There’s an incredibly subtle Jodie Whittaker casting callback in the upcoming Doctor Who finale

Will the series 12 finale tie back to the summer of 2017 as the Master takes on the Doctor?

Jodie Whittaker - Doctor Who reveal

Remember the summer of 2017? The sun was (mostly) shining, Wonder Woman was coming to cinemas, we were in for another great season of Wimbledon tennis, and we were also about to find out who was taking over from Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who.

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Yes, after months of speculation (sorry, Kris Marshall), fans were told that they’d soon find out the 13th Doctor’s identity, with a short teaser video of a TARDIS key dematerialising on some sort of plinth setting the date for the grand unveiling.

As we now all know, Jodie Whittaker ended up being the actor unmasked as the new Doctor, changing the face of Doctor Who forever. But was there more to these early teaser trailers than just drumming up excitement for the announcement?

That’s the question on our lips this week after a new trailer for the current series’ finale (called The Timeless Children) appeared to call back to that early TARDIS key teaser, with the Master and the Doctor facing off in an oddly familiar location…

The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and The Master (Sacha Dhawan) in the Doctor Who finale
The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and The Master (Sacha Dhawan) in the Doctor Who finale

“I told you before that everything you knew was a lie,” Sacha Dhawan’s Master says in the trailer as he enacts his plans for the Doctor. “Well now you get to face the truth.”

A shot from the Doctor Who announcement teaser in 2017 (BBC)
A shot from the Doctor Who announcement teaser in 2017 (BBC)

But look at where they’re standing – it’s by the exact sort of standing stone (specifically a “trig point” used in geodetic and other types of surveying) that Whittaker’s TARDIS key first materialised on. The surroundings – rolling green hills – are also similar, and even if it’s not the exact same location the coincidence is striking.

Since we first pointed out the connection many fans have also noted the similarities, raising questions about whether this is an intentional Easter Egg, a coincidence or something more significant altogether.

So did Chris Chibnall and the team decide they just liked a location and wanted to use that look again? Is Doctor Who running out of South Wales locations to plunder for stories (notably, the Villa Diodati from this year’s episode eight has appeared in previous series as different houses)? Or is there something else going on entirely?

After all, if as Chibnall claims this finale is “a relatively seismic episode for the Doctor, and for the show” who’s to say these big revelations couldn’t have been seeded from the very start? Maybe his grand plans for the Doctor really did extend from this teaser, which was one of the first things he filmed for the series, or maybe he’s decided retrospectively to link it all together to make for a neat overall package?

Or maybe, again, there’s just room for more than one trig point in Doctor Who and the Master just fancied a scenic location for his chat with the Doctor. Either way, we’ll find out the truth soon enough.

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Doctor Who continues on BBC One at 6.50pm on Sunday 1st March