“The Daleks are coming back and they’re worse than ever. Just you wait until you see what they’re going to do," Steven Moffat warned us recently.
And now we know that the first episode of Doctor Who series seven will be entitled Asylum of the Daleks (as tweeted by Dalek operator Nicolas Pegg yesterday and confirmed by the official Doctor Who site).
The question is what does it mean? Are we talking mad Daleks (like there's any other kind) locked away in a mental institution? Or refugee Daleks looking for sympathy and a place to stay?
According to executive producer Caroline Skinner, the first episode dedicated to the tin-pot dictators since they got one over on the Doctor in 2010’s Victory of the Daleks will include “every kind of Dalek ever faced by the Time Lord – including the legendary Special Weapons Dalek.” So could that rarely seen Dalek be the key to understanding the Asylum...?
As devotees of classic Who will know, the Special Weapons Dalek was a heavily armoured, battle-scarred bruiser, toting a huge energy cannon. It's never known to have spoken but it was eloquent in its own way, capable of vapourising two ordinary Daleks with a single blast and withstanding their conventional Dalek weapons without any discernable damage.
The Special Weapons Dalek is thought to to have been destroyed when the shockwave from the Daleks' exploding home planet of Skaro battered the Imperial Dalek Mothership, so if it still exists, the Asylum in question might refer to some kind of sanctuary that has somehow preserved it - along with every type of Dalek ever to have existed.
On the other hand, there are suggestions that the huge energy source used to power the Special Weapons Dalek’s armoury leaked radiation that altered the structure of its brain, rendering it (even more) psychotic (than your average Dalek). On that basis, perhaps we really are looking at an institution for a Dalek so criminally insane that other Daleks nicknamed it The Abomination.
For now, we just don't know. Even if one of those theories is somewhere near the mark, it looks likely there will be more to the story than even the best-read Who aficionados can predict. As Caroline Skinner says: "If you think you know all there is to know about the Daleks, think again…”
What are your theories on Asylum of the Daleks? Post a comment below and let us know...