Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Doctor Who: 60th Anniversary - Which Villain Does Neil Patrick Harris Play?

For the "Doctor Who" 60th anniversary specials, the historic British sci-fi show is bringing back two of its most beloved actors and rounding out the cast with heavy hitters, including Neil Patrick Harris. The television and Broadway star has been heavily billed in the trailer for the specials, appearing as the kind of arch-villain Harris has gleefully played in cult favorites like "Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

This time around, Harris plays the legacy "Doctor Who" baddie the Toymaker. If you're all caught up on modern "Who" and don't recognize the name, that's because the character only appears on camera in the 1966 serial, "The Celestial Toymaker," which was largely lost to time. Only the fourth and last episode, "The Final Test," remains. It was released as part of a box set in 2004.

That leaves the door open for modern "Doctor Who" to go any number of directions with Harris' Toymaker. The original was an immortal being, potentially a demigod, who loved to trap other beings in a pocket dimension called the Celestial Toyroom. He's similar to the "Star Trek" character Q (John de Lancie), considering both his power and his habit of challenging humans to seemingly arbitrary games. Another similarity is that the Toymaker rigs his games in his own favor — he's a bit of a sore loser.

Neil Patrick Harris plays the Toymaker on Doctor Who

When the first Doctor (William Hartnell) faces down the Toymaker, the villain's power is immediately apparent. He even manages to lock the TARDIS in the Celestial Toyroom, preventing the Doctor and his companions from leaving until they play the game set out for them. However, beating the game will cause the Toyroom and everyone in it to die. Ultimately, the Doctor beats the Toymaker by escaping at the last moment, leaving his enemy to explode.

The character appeared later on in "Doctor Who" audio stories, novelizations, and comics. He has often tried to steal the TARDIS, which, thanks to its "larger on the inside" gimmick, he wants to use as a toybox to house his Celestial Toyroom. Ironically, he was described in the comic "Relative Dimensions" as "a lonely god drifting through space and time in his magical toy box."

Neil Patrick Harris' version of the Toymaker seems like a formidable foe for David Tennant's Tenth Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble, one of the most beloved Doctor-companion pairings in the "Doctor Who" pantheon. Throughout the recently released trailer, there are hints that he's finally developed a plan to settle his long-standing vendetta against the Doctor. It appears he'll be coming after Donna as a way of forcing his nemesis into a confrontation, perhaps even using the people of Earth as pawns on his gameboard.