Since all eyes have seemingly turned to the upcoming Doctor Who 60th anniversary special —which admittedly boasts everything from the debut of a new Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) to the return of a beloved showrunner (Russell T. Davies) and a seemingly endless array of intriguing guest stars (David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Neil Patrick Harris, Yasmin Finney)—it's easy to forget that we have still have the literal end of an era to get through first, in the form of this Fall's centenary special.
The feature-length installment, which will be released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the BBC, will mark the final outing for Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor. It will be titled "The Power of the Doctor" and feature Thirteen facing off against a variety of her most famous enemies, including the Cybermen, the Daleks, and Sacha Dhawan's Master.
On the surface, the title feels like an obvious nod to the Time Lord's well-known ability to regenerate, especially given the lightning crackling around Whittaker in the special's key art. But it also echoes multiple previous installments, such as the 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor" or Matt Smith's regeneration episode "The Time of the Doctor." Does that mean "The Power of the Doctor" harbors similar grand ambitions in changing the series' lore once again? (It does seem unlikely that outgoing showrunner Chris Chibnall would end his run without going back to the Timeless Child subplot that rewrote the Doctor's origin story.)
Dhawan's Master, it should be noted, hasn't been seen since the conclusion of Season 12, when all those bombshell revelations happened about the Doctor not being Gallifreyan. Still, a mysterious alien being from another universe ultimately became the genetic template upon which all Time Lords were modeled. (I'm not saying revisiting the already messy Timeless Chid story is a good idea, but it sure seems likely that this is where Thirteen's journey is heading.)
This is so much aimless speculation, though, since plot specifics about the upcoming special are being kept firmly under wraps. The special has barely received any promotion in the months following its release. We also don't know any details about Thirteen's regeneration (which appears as though it may somehow involve Tennant's return?). Your guess is as good as ours at this point.
What we do know is that companions Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) are both slated to be back for what is presumably also their final adventure alongside their Doctor. Viewers will be treated to the returns of several fan-favorite characters from the series' classic past.
The trailer that aired immediately following "Legend of the Sea Devils" earlier this spring revealed that classic Who companions Janet Fielding and Sophie Aldred would be reprising their roles for the first time since the 1980s. Fielding played Tegan Jovanka, one of Fifth Doctor Peter Davidson's companions, while Aldred starred as Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy's primary sidekick (and famed explosive lover) Ace. However, what brings either of these figures back into the Doctor's life is anyone's guess.
News of the installment's title has been floating around for the last week, thanks to the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine. Unfortunately, due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the BBC was essentially forced to table all promotional and news announcements in favor of various mourning events and funeral coverage, so the corporation had yet to confirm this news officially. That changed this week when the title was finally announced on social media, revealing a new piece of key art and several episodic photos.
(Admittedly, it's hard not to feel like that shot of Thirteen, Ace, and Tegan was more than worth the wait.)
Though the special is slated to be part of the centenary celebrations this October, we still have no word about its official airdate, only that the episode is "coming soon."
The actual date of the BBC's founding is October 18, so a mid-to-late month premiere would seem the most likely move, alongside other anniversary specials from popular programs like Strictly Come Dancing, Top Gear, MasterChef, and Antiques Roadshow.