Game of Thrones and Alien exist in Doctor Who – so what’s going on with all these actors?

Maisie Williams and Ashildr exist in the same universe - and we might have worked out why

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Just when you thought Doctor Who or Game of Thrones couldn’t get more complicated, they do it again – because it turns out that there’s even more crossover between the two series than we first imagined.

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Remember that bit in 2014 festive special Last Christmas where Faye Marsay’s Shona looked at her to-do list for Christmas Day? If not, we have the picture below, and as one eagle-eyed redditor has pointed out a few things about it don’t add up.

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Shona is planning a Game of Thrones marathon – but if that show exists in Doctor Who’s version of reality, why do so many of the actors (20 at our last count) look familiar? If the Doctor tuned in, would he recognize his old acquaitance Father Octavian in Iain Glen’s Jorah Mormont, Tim Latimer in Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s Jojen Reed or Professor Lazarus in Mark Gatiss’ Tycho Nestoris? Heck, Faye Marsay herself appeared in the HBO series last year.

And that’s not even to mention the resemblance of a certain rebellious immortal, Ashildr, to the central role of Arya Stark. Within the Whoniverse, is a fictional version of Maisie Williams really making TV and film while looking exactly like the former Viking, or was Ashildr bored enough in the 21st century to try out acting under a fake name that’s the real name of her real-life actress? God, our heads hurt.

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That said, there may be some answers to this confusion that’s not just “stop picking holes in TV shows you sad, sad people”. It’s previously been established in the Whoniverse that identical characters (for example the two roles played by Eve Myles, The Unquiet Dead’s Gwyneth and Torchwood’s Gwen Cooper) can be explained by spatial genetic multiplicity, where people have traits passed on to them through time by their ancestors.

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So maybe the Thomas Brodie-Sangster of the Whoniverse is related to and takes after Tim Latimer, while Father Octavian is the spit of his ancestor Iain Glen.  And you could argue that this theory could apply to pretty much any other time a real-life film or TV show including a Doctor Who cast member is referenced in Doctor Who (though that’s actually not that often).

As for how the film Alien can exist in the Whoniverse (as was stated by another character in the same Christmas special) when one of that movie’s stars is played by War Doctor John Hurt, well that’s obvious. The Doctor clearly saw this scene at some point, and felt the subconscious need to remind himself of some important lesson as he did when he chose to use Peter Capaldi’s face.

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In other words, he wanted to make sure he never let aliens hatch inside his stomach. Because knowing is half the battle.