With probably still over a year left to theorise about what Steven Moffat could have up his sleeve for his final series, there are a few things that he has to include. There are also some surprises he might throw at us. Here are some things that could happen in series ten.
Since we last saw Missy on Skaro in “The Witch’s Familiar” rumours of her return have been prominent in lots of Doctor Who chat. What has she schemed with the Daleks to get out of trouble? Well it’s likely Moffat will want to resolve this himself and whether that is in series ten or in a Christmas special remains to be seen. It could easily become a story arc, the plan of Missy haunting the Doctor throughout the series, with him trying to figure out what’s following him. It could also just be a standard story, perhaps the finale as Missy and the Daleks definitely have the scale and reputation to be worthy of a finale.
Another plot Moffat is probably keen to continue himself is Gallifrey. After a disappointing amount of air time for the Doctor’s home planet in series nine’s finale, surely we must revisit it at some point before Moffat’s departure. The Time Lords’ situation barely changed during “Hell Bent”, but now they have further reason to be angry at the Doctor after stealing another TARDIS. Perhaps a series arc could involve ripples of the Time Lords’ attempts to get back to where they think they should be in the universe and by the end of the series, the Doctor has to try and stop them. It would certainly be the Doctor versus Time Lord battle that Moffat teased us with but failed to deliver in series nine.
Away from plot theories, Moffat could also change the format for series ten. In his time as show runner, we’ve seen him follow the same format as the first four seasons, then split the series into two parts, ditch two parters, attempt a movie style run of episodes and then have a series made almost entirely of two part stories. It’s fair to say he doesn’t like to stand still and he is on the record saying that the format of series ten is once again likely to change. He didn’t give any details away as to what the changes could be however. It would be interesting to see the format of classic series return with longer serials. It would mean less stories, but each would have more air time to develop and they’d likely be more memorable if executed well. At the end of Russell T. Davies’ run, we saw some of his best episodes. Although they were not serials, giving the final few stories of his run more attention undoubtedly made them better. If Moffat were to script longer serials, perhaps three, each lasting four episodes for example, the scale of the stories could easily be greater. Recently, the show has had more of a classic feel, especially with Peter Capladi as the Doctor, so what better time to go back to a classic format?
Now after three things Moffat is relatively likely to do, here’s a couple that perhaps haven’t even crossed his mind. Although multi Doctor stories tend to happen just for special episodes, seeing a Doctor return would certainly see Moffat go out in style. The three Doctors who could return with a significant place in the plot could be Paul McGann, John Hurt and Christopher Ecclestone. Admittedly it is unlikely John Hurt will have the time to return for another story, he has a busy schedule! And sadly, Christopher Ecclestone refused to return to the show for the fiftieth anniversary special so it doesn’t seem likely he’ll appear anytime soon. Paul McGann seems like the most realistic Doctor who could return out of the three. It would be brilliant to see what led to him trying to escape the Time War so avidly and what eventually led to his end. Although we saw him regenerate in “The Night of the Doctor”, seeing the build up to that minisode in a proper full length story would be fascinating. With the Doctor flirting with Gallifrey in the last few years, seeing his timeline around the Time War would go a long way to partially explaining some of the war’s plot and why it happened.
Finally, this would be the curveball of all curveballs but we are talking about Steven Moffat. The Sarah Jane Adventures has been finished now for nearly five years sadly, so is Rani Chandra merely a school girl with a coincidental name in the Doctor Who universe, or could actually she be the Rani? As Matt Smith’s Doctor said in “The Pandorica Opens”: “Never ignore a coincidence” (unless you’re busy). Obviously Russell T. Davies knew he probably wouldn’t have the chance to write this character into Doctor Who when he created her for the spin off, as he didn’t have much time left as head writer, but he definitely left it there for anyone to carry it on. Admittedly the Rani wasn’t the greatest villain in the classic series, she tended to be very panto-esque and irritating. She could easily be revitalised by a return in the modern series, similar to the development of the Master, whose character was definitely improved by John Simm after a few poor incarnations since Roger Delgado. The character from the Sarah Jane Adventures could easily run in to the Doctor, pursuing chaos, similar to Sarah Jane’s meeting with him in “School Reunion”. She could then find a fob watch that we’ve seen in the modern era, that hides a Time Lord as a human, even to themself. Yes this is all very far fetched, but what a twist it would be!