It’s a beautiful tragedy; a destructive war ends two of the most powerful races in the universe. And the one responsible for their destruction also just happens to be the most fantastic man known to humankind and every other species around. His name is the Doctor- last of the Time Lords.
Or is he?
The Time Lords are a fascinating race, made only more mighty and mysterious by their collective extermination sometime in between the Doctor Who telemovie of 1996 and the 2005 return series. And after some extensive research (i.e. excellent procrastination), it is my firm belief that despite the devastation of the Last Great Time War and the Doctor’s status as “last of the Time Lords”, the people of Gallifrey can and should return to the television series and back into the Whoniverse. This isn’t a new argument of course; we’ve seen the Master return time and time again, fulfilling the Face of Boe’s prophecy from Season 3 that the Doctor is not alone. Might this prophecy still be viable? If so, it would be the ideal means for the Doctor to reunite with former companion and Lady President, Romana, and give new audiences a proper onscreen introduction to the Doctor’s elusive brother, Irving Braxiatel.
Reason #1: The Doctor is not a sole survivor.
Our knowledge of the Last Great Time War has increased thanks to the 9th, 10th and 11th Doctors, but there is still plenty of speculation surrounding the War’s course of events. And despite the Doctor bearing full responsibility for the deaths of Gallifreyans and Daleks alike, it has now been made clear that he did not destroy everyone. The Dalek Cult of Skaro survived through the Void, and have since made several appearances in the return series. The Doctor’s other arch enemy, the Master, also survived, abandoning Gallifrey before the war had ended (this being the reason he was surprised when the Doctor informed him in “The Sound of The Drums” that they were the last of their race).
It is, therefore, also reasonable to suggest that other Time Lords or Gallifreyan companions (such as Leela and Narvin who continue to feature in the “Gallifrey” Audio series) survived the Time War through parallel universes. The canon of all this is complex and doesn’t fit well together, but due to the War’s catastrophic flux-like nature spanning across time and space, it’s absolutely possible that Romana, Leela, Narvin and eventually Braxiatel were not present at the end of the War. They were definitely around when the conflict began, but it can be suggested from the prose novels, audio dramas, and passing references from the comics, that the four characters were settled on one of the alternate Gallifrey’s or in Braxiatel’s Gallery at the time the Doctor ended the War. And as travelling through parallel universes has been used more than once in the Doctor Who return series, there is no reason why a crossover by the Doctor or Romana’s company couldn’t occur. Additionally, and this is where canonicity also becomes fragmented, it was recorded that Romana herself was in possession of a functional TARDIS during this period (but was unable to use it due to the closing up of the universe they were in). So, from a canon perspective, no matter how Romana and Braxiatel may have survived another few centuries, the current writers of Doctor media do have previous material to base current theories on.
Reason #2: Opportunity for Character Development
It is generally agreed among Whovians that while the majority of Doctor’s recent human companions have been engaging; it’s about time Moffat and his team shook things up- i.e. bring back alien companions. The Doctor is not a xenophobe; he loves the universe and the amazing things it contains. Why wouldn’t you use such a wonderful means to reintroduce alien companions?
And despite the fact that “humans look Time Lord”, according to the 11th Doctor, Gallifreyans think and act very differently the typical naïve human. For one thing, Time Lords share a deep knowledge and appreciation of the galaxies and the fabric of time. The audience can still be educated without the Doctor always explaining to his companion in layman’s terms where and when they are, and what those strange creatures are. Storylines would carry more intensity and drive if a group of higher-thinking time-travellers found themselves in an unusual situation.
Since the Time War, Romana’s experiences would have matured her greatly, and as her incarnations took on new appearances, so too did her personality. Surely she still longs for another adventure with the Doctor in his TARDIS? Braxiatel on the other hand, has only been mentioned in passing in the TV series, but his portrayal in the DW comic and audio series has proved that he too is a seasoned traveller, with several triumphs and hardships of his own. And although on the surface he may seem of a very different ilk to the Doctor, the fact that his first departure from Gallifrey inspired his younger brother to seek the stars, immediately creates a vital connection between them. As a sidenote, although I am generally opposed to the constant unrequited love stories/friendships that always end in some sort of heartbreak, think of all the potential tension amongst the three Time Lords in constant travel with each other. Untold stories of war, secret romantic attraction, and longing for company are all emotional themes that could be factored into future scripts. The possibilities are endless.
Reason #3: Opportunity for Perfect Casting
Similarly, ideas of how these Time Lords would appear and behave would be largely influenced by the actors portraying them. At this point in time (no pun intended), it would seem very appropriate to get the Doctor-Romana-Braxiatel reunion ball rolling during the 12th Doctor’s reign. Peter Capaldi’s anticipated Christmas debut after the 50th Anniversary special marks an important period of change in the show’s history and the Doctor’s characterisation in general. In July 2013, it was announced that American actress Juliet Landau would play a new incarnation of Romana in the final instalment of the “Gallifrey” audio series. In addition to audio and stage work, Landau is very experienced in film and television, notably among younger audiences as Drusilla in the Buffy/Angel series. Not only that, but she is only a few years younger than Capaldi, which prompts the potential for an onscreen chemistry Doctor Who viewers haven’t seen before. As for dear Braxiatel, no word on whether Miles Richardson has considered bringing his character to life onscreen, but the brotherly relationship between Brax and the Doctor would be an interesting one to see played out in the TV series canon.
In summation, the need for alien companions on Doctor Who is great; experimenting on the show will not please all its fans, yes, but after 50 years, an aging Doctor needs companions who can keep up with him for an alternative sort of adventure. If the Master and Rassilon can return, and the show approaching a new era, the return of other Time Lords well and truly appears imminent.
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