A whole new type of Dalek will appear in the Doctor Who Holiday Special – and the BBC is giving viewers a first look at them.
Doctor Who revealed the new Dalek design for the Jodie Whittaker era. When showrunner Chris Chibnall took over in Doctor Who season 11, he took what proved to be the controversial decision to avoid using any classic monsters. There were no Weeping Angels, no Zygons, no Cybermen – and no Daleks.
The Daleks finally returned in the Doctor Who Holiday Special 2019, dubbed “Resolution,” which introduced a very different model of Dalek. The reconnaissance scout Dalek was one of the first Daleks to leave Skaro, and it arrived on Earth in the 9th century. The creature awoke in the present day and reconstructed a shell based on available materials, a form the Doctor dubbed “junkyard chic.” Now, it seems Chris Chibnall aims to build on this design with a new generation of Daleks in this year’s Doctor Who Holiday Special.
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The BBC has just revealed a first look at the new Dalek design in the Radio Times issue for December 5-11. It’s a striking new look, clearly inspired by the Reconnaissance Dalek, slightly taller than traditional Dalek designs but not as wide. These new Daleks are a bit sleeker, with luminescent blue parts that feel as though Tron inspired them, and apparently, they light up at night – for reasons Chris Chibnall avoids explaining. “There are just small, different details,” Chibnall observes, “like the number and shape of whatever you call those things on the side of the Daleks… which I suppose in a festive special you’d call baubles! And changes to the little things adorning the Daleks – new slats and different layers around the dome.“
Chibnall refuses to give too much away, claiming it’s difficult to talk about them “without spoilers.” That makes sense because the Tron Daleks’ visual similarity to the Reconnaissance Dalek suggests they may reconstruct their casings from whatever raw materials are to hand. That would presumably mean the most striking aspects of the design – the black casing and the blue lights – may indicate something about the environment in which the Daleks found themselves. According to the Radio Times, set photos suggest the Tron Daleks will wind up in a battle with the classic models at some point, perhaps hinting at the development of rival Dalek factions. The Doctor Who franchise increasingly seems to be giving individual Daleks personalities of their own – several quite distinctive Daleks appear in the “Time Lord Victorious” transmedia event – so there could be some quite interesting twists in the works.
It’s hardly unusual for Doctor Who to play around with the Dalek designs; while the basics usually remain the same, the show has frequently tried to switch them up. This habit became particularly notable during the Moffat era when the Paradigm Daleks were mocked as basically being a merchandise opportunity due to their rainbow of colors. But Chibnall has gone further than Moffat, changing the basic shape of the Daleks to the point where a human operator can no longer fit inside; these Daleks are remotely controlled. It will be fascinating to see how the fanbase reacts to these new-look Daleks, given Chibnall’s experimental approach has met with a mixed reception. The fans remain divided over his Timeless Child retcon, which will hopefully be resolved or explored in the Doctor Who Holiday Special as well.
More: Doctor Who Should Break Christmas Tradition (To Deal With The Timeless Child)
Source: Radio Times (via The Steel City Snapper)
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