Doctor Who Flux: “down-and-dirty warmonger” Sontaran design

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In an exclusive interview with Doctor Who Magazine, costume and creature designer Ray Holman described the process of designing Sontarans for Doctor Who: Flux.

Holman had the help of armour designer Robert Allsopp, prosthetics designer Danny Marie Elias and concept sketch artist Patrick Goddard.

The Sontarans made their first on-screen appearance in the Doctor Who Season 11 episode The Time Warrior with fourth Doctor companion Sarah Jane Smith, who would no doubt refer to the Flux Sontarans as “grotty.”

The Sontarans were reprised for the new era of Doctor Who in the Series 4 episode The Sontaran Stratagem.

The cloned, three-fingered Sontarans have countenance akin to a potato, are fully armoured and have a large, round collar with a probic vent opening in the back. Dome-shaped helmets attach the their collars when they are prepared for battle. The new design was spotted during Flux filming in November of 2020.

“During the first lockdown, [showrunner] Chris Chibnall and I were having chats about what he was going to write for the next series,” recalled Holman to DWM. “He knew he wanted to have Sontarans, specifically warfaring Sontarans who just wanted to conquer the universe and kill everybody.”

“The spin we needed for Series 13 was to make them look more warfaring,” Holman continued. “The 2008 Sontarans are gorgeous, but the scripts we’re working with are about war and battlefields. These Sontarans should be down-and-dirty warmongers in the mud, conquering the universe. It was either Chris or me who said they need to be dirty, filthy Sontarans. After that, they were always referred to as the dirty, filthy Sontarans. Chris and I laughed about that, but it really helped inform the tone.”

“I went right back to the classic Sontaran designs,” Holman continued, “I did research into what they used to look like, and thought it would be great to reference the various designs that have gone in the past.”

“I wanted the armour to be rusty and battered, so we made it look like dirty steel which was rusting away.”

“I knew they were going into battle and muddy fields. I wanted the textures to convey the feeling that the environment is wearing them out.”

Many photos of the new Sontarans are published exclusively in multiple features in Doctor Who Magazine 570

Sontarans aren’t the only aliens designed for Flux. There are brand-new creatures about to make their Doctor Who debut.

The first episode of Doctor Who: Flux will premiere on October 31, Halloween of 2021.

There will be three additional specials in 2022, airing on New Year’s Day, spring, and a BBC centenary special in autumn which will be the last for Jodie Whittaker’s thirteenth Doctor.

Doctor Who Magazine 570 Is available now in newsstands in the UK and by digital issue or subscription.