Did You Catch All The Easter Eggs In Doctor Who: The Star Beast?
Let's test your Whoniverse knowledge.
Congratulations, Whovians! After more than a year of passionate anticipation, speculation, and gathering every last bit of information, the 2023 Doctor Who specials have finally arrived.
The first, titled The Star Beast, landed on Disney+ and BBC on Saturday, November 25th, and was a truly heartwarming, emotional, nostalgic rollercoaster of a ride.
Of course, to set the mood, showrunner Russell T. Davies packed the episode with numerous Easter eggs, some of which were so subtle you could easily have missed them.
Here are the major Whoniverse references we noticed in The Star Beast. See if you caught them all.
Unlike previous episodes, The Star Beast begins with the Doctor and Donna addressing us directly, summarizing previous events important to the story. The narration begins with the words 'once upon a Time Lord', which is the title of a recent Doctor Who graphic novel.
In addition, Donna's narration includes a series of flashbacks to the most epic adventures of the Tenth and his fan-favorite companion.
The Doctor's Catchphrases
Sure enough, we get to hear both of the Tenth's legendary catchphrases: 'What? What?! WHAT?!' and 'Allons-y!' quite early in the episode. After all, David Tennant's face is an obligation the creators can't ignore.
There are plenty of nods to Donna's brilliant arc in the series, from the theme music playing as she and her daughter leave the market, to her always managing to miss big alien sightings, to Temple-Noble sounding like an 'old ruin,' to the heartbreaking 'binary, binary, binary' line.
Viewers also learn that Donna gave away all the money the Nobles won thanks to the Doctor's lottery ticket because her subconscious made her act as selflessly as the Doctor.
The new Russell T Davies era begins with a new Rose, which is quite symbolic. This time, Rose is Donna's daughter, and the name was chosen by the teenager herself, based on what we later learn is the repressed memories of the Doctor/Donna adventures that were passed on to her at birth.
By the end of the episode, we realize that all the toys Rose has been making refer to the creatures her mother has encountered during her TARDIS travels.
The episode mentions two of Donna's old friends. Nerys was part of Donna's very first episode, attended both of her weddings, and is apparently more of a frenemy still lurking nearby. And Susie Mair was mentioned in Donna's last episode, after her memory was erased.
The Doctor mentions his previous incarnations several times in the episode, with the Thirteenth getting special attention. It was only a few hours ago that Tennant's Time Lord had the face of Jodie Whittaker, so he is still getting used to the new male body, and the psychic paper still calls him 'Grandmistress'.
The episode introduces the new character who is set to play a role in the future. Shirley Anne Bingham is the 56th scientific advisor of UNIT. Her name is a nod to the show's iconic vision mixer, Shirley Coward, who created the visual aspect of the Doctor's regeneration.
While talking to Shirley Anne, the Fourteenth mentions that he was the first UNIT advisor, referring to the Third's old adventure. And she refers to the Doctor as 'Jammie', which is likely a nod to the Jammie Dodgers so beloved of the Eleventh. Does this mean that Shirley Anne has met Matt Smith's Time Lord?
The Marvel Comics
The Star Beast is based on a 40-year-old Doctor Who comic. And the characters of Beep the Meep and the Wrarth Warriors are taken directly from it. To honor the source material, Davis named the factory where the story takes place after the writers of the original comic, Pat Mills and John Wagner, Mills & Wagner Steelworks.
The Sonic Screwdriver
The sonic screwdriver that Tennant's Time Lord got from the Thirteenth has gotten some new features (it can now write in mid-air and create energy fields), but it's still perfect for vibrating concrete and still can't get through a deadlock seal, both of which originated during Christopher Eccleston's Doctor era.
The Shadow Proclamation
The Shadow Proclamation is a convenient way to temporarily stop a conflict and have a reasonable discussion. It was created by Russell T Davies and first used in the premiere episode of the modern era. The barrister's wig that the Doctor produces out of thin air is a throwback to Tom Baker's Time Lord and the moment when he donned this unfashionable accessory.
The Sealed Room
The tear-jerking scene that leads to Donna uncovering her suppressed memories of past adventures, along with the Time Lord energy trapped in her subconscious, takes place in a spaceship room divided by a partition. It is a visual reference to the heart-wrenching moment when the Tenth was fatally poisoned by radiation and had to regenerate while Donna's grandfather Wilf stood on the other side of the room.
Wild Blue Yonder, the second of the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials, will air on BBC and Disney+ on Saturday, December 2, 2023.