After months of speculation, the BBC have finally confirmed that iconic Doctor Who foes the Cybermen will return in the upcoming series of the sci-fi drama.
As revealed in the first-look series 12 trailer, the emotionless cyborgs will be sporting a new rusted, battered look as they face off with Jodie Whittaker and her Tardis team (Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole and Bradley Walsh) – though it’s far from their first makeover in Doctor Who.
First introduced in the final serial of William Hartnell’s First Doctor (The Tenth Planet) the Cybermen were originally depicted as human-like aliens from Earth’s sister planet Mondas, who began replacing parts of their bodies with cybernetics to survive in deep space.
Eventually, to maintain their sanity they also removed emotion from their minds and began forcibly converting others to maintain and increase their numbers. Clashing with various incarnations of the Doctor in various time periods, the Cybermen regularly updated their appearance and abilities in the series, though retained a trademark silvery look with “handlebar” headgear and a weakness to gold.
When the series was revived in the early noughties Russell T Davies rebooted the Cybermen, inventing (in a 2006 two-parter) versions from a parallel universe where it was Earth, not Mondas, that started converting its populace into robots.
In the years since the Cybermen have continued to battle various Doctors, had another visual upgrade or two and (somehow) merged with their main-universe counterparts, with their final appearance coming in Peter Capaldi’s final series where they returned to their Mondasian roots. You can read a full and in-depth history of the Cybermen here.
What they’ll be up to in the new twelfth modern series, whether these are some new versions or ones we’re more familiar with and just how creepy they’ll be in action remains to be seen, but it’s great to see Whittaker’s Doctor taking on another classic Who monster after facing off with a Dalek earlier this year.
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Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in early 2020