confirm a long-standing history between the Doctor and this enemy, so it’s entirely possible they could be referring to the Master (aka Missy), played by Michelle Gomez in season 8 and confirmed to be reprising the role in the series’ first two episodes. Ohila also tells the Doctor that whatever he’s up to will result in his “destruction,” which has already got Who fans wringing their hands speculating that Capaldi’s days on the TARDIS might be numbered. Check it out:
Doctor Who fandom can get a little carried away with the theorizing at times, but it would be a shame if Moffat is already seeding Capaldi’s exit from the show and the Doctor’s next regeneration. Capaldi’s take on the Doctor – which began with last year’s series 8 – was a breath of fresh air for the show, a welcome deviation from the more youthful turns the character had taken during the Matt Smith and David Tennant eras. Capaldi is a cantankerous, aged Doctor who isn’t afraid to be hated, and the question of how good a person the Doctor is was central to series 8. It would also be a shame to see another actor vacate the role so quickly – the longest-tenured Doctor in the new series is Tennant, who left after just three seasons (and a handful of specials). I can’t speak for all Who fans, but I’m ready for an actor who settles in with the Doctor for a good, long while, and I definitely wouldn’t mind if that was Capaldi.
Doctor Who returns next Saturday with the series premiere, “The Magician’s Apprentice.” Jenna Coleman will once again return as companion Clara Oswald. If you need more than the short to get you stoked for the new season, take a look at the series 9 trailer: