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The Daleks Will Have A Different Look In The 2020 Doctor Who Holiday Special

Ever since Doctor Who was revamped in 2005, the show has introduced newly redesigned Daleks with roughly the same regularity with which Warner Bros. replaces the actor playing Batman. Series 1 saw the Doctor's nemeses in sepia tones, while Matt Smith's run brought us World War II Daleks, eyestalk-in-the-forehead Daleks, and a full line of fiesta-ware Daleks. Jodie Whitaker's tenure as the Doctor has already added the Recon Dalek to the mix, and now looks set to give the nefarious pepper grinders a fresh new glow-up.

The 13th Doctor's upcoming New Year's special, "Revolution of the Daleks," is now a month away. A fresh trailer for the special has given fans a look at the 2021 Dalek model — complete with modular body segments, an underglow kit, and, in a move that borders on sacrilege, no plunger arms. Aesthetically, they're unquestionably the bell-shaped war criminals we all know and love, with some obvious visual cues coming from the Reconnaissance Dalek from 2019's Resolution.

Speaking to Radio Times about the space squids' new duds, Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall emphasized the importance of keeping true to the original look when reworking the antagonists' iconic armor. "No question, they're a part of British culture," he said. "They're like the Mini of Doctor Who. You can keep updating them but the brilliant design endures."

Doctor Who's new Daleks look extermi-neat

The plot of "Revolution of the Daleks" has been kept characteristically under wraps, but there are a few hints as to what the TARDIS team will be dealing with this coming New Years Day. Doctor Who executive producer Matt Strevens teased the episode to Radio Times as a follow-up to the 2019 special Resolution, which introduced (and then summarily executed) the Recon Dalek, from which the new models seem to be taking visual cues. 

"We knew that when we said goodbye to the Reconnaissance Dalek, when it was jettisoned out of the TARDIS doors into a supernova at the end of Resolution, that that would not be the end of it," Strevens told Radio Times.

The Daleks aren't the only fan-favorites making a return in the new special. Jodie Whitaker's 13th Doctor is back, of course, along with companions Graham, Yaz and Ryan, played by Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, and Tosin Cole, respectively. Season 11's unscrupulous businessman Jack Robertson, played by Chris Noth, makes a second appearance, seemingly jazzed on the endless financial possibilities inherent in owning an unkillable space xenophobe. Most excitingly, Davies-era companion and Torchwood star Captain Jack Harkness, played again by John Barrowman, is back in the TARDIS following his brief cameo appearance last season.