In 2020, after more than a year without new Doctor Who, the never-say-die wibbly-wobbly series will return for Jodie Whittaker’s second full season as the 13th Doctor. And while current showrunner Chris Chibnall made great pains to keep familiar Doctor Who aliens and monsters out of the first season of Whitaker’s run, that’ll change in season 12. Back in May, the BBC revealed that the Rhino-faced Judoon—first seen in the David Tennant 10th Doctor episode “Smith and Jones”—will return to face Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.
For long-term fans of Doctor Who, the return of the Judoon is excellent news, as it visually connects Whittaker’s Doctor with the goofier canon of the Russel T. Davies era back in the early aughts. But now that the monster gloves are seemingly off, what other old aliens and adversaries might return for the next season of Doctor Who? Here are six familiar faces that would be great for the Whittaker Who—and three baddies that we could do without until at least 2024.
(Note: Spoilers ahead for Class, the Doctor Who spinoff that aired in 2016.)
The potato-headed clone warrior species of the Sontarans are perfect adversaries for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor because they basically resemble internet trolls. Sure, the Sontarans aren’t exactly scary, but they also haven’t been dangerous since the days of the 10th Doctor season four two-parter “The Poison Sky” and “The Sontaran Stratagem.” The 11th Doctor era introduced Strax, a reformed Sontaran, which, while great as a character, also took away the thing about the Sontrans that makes them such a wonderful metaphor for ruthless warmongering. The Sontarans are basically just an army of clones of one guy, and that guy is a giant a-hole. A newly mobilized Sontaran Empire is kind of the perfect classic Who baddie for the 13th Doctor to face.
The Weeping Angels
Chronologically, the last time the Weeping Angels appeared in Who canon was actually in the spinoff series Class where it was revealed in the first season finale that they were manipulating a ton of events from behind-the-scenes. But, Class’s first season was also its last, meaning the Weeping Angel problem was left unsolved. The 13th Doctor’s immediate predecessor, Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, stopped by the Coal Hill School for the first episode of Class back in 2016. But what happened after that? Are there a ton of Weeping Angels still chilling out on Earth?
I know. I know. A lot of fans will groan when they see the Weeping Angels on a list of returning Doctor Who monsters, but the reality is, they are just too good not to bring back. And while it’s true that the Angels have never been as scary or as interesting as they were in their first episode, “Blink,” that doesn’t mean the Whittaker era can’t make them scary again. If there’s one thing season 11 proved, it’s that the current version of Doctor Who is pretty good at tackling small, scary stories (like “Arachnids in the UK”)—the Weeping Angels could be a perfect fit for the vibe of the 13th Doctor.
One of the greatest crimes of the Matt Smith era is that the 11th Doctor never faced a version of the Master. And, one of the best things about Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor was, naturally, Missy, the version of the Master that (maybe?) followed John Simm’s version of the evil Time Lord. The last time we saw the Master, two versions of the Doctor’s oldest friend apparently killed each other. The thing is, if this is all legit, then that means Missy remembered her past self trying to kill her in the future, which makes you think she was totally ready for it. Right? The point is, the logistics are there to bring back the Master, in some way, shape or form.
The question is, which Master should the 13th Doctor face? While it’s tempting to want to bring in a whole new actor, it would be amazing to see how Michelle Gomez’s Missy might react to Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor. Missy is just too great to leave in the Capaldi era. Let’s get her back!
All the Time Lords
In the season 11 finale, the Doctor rescued three planets that had been miniaturized. But, was one of those planets… Gallifrey? We know after the events of “The Day of the Doctor” and “Hell Bent,” that Gallifrey has been indeed restored to the universe, but we haven’t heard much from the Time Lords since season 9. In fact, the words “Time Lord” or “Gallifrey” were never once mentioned by the 13th Doctor in season 11 at all. Still, the orange planet that materialized at the end of “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos” could suggest that the Doctor herself was actually lugging Gallifrey around for a little bit.
Either way, the idea of introducing the Time Lords as an active part of the Doctor Who canon would be interesting simply because it hasn’t been done since the show relaunched in 2005. Part of what makes the Doctor appealing is they are a renegade Time Lord. And, Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor feels much more of a renegade Time Lord than the last of the Time Lords. Let’s give her somebody to rebel against!
The “The Tsuranga Conundrum” was not only a hugely underrated episode of Doctor Who season 11, but it also casually introduced one of the greatest—and cutest—destructive alien monsters of all time: the Pting. Essentially an energy-consuming, totally unstoppable toddler, the Pting was “defeated” when the Doctor let the feisty little critter eat a bomb; which basically was exactly what it wanted. Any excuse for this creature to return in season 12 will be a welcome one. Not only is it an adorable adversary for the Doctor, it’s also unbeatable in a way that pushes the writing in creative directions. What do you do with a tiny hungry monster that can eat anything?
Of all the new aliens the Doctor encountered in season 11, the creepy, flying eel-like are-they-sentient-pieces-of-toilet-paper critters from “The Ghost Monument” were probably the most interesting. Technically called the Remnants, these self-aware pieces of trash hinted at a season-long mystery that was never solved. They taunted the Doctor about “the timeless child,” but we never found out who or what the timeless child was. So, if the Remnants returned, we’d not only get some scary-ass talking paper but also, possibly, some answers to the most tantalizing mystery leftover from the last season.
Monsters and Aliens We DON’T Want to See for Awhile…
Bringing back one Dalek for the 2019 Doctor Who New Year’s Day special, “Resolution,” was great. But if season 12 is going to feel exciting and fresh, that should be all we see of the Daleks for a while. Sure, the Daleks are iconic and in some ways essential to the popularity of Doctor Who, but since they already made a comeback so recently, we shouldn’t see them again for at least one more season after the next one.
Bizarrely, the Cybermen might be even more overused than the Daleks, at least when you think about the last ten years. The Matt Smith-era saw numerous Cybermen-centric episodes (“Closing Time,” “Nightmare in Silver”) but the Peter Capaldi era was practically obsessed with the Cybermen. Not one —but two—Peter Capaldi finales deal with a beloved companion being turned int a Cyberman; first Danny Pink in “A Death in Heaven,” and then, two seasons later, Bill Potts in “The Doctor Falls.” And while there are some good Cybermen episodes (Again, “Closing Time”) for the most part, these stories move about as fast as those plodding, retro robot legs. Let’s just keep it simple: No Cybermen for at least three more seasons!
The evil Stenza obsessed with putting people’s teeth on his face was a solid adversary for the 13th Doctor both in her debut episode—”The Woman Who Fell To Earth”—and in the season finale, “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos.” But beyond that, we don’t need to see T’zim-Sha or any of the Stenza again. A scary warrior species is certainly a good foil for the peace-loving heroism of the Doctor, but teeth on the face are just gross. If season 12 is thinking of bringing back recent baddies, let’s hope Tim Shaw/T’zim-Sha remains a distant memory and that the next new baddie keeps its teeth in its mouth.
Doctor Who season 12 is set to debut sometime in early 2020, though there is no official release date yet.
Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to Tor.com. He recently purchased a Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who shirt on his birthday, which he wore while writing this article. Ryan’s other writing is often featured with Inverse, SyFy Wire, Den of Geek, Vulture, and elsewhere. He is the author of the book Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and an editor at Fatherly. He lives in Portland, Maine with his wife and daughter. After awkwardly high-fiving Matt Smith at a press screening in 2010, he feels very lucky to still be writing about Doctor Who nearly a decade later.