Our theories on where ‘Doctor Who’ Season 9’s arc is heading

Well, would you look at that, we’re nearing the end of Season 9.

Whoosh. Don’t feel blue. We’ve got some exciting stuff to come: something involving Rigsy and a raven, an episode solely featuring Peter Capaldi, and (hopefully) the resolution of this season’s main story arc: the ‘Hybrid’.

The Hybrid isn’t the only arc this season, however, and it may well end up intersecting with some of the other story threads that are becoming increasingly important as the season concludes.

> Buy Season 9 on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy Season 9 on Blu-ray on Amazon.

So, while we’re waiting for the next episode, let’s take a look at everything the show has set up and still has to answer. Those with an allergy to question marks and wild theorising may wish to avert their eyes.


The Hybrid

Doctor Who 9 1 The Magician's Apprentice Davros

It’s the megalomaniacal pistachio Davros who first brings up the subject in ‘The Witch’s Familiar’:

‘There was a prophecy Doctor, on your own world. It spoke of a hybrid creature. Two great warrior races forced together to create a warrior greater than either. Is that what you ran from, Doctor? Your part in the coming of the hybrid? Half Dalek, half Time Lord?’

Davros assumes that the hybrid will be half tin can, half Time Lord, just because they have history together. But the prophecy is delightfully vague enough to let you make any interpretation you wish. It could be Sontaran and Movellan for all we know (a look which I think would result in a disco-themed Mr Potato Head).

Doctor Who Journeys End Donna

Humans have a proclivity for knocking seven bells out of each other too. Could it be that the hybrid will be Human and Time Lord, like 2008’s Doctor/Donna? (Perhaps her inclusion in ‘The Girl Who Died’s flashback to ‘The Fires of Pompeii’ is actually significant?)

Or Human and Dalek, like the Oswin Dalek (Oslek) in ‘Asylum of the Daleks’? (Let’s not dwell on 2007’s ‘Daleks in Manhattan’.) And if so, could that Human be Clara? (See ‘Clara’ below for more rampant speculation).

Of course, just because it’s a Gallifreyan prophecy doesn’t mean that the hybrid will be half Time Lord.

We’ve already seen a hybrid of two other great warrior races being made – Ashildr is a combination of Viking and Mire – but her being a hybrid is laid on so thick that it seems like too much of a red herring.

Doctor Who 9 5 HQ The Girl Who Died Maisie Williams Ashildr

Likewise, listen out during ‘Invasion of the Zygons’, as the h-word is bandied around there too in a way that matches the prophecy but feels like another feint.

It’s looking likely that when we see the hybrid created it’ll either be in the finale ‘Hell Bent’, or be part of that whopper of a cliffhanger Moffat’s been teasing for over a year now.



Doctor Who 9 3 Under the Lake Clara Jenna Coleman

Jenna Coleman’s leaving, but where will that leave Clara?

A lot of folks are guessing dead, with her various previous almost-exits have seemingly left few other options.

Killing a companion would be a bold move. Well, it might be if death wasn’t so pliable these days. Rose, Donna and River ‘died’ in their own ways. Meanwhile Rory was on fist-bumping terms with the Grim Reaper, and even when he and Amy were zapped into the past by the Weeping Angels it was to live to death. In this show, unless you’ve died in New York, resurrection is a doddle.

But let’s assume she’s going to die proper. The clues are all pointing to a sticky end, with some heavy foreshadowing regarding her recklessness and The Doctor’s duty of care to her, and references to her own mortality in ‘The Girl Who Died’ and ‘The Woman Who Lived’.

Doctor Who 9 Peter Capaldi Twelfth Jenna Coleman Clara7-high-

In fact, she might not make it to the end of the season if rumours are to be believed. Episode 10, ‘Face the Raven’, promises that “not everyone will get out alive…”

The next episode, ‘Heaven Sent’ sees The Doctor entirely on his own, while the finale, ‘Hell Bent’, features this dialogue:

‘Is it a sad song?’

‘Nothing’s sad till it’s over. Then everything is.’

‘What’s it called?’

‘I think it’s called Clara.’

‘Tell me about her.’

Is Coal Hill’s going to have to advertise for a new English teacher soon? If there’s an argument against that, it comes from ‘The Woman Who Lived’, where Me says she’ll become the patron saint of The Doctor’s leftovers, watching over them, only to then turn up in Clara’s selfie.

Is Clara just going to be left behind rather than left for dead?


The Confession Dial

Doctor Who The Witch's Familiar Peter Capaldi Twelfth

It’s the sci-fi Chekhov’s Gun: once we’ve seen the confession dial, we know it’s going to open at some point.

It contains information that The Doctor is not keen to share until he’s dead and become a shiny twisty light. It’ll almost certainly be something to do with the hybrid. How you can make a confession for something that hasn’t happened yet might seem odd, but it’s probably standard in a time-traveller’s will.

I’ve got a weird and probably wrong feeling that whatever is on the confession dial is going to save the day come ‘Hell Bent’. It’s very Doctor, and especially Moffat’s take on The Doctor, to be so prescient, so far ahead of the game, as to be able to plan for an eventuality long before it appears.

You may have a weirder, more correct theory. Do share it. Or stick it on a confession drive and open it in on December 5th, along with the corresponding door on your advent calendar.


Me. You? Her. Who?

Doctor Who 9 6 Maisie Williams The Woman Who Lived

The announcement that Ashildr/Me would be back in ‘Face the Raven’ means you have been saved from two paragraphs of me rampantly speculating about when we might see Maisie Williams again in the show, so count yourself lucky.

But what part might she play in a modern-day episode where someone is destined not going to get out alive?

Is she, as some have wondered, going to kill Clara or be part of the reason for her dying? Will she be the one who dies? She is only ‘functionally immortal’ after all. And she probably hasn’t had anywhere near 10,000 hours experience of staring at ravens to become expert enough at facing one.



Doctor Who The Witch's Familiar Michelle Gomez Missy

Surrounded by Daleks at the end of ‘The Witch’s Familiar’, she suddenly had a great idea.

It may involve a stick, it may involve her brooch, or it may involve something equally pointy, such as an alliance with Skaro’s war trolleys. Or it may be that she was just channelling Michael Caine at the end of The Italian Job.

Whether she appears in the finale or not – and frankly it’s even odds right now – no doubt the next time we see her she’ll ‘blow the bladdy (TARDIS) doors off’ in typical Michelle Gomez fashion.


The Minister of War

Doctor Who Before the Flood

Mentioned by O’Donnell in ‘Before the Flood’, The Minister of War may just be Toby Whithouse messing with us, or perhaps him sowing the seeds of a future story he wants to write. Or it may be an insert by Moffat to tie into the finale.

There’s so much going on in Season 9 already that I’m betting it’ll be Season 10 – whatever (and whenever) Season 10 looks like, format-wise – before we find out.

Unless The Doctor becomes Minister of War in ‘The Zygon Inversion’? Nah. Bit of a demotion from President of the World.

So, plenty of time to wonder who the Minister of War might be. Fortunately we’ve already got a comprehensive list of guesswork right here.

Doctor Who WOTAN The War Machines

I particularly like the suggestion of WOTAN coming back. No, genuinely, I do. There aren’t enough evil supercomputers in Doctor Who these days. Presumably because The Doctor could just defeat them by plugging his sunglasses into them.


> Buy Season 9 on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy Season 9 on Blu-ray on Amazon.

What are your theories on where Season 9 is heading? Let us know below…

> Follow Rob Smedley on Twitter.

  • α….

    I think that the finale will be an atempt of the doctor to save clara like ashildr or with a time wimey way.So i think that the consequences will be the reason,the real reason, why missy send Clara to the doctor and that it has samething to do with her great idea.

  • I’ve long ago learnt with Moffat not to try guessing where his storylines are going. He’ll have hidden a solution in plain sight but we’ll never guess it. Fun as the speculation is, as a rule nothing we guess will be right. It’s easier to sit back and watch it unfold.

    • Tazmon L’vis Sims

      The most Brilliant statement on here!!!!

    • ThePurpleFrockCoat

      Moffat loves to dangle carrots and fans still take the bait most recently with Ashildr.

  • Wolfmoses

    I think that Clara will regenerate. She was in the Salem when the energy from the doctor spread over Skaro. That’s why he’s worried that Clara has taken on time lord personality traits. He also knows that once she regenerates the old Clara will “dead” and gone forever. He is happy that enshildr still cares because it shows that Clara still has a shot to stay a good person even when immortal

    • Stephen Barton

      no energy entered her though, they made a visual point of that, as she wasn’t connected to Davros.

      • Timewarp

        This is the show that killed off the main character THEN got out of it by explaining that the person we saw die was a robot controlled by the main character.

  • Kathy Hoover

    You forgot one other “hybrid”….River Song! She is human PLUS Time Lord as anyone knows. Does her appearance in the Christmas special belong in the season story arc? Or, is she just wandering about in time before her death in the Library, and happens to bump into Twelve? She’s fond of jumping out of space ships and off buildings, and the Doctor always catches her, but which Doctor will show up next? In SitL/FotD she specifically says her message went wrong and she didn’t get the Eleventh Doctor as she was expecting, but the Tenth. And why does this mix up not occur more often? I can only imagine what would happen if MORE than one Doctor showed up to catch her the next time she jumps! We shall see at Christmas, but I hope her sacrifice in FotD is not cheapened, nor her final goodby to Eleven in NotD.

    • Dylan

      I’m probably wrong and missing out some major points, but when River met the Doctor in the library, she mentioned how young he looked. Now obviously the doctor was younger to her, but what if she said that because the last Doctor she met was especially older?

      • Timewarp

        She could have been referring to the fact that he was one of his younger incarnations, remember the 1st doctor looks older then the 10th but is actually younger then him.

        • Rachael Culpepper

          Moffet confirmed the time line River meets 12 after the events in Angels Take Manhattan. Before Name of the Doctor. So Dylan you make a good point it adds more to the fact 10 was considerably younger age wise than the Doctor she last saw. Isn’t the Doctor over 2000 years old now due to his stay on Trenzalore? Of course they will Mirror that exchange when she first meets 12. He’s much older than when she last saw 11. Ever since he was announced as the Doctor I wanted him to have a run in with her before she died. Maybe he’ll add an extra somethin’ to the screwdriver 😉 lol

          • Timewarp

            Well again the 12th doctor is still older then the 10th doctor so she could still have been referring to his age/regenerations instead of his actual apperance.

          • Rachael Culpepper

            That’s what I meant by age wise. 😉

  • Anthony John Wadley

    Then there’s obviously another hybrid introduced this week in the form of Osgood /Zygon! Thanks for the spoilers!


    My theory is that Clara dies in Face the Raven. The Doctor runs away, as he said he would in The Girl Who Died. Ashildr/Me being the third party is once again left behind.

    Heaven Sent I think will involve the Doctor trying to somehow save Clara. And eventually admitting defeat.

    In Hell Bent, I have a feeling the Doctor is the one playing some kind of sad song in a diner. A song he thinks is called Clara. He’s asked about her by a waitress who sees him looking glum…and it turns out that the waitress is a splinter of Clara. If Moffat plays the whole ‘full circle’ thing then she could even turn out to be a pre-Asylum Oswin… who is about to embark on a career change. That of course leads her to become Dalek-Oswin, which motivates the Doctor to look for and eventually meet Clara in the first place. He has to now accept that Clara’s death is what leads him to meet Oswin, who in turn is the only reason he meets Clara in the first place. A bit of a predestination paradox like we’ve been seeing already this series a fair bit. Oswin gives the Doctor a parting soufflé on the house.

    In between all of this god knows what else is also going on. I still suspect Me will end up becoming the Minister of War (Ashildr means ‘God of Battle’ which is conveniently more or less synonymous with that) and could be emroiled in a bit of a predestination paradox of her own – that sends her back in time and leads her to become the hybrid of the prophecy, which in turn causes the Doctor to run from Gallifrey in the first place. This could also potentially tie in with Missy and/or Davros once again too – I wouldn’t be surprised. The only struggle I see here is episode length – though we’ve not had an extended length one so far, and maybe Hell Bent will get the ‘Deep Breath’ treatment, and will run for 60-75 minutes to let all of this unfold.

    • KingZy

      oh how wrong you were xD

      • All fun to theorise just the same. My only hope is that Hell Bent delivers something decent…the series hasn’t let me down personally so far. I’m happy to be wrong if what we get is just as good or better 😀

        I got the extended length episode right at least, haha xD

        • KingZy

          Yup all good fun. Hopefully it will be one to remember. With the TL’s involved it could be a good one. Although at the moment im still reluctant to believe SM has brought them back yet something’s not sitting right but i can’t put my finger on it. I could be completely wrong of course and they could be back but i fail to see how SM can keep them involved when gallifrey is something new who has tried so hard to keep away from. I know the doctor saved it in the pocket universe but its still out of reach. It will be interesting to see what SM has in store.

  • Nicolas

    In my experience, Moffat isn’t actually quite as twisty as he’s perceived to be. In the past, every time I’ve said “well, it can’t be X, that would be too obvious”, it has always turned to be X. So, most likely, Ashildr *is* the hybrid. What the consequences of that are, we’ll see.

  • cletusken

    I think that because Clara is somehow connected to all her splinters, the fact that some of those splinters have an active connection to Gallifrey might mean she will have to sacrifice herself to act as a bridge that allows Doctor to find Gallifrey and bring it back entirely.

  • Lachlan

    clara is the hybrid. given everything moffat has hyped about clara’s fate being tied to the consequences of her becoming more and more like the doctor, the whole hybrid thing fits.

  • Dr Hue

    “It’s the megalomaniacal pistachio Davros” you had me at pistachio

  • TIM

    I think it’s half Doctor half virus. So deadly it can’t be released. Engineering by the Doctor to fight the coming Time War, that’s why he left Gallifrey. It’s too deadly to use and some want to.