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The Doctor Who Dalek Design That Bothers Fans

Doctor Who fans have been through a lot these last few years. At the end of 2017, they found themselves coming to terms with Peter Capaldi leaving the show, a new head writer taking over, and, most harrowing of all, a fresh take on the Doctor that unblinkingly asked the question, "What if the main character was a lady?" The TARDIS got a crystal-heavy makeover. The sonic screwdriver was also suddenly crystalline. The entire show saw a 70% uptick in oversized bedazzling. And if the Doctor's aesthetic was decidedly more DIY crafty, it had nothing on the Daleks' new look.

Recap: It was the 2019 Doctor Who New Year special. Fresh faced showrunner Chris Chibnall had just wrapped up his season-long moratorium on the intergalactic ex-ter-min-ators, and it was time to bring a new generation of mutated alien cyborg tanks into the fold. Presumably, the effects designers were in a pickle. Russell T. Davies' run on the series had brought us grungy, sepia-tone Daleks. Steven Moffat had polished them up, thrown a coat of ceramic paint on them, and reintroduced them as, essentially, very frightening Fiestaware. With "grimy" and "shiny" already taken, there weren't a lot of new directions to take, and so, presumably, the production team flipped a coin and went with "even more grimy."

Just like that, the 13th Doctor's Recon Dalek was born, in all of its chunky, piecemeal glory. Not long after that, a mess of potential continuity problems followed in tow.

The upcoming Dalek has fans ready to EX-POS-TU-LATE

The Recon Dalek, within Doctor Who continuity, had a rough childhood. One of the first Daleks to leave its home planet of Skaro, it reached Earth around the 9th century CE. Embarrassingly, it wound up being taken down by humans, and did so a few hundred years before humans were famously flummoxed by Genghis Khan's tactic of "war, but on horses." It wasn't a proud day for the alien imperialists.

Disassembled and with figurative egg on its eyestalk, the fascist extraterrestrial killed the only thing it could: Time. It waited and waited until, in the early half of the 21st century, it was revived by a series of merry mix-ups. With a little ingenuity and a lot of mind control, it built a new casing for itself, using chunks of its glory days body as well as scrap it found lying around. Just like that, there was a new Dalek in town, a model built out of necessity. Nothing about it seemed particularly up to code. It seemed, if anything, MacGyvered together, an antagonistic cyborg that had more in common with a junkyard beater than a Terminator. The armor wound up being beaten by a microwave, with its pilot shot into a supernova.

All of which makes the Dalek pictured above in a leaked set photo all the more peculiar. That design, which looks set to pop up in the upcoming Doctor Who special "Revolution of the Daleks," looks an awful lot like the Recon Dalek from "Resolution." But if the "Resolution" Dalek built its casing on the fly, centuries after its last Skype session with its home planet, then wound up nuked to smithereens, how did Skaro get their plungers on its design? The answer will almost definitely be both wibbly and wobbly.