Like most of the big science fiction franchises, Doctor Who has been spinning tales of its characters across various media for decades now. If you craved more Doctor Who than the BBC had to offer in any given year, you could dive deep into comics, novels, audio dramas, and the like, and you wouldn’t have to come up for air for quite some time. But, just like the secondaryh media arms of Star Trek and Star Wars, it varies whether those stories actually count as canon. Well, now it looks like a fan favorite from the comics may be putting in a small appearance in its parent TV series.
SPOILERS FOR UPCOMING DOCTOR WHO AFTER THE JUMP!
Apparently work prints of this season’s first few Who episodes leaked — on top of the script leak — and one eagle-eyed fan who was perusing the prints noticed a familiar face in episode five, “Time Heist.” Bleeding Cool has a still captured from the screener, which appears to show the Dalek-hunting comic-book character known as Absalom Daak.
This guy is something of a deep cut, and I wasn’t familiar with him at all, but here’s the gist. Created by writer Steve Moore and artist Steve Dillon, Daak first appeared in the seventeenth issue of Doctor Who Magazine, way back in 1980, and he’s popped up again repeatedly in the Who comics and novels over the years. He’s a ruthless criminal from the 26th century who was facing a death sentence for “twenty-three charges of murder, pillage, piracy, massacre and other crimes too horrible to bring to the public attention.” Rather than death, he’s given the chance to become a Dalek hunter. Unsurprisingly, he chooses the latter option. After a princess he was in love with is killed by a Dalek, he embraces his cause with even more fervor, cutting a swath through the Dalek ranks with, no shit, a chainsaw sword. (Apparently he beat Gears of War to the punch.)
So, let’s get back to that screen grab. There are a couple of things that stand out. First, it looks to be a shot of Daak from a police lineup, and the Bleeding Cool article says it appears during a scene that’s highlighting multiple Who villains from the past. Without dropping any spoilers, it’s entirely believable that this sort of sequence could appear in “Time Heist,” given the nature of the story. I can certainly see showrunner Steven Moffat sneaking a reference to an obscure character like Daak into the proceedings, or giving somebody else the thumbs up to so, so this rumor at least seems plausible.
But the still pretty is also very clearly a piece of comic art. (He’s not bad, he’s just drawn that way.) So does is this really how Daak will appear in the episode, or could it just be a placeholder until they hired somebody to get all kitted out as Daak for the picture? I’m presuming the latter, but you never know. Either way, if true, it’s a cool little easter egg for attentive fans.
This wouldn’t, however, be the first time Absalom Daak’s influence has been felt in the Who TV series. The show has actually tipped its hat to Daak via dialogue in the show on a couple of occasions. The 2005 episode “Dalek” riffs on Daak’s line, “Whatcha gonna do now, big shot? Suck me to death?” (Unfortunately for the asker, that’s exactly what the Dalek was gonna do). And the Doctor’s vow of vengeance in “Bad Wolf” is very similar to Daak’s line, “I’m gonna kill every last stinking Dalek in the galaxy!” So apparently Russell T Davies is a fan, if nothing else.
We’ll have to wait until “Time Heist” airs on September 20 to see if the rumored Absalom Daak appearance is legit.