The Daleks are getting a subtle redesign for the Doctor Who New Year’s Day special

The tinpot terrors have a new skill in Eve of the Daleks.

Doctor Who

Another New Year’s Day, another Doctor Who special with Daleks involved – but the newly-confirmed Eve of the Daleks does look to be making a few changes to the Doctor’s greatest foes after previous 1st January invasions Resolution and Revolution of the Daleks.

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For one thing, this time the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) will actually get exterminated by them – though only temporarily, thanks to a constantly resetting timeline (like Groundhog Day) that keeps the TARDIS team trapped in a self-storage facility.

But the Daleks themselves have also had a subtle redesign setting them apart from the versions we’ve seen before. And while not nearly as extreme as the black, man-made Daleks created for last year’s New Year’s Day special, it’s still an interesting development of the classic monster design.

First up, though, the elephant in the room – there’s still no sink plunger. Yes, it seems like the classic Dalek “manipulator arm” has been retired for now, with the iconic sucker carefully shuffled offstage during the Jodie Whittaker/Chris Chibnall era. It has, in fact, not once appeared during Chibnall’s era.

In Resolution, it made sense as this Dalek had recreated itself from scrap and old tech. In Revolution of the Daleks, the black Daleks were based on that Resolution design, while the “proper” bronze Daleks who arrived later in the episode were from a special “Death Squad”, which may have explained their lack of plunger.

Now, though, Eve of the Daleks seems to confirm the plunger is gone for good – unless, of course, these particular Daleks are special in another way. Based on their main point of redesign, they just might be.

Doctor Who
BBC Studios / James Pardon

Because the really interesting change in these Daleks doesn’t come from their claw – it comes from their gun. As seen in the festive special trailer (and above), these particular Daleks have replaced the traditional egg whisk-like weapon with a kind of rapid-fire gun, allowing them to fire more energy shots more quickly.

In this minor redesign, the new gun looks like a kind of machine gun attachment on the end of the traditional Dalek weapon, with multiple “barrels” spun on an axis to facilitate rapid fire. It looks quite different to the normal gun, as you can see from this picture of the January 2021 New Year’s Day special.

Death Squad Daleks in Doctor Who
Death Squad Daleks in Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks with the normal gun design
BBC

Why these particular Daleks have this new attachment is unclear. Are they another specialist kind of Dalek like the Death Squad or Recon Daleks? Is this a new default design for the Daleks Chris Chibnall has decided to introduce? And does this slight alteration tie in to Eve of the Daleks’ time loop storyline in any way?

For now, the answers to these questions remain elusive. Still, it’s good to know the Daleks are back again – and that when they do return, they’ll be all guns blazing.

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Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks comes to BBC One on New Year’s Day 2022. For more, check out our dedicated Sci-fi page or our full TV Guide.