Like a rock n’ roll tank trundling toward a 12th century warrior, ‘The Girl Who Died’ is bearing down upon us.
Which means we’re in the last few days of being able to speculate about who the heck guest star Maisie Williams is playing. Admit it, you’re going to miss this game when it’s over.
Given that she featured for just a few juicy seconds in Season 9’s epic trailer, the Game of Thrones star certainly garnered a lot of word speculation.
Showrunner Steven Moffat says she’s a new character. However, as River Song would remind us: ‘Rule number one, Steven Moffat lies’ – so forgive us if we disregard his words for the purposes of rampant speculation. Rampant speculation is our regenerative energy, we’re positively glowing with it.
This is important work, people. ‘Arya’ interested in who she’ll turn out to be? Let’s have a look at the possibilities, old and new…
- Daughter Who
The Doctor married River Song. They’ve travelled together, and it probably wasn’t all running and Nazis and Weeping Angels and possessed space orchestras. You have to have a lie down at some point. Do I need to put up a flag?
A daughter of River and The Doctor. It sounds mad. But think back over the past five years and you realise how far Moffat’s stretched the boundaries of Who lore without ever actually breaking them. He’s given The Doctor a wife, had Clara meet The Doctor as a child and when he was running from Gallifrey, gender-swapped The Master, introduced the War Doctor, and saved Gallifrey without ever really contradicting the RTD years.
Would an independent teenage daughter (we’ll get to his unofficial daughter in a minute) be that much more of a stretch?
And yes, this would make her Amy and Rory’s granddaughter.
She’s the original companion, The Doctor’s granddaughter, and she’s not been seen properly since ‘The Five Doctors’ (the opener to 2013’s ‘The Name of The Doctor’ doesn’t count). It’d be as much a nostalgic thrill to have her back as it would to be to see how the dynamic between her and ‘grandfather’ would work after so long. In The Doctor’s eyes could she be the girl who died and the woman who lived?
And while we all know that she settled and married on 22nd Century Earth, we don’t know what happened between then and now. I mean, now and the eventually-to-be then.
In these post-Time War years, Susan could be a blank-slate as far as continuity goes. Right now there’s never been a better time to re-introduce her.
- The Rani
There’s a law that whenever a mystery woman appears in Doctor Who, someone has to suggest it might be The Rani, although by this point there’s always a wink and a knowing grin when she’s mentioned. Technically though, she would be ‘new’ to the returned show.
For a character who has only been in two stories (and one quite spectacularly bonkers special), The Rani casts a long shadow. But is there need for her now that we have Missy as The Doctor’s definitive female nemesis?
Maybe if you positioned it as the grand old man of Time versus a young genius. It’d be a new slant on an enemy, but judging by The Doctor’s reaction in the trailer there isn’t anything antagonistic about his relationship with whoever she’s playing. Shame.
If she was The Rani, The Doctor could do the over the top point that Sylvester McCoy does in ‘Time and the Rani’.
The Fourth Doctor’s travelling Time Lady contemporary was good at choosing her face; perhaps she’s really skewed young this time?
It would be nice to have The Doctor finally meet a Time Lord/Lady who wasn’t trying to kill him and/or the human race. One who shares his love of bouillabaisse. With Gallifrey out there somewhere surely more than one Time Lord can trickle through into this universe and the precious E-Space of our Saturday nights. If there’s one then it should be Romana.
In many ways Romana was The Doctor’s intellectual superior, so wouldn’t there be something entertaining to seeing Capaldi’s grizzled hero being corrected by a brilliant mind lodged in what appeared to be a teenage girl? Imagine the quick-fire exchanges, imagine the eyebrows!
Remember her? Mrs Tennant’s character from 2008’s ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ is now rather overlooked by fans, only named when having a heated pub-based discussion about Time Lord biology and regenerations (ooh it gets heated down my local boozer…), or when, like now, discussing the identities of mysterious female characters.
Could Maisie be playing a regenerated Jenny? Whether you subscribe to that depends entirely on whether you believe The Doctor’s ‘daughter’ can regenerate. Meet me down the pub later and we’ll discuss it over a Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster. First round’s on me.
- Missy Jr
Amid talk of Cloister Wars and President’s wives, perhaps the best throwaway line (is there ever such a thing as a throwaway line in this show?) in the opening two-parter was that Missy had/has a daughter.
So naturally there’s plenty of room to speculate that Ms Williams might play a Time Daughter to the naughty Time Lady, off gallivanting around the cosmos like a cheeky truant on rumspringa from Gallifrey and causing new strife for Uncle Doctor (he’d totally be the unofficial uncle).
- Someone new
To some it’s perhaps the maddest, most far-fetched, most unlikely possibility of all: that Moffat’s telling the truth, and she is just a totally new character.
Because let’s face it, chances are pretty good that she’s not the Teselecta or Kamelion (the prop that still sets Peter Davison’s teeth on edge), or indeed anyone we’ve mentioned above.
Doctor Who is a show about time travel but it’s never too fond of dwelling in its own past for too long. The odd old companion or the rare meeting of Doctors gives older viewers a nostalgic thrill, and introduces young viewers to the show’s glorious, occasionally wobbly, past, but Doctor Who is always firmly pointed to the new, the extraordinary.
Whoever/whatever she is, it’s probably going to be more sideways thinking than anything above. The fact is, if you really want to speculate about Maisie Williams’ place in the show, it’s time to start thinking outside that big blue box.