The Star Beast Felt Like Classic Doctor Who? Well, That's Because It Was Written Over 40 Years Ago
Russell T. Davis has once again proven himself to be a true Whoniverse fan.
- The first of Doctor Who's 60th anniversary specials reunited the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna and introduced a new villain, the cute alien Beep the Meep.
- The arc of an alien feels like a classic Doctor Who story because showrunner Russell T. Davies based it on the 1980s Marvel Comics.
- Davies adapted the story and added some heartwarming parallels and Easter eggs to the special, proving once again that he is the biggest fan of the Whoniverse.
There seems to be no more exciting time for a Whovian than this.
After a long hiatus, Doctor Who is back with a new Russell T. Davies era, fittingly starting with three specials that not only celebrate the 60th anniversary of the legendary sci-fi series, but also bring the fan-favorite duo of David Tennant's Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble back to the screen.
The first special premiered on Saturday, November 25, and was a truly heartwarming trip down memory lane. The Doctor was reunited with Donna, and the two became embroiled in a new adventure involving an adorable alien and terrifying galactic warriors hunting it down.
For many viewers familiar with the Whoniverse, the story felt like a classic stand-alone episode that could have been part of any season, old or new. And that is no accident.
In fact, Russell T. Davies decided to kick off the new Doctor's era in the best possible way, with an old story written 43 years ago.
The Star Beast is Based on Marvel Comics
In the 60 years of the show's existence, Doctor Who's expanded media universe has become an endless collection of special episodes, books, spin-offs, radio plays, and, of course, graphic novels.
In 1980, Pat Mills, John Wagner and Dave Gibbons created a new comic strip for Marvel Comics UK. The story was called Star Beast and followed the adventures of the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) who encountered a cute alien harmless in appearance but harboring dark intentions and plans within.
Beep The Meep, as the alien was called, crashed on Earth and tried to take control of the city, starting with Sharon Davies, the future Doctor's first black companion. The Fourth uncovered and stopped the plans of the evil creature, who later made several appearances in the comics and audio dramas, and had it captured by the Wrath Warriors.
Easter Egg and Parallels
An intriguing plot that still sounds relevant and twisty 43 years after its creation, right? Russell T. Davies apparently thought so.
'It's a great story,' the showrunner recently told the BBC's The One Show. 'So when I came back, I just thought, "Why not adapt a really brilliant story?"'
Of course, he only took the Beep the Meep subplot and completely changed the Doctor's arc, putting the Fourteenth in the place of the Fourth and offering an explanation for how Donna and the Doctor could be reunited.
But there is a nice parallel to the original graphic novel. While Sharon Davies was destined to be the first black companion to the Doctor, Rose Noble, who took her place in the adaptation, is set to be the first trans companion.
Davis also added a heartwarming Easter egg to the original comics, naming the factory where the Meep's ship crashes after the original writers, Mills & Wagner Steelworks.
It is endearing and certainly proves that if there's one Whoniverse fan capable of steering the new era of Doctor Who, it's Russell T. Davies. And we are here for it!
Wild Blue Yonder, the second of the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials, will land on BBC and Disney+ on Saturday, December 2, 2023.
Source: The One Show.