Since the Dream Lord’s first and only appearance in series five, Whovians have longed for his return. He is perhaps the most mysterious character of the modern era and was the villain in one of the best episodes of series five. Played by the brilliant Toby Jones, it’s yet to be confirmed who exactly he was. My theory is that he is in essence the Doctor and played a huge part in the Matt Smith era, much bigger than meets the eye.
At the end of “Amy’s Choice” we see the Doctor look at the TARDIS and see the Dream Lord look back at him. He then looks away, looks back and sees his own reflection again. Surely this is a big hint that he is in fact the Doctor. It would seem rather irrelevant if we saw the Dream Lord for no reason. Also, although a much older looking man than Matt Smith, Toby Jones’ character’s appearance was obviously similar to the Doctor’s. The bow tie, tweed jacket and striped shirt was clearly a version of the Doctor’s get up. Another hint that the Dream Lord was the Doctor?
In “A Trial of a Time Lord” during Colin Baker’s era, we are introduced to the Valeyard. This is a character who is all of the evil within the Doctor, personified and taken somewhere between his twelfth and thirteenth incarnation. As we found out before Matt Smith regenerated, the eleventh Doctor was in fact the thirteenth incarnation, so an appearance from the Valeyard shouldn’t have come as a real surprise. Although we didn’t get an announced official appearance, it could be pieced together than the Dream Lord did represent all of the evil thoughts the Doctor had and was the Valeyard.
Now that was like putting one and one together and making two, but here is a more interesting and significant theory. Was the Dream Lord culpable of blowing up the TARDIS? When the Doctor is imprisoned in the Pandorica by all of his enemies in “The Pandorica Opens”, their motive is that they are saving the universe from the hands of the Doctor himself. It was prophecised that the TARDIS blowing up would see the end of the universe, so with the Doctor not in his ship when it did blow up, how did it explode? We were told that the Silence were eventually responsible for its explosion but were never given an explanation as to how they managed it. It seems unlikely they managed to do it without physically being inside and they never were seen inside prior to the explosion. If you dismiss the Silence as the perpetrators you then look to River Song, who was inside at the time. Did she blow up the TARDIS? Well it didn’t look like it. Is she the Doctor? No she isn’t. So if the Doctor did blow up the TARDIS as was foretold, how did he manage it if he wasn’t on board? Well we saw the Dream Lord give the Doctor a menacing smile at the end of “Amy’s Choice”, so could the psychic pollen that created him still exist within the TARDIS? Easily so. We never found out how the Doctor got rid of this pollen, so the appearance of the Dream Lord in the console suggests it wasn’t the end for him. If there was this pollen within the TARDIS then why couldn’t that have been responsible for it exploding. We never found out how exactly the TARDIS did blow up, so this is as plausible an explanation as any.
To conclude, it is not so far fetched to suggest the Dream Lord is an obscure version of the Doctor, probably the Valeyard. Granted, it is a little more complicated and dubious over whether or not he was responsible for the TARDIS exploding, one of the biggest story arcs of the modern era, but there is no substantial evidence to rule it out. It would be fascinating to see the Dream Lord return and perhaps see this theory come true.