The Valeyard remains one of the most mysterious as well as one of the most divisive villains in the shows history.
He is an enigmatic figure who was created from the very worst aspects of the Doctor himself, apparently some time between his 12th and 13th incarnations.
The idea of a villain created from the darker side of the Doctor is a truly inspired concept and to top it all off the actor they got to play him Michael Jayston was brilliant.
Sadly however the Valeyard like I said was a somewhat divisive character. There were many behind the scenes problems with Trial of a Time Lord that affected the quality of the series and thus not everything about the Valeyard made sense. For instance his plan to steal the 6th Doctors remaining regenerations would have technically wiped him from existence as he would be erasing the Doctors he came from.
However I and many other fans feel that there is still a lot of potential in the Valeyard story.
We are now nearing a time where the Valeyard should be appearing. In fact we are past it. Technically the Valeyard should have sprung up in between the regeneration from David Tennant to Matt Smith.
Many fans are hopeful that he will be appearing in series 9. He was name dropped in “The Name of the Doctor” which lead to a lot of speculation that he would be appearing next year.
However so far he has not appeared, and Moffat even said that he has no interest in the character. However Moffat has lied to the press before, and it does seem unlikely that given his fondness for exploring the Doctors darker side and his extreme fondness for time paradox stories that the Valeyard would have no appeal to him whatsoever?
Of course until series 9 airs all we can do is speculate, but that is exactly what I am going to do here.
I am going to look at the main fan theories and story proposals that have been put forward over the years as to how the Valeyard came about and just who he really is?
It is possible that one of these theories may become the canon explanation as to how the Valeyard came about. Or maybe Moff will junk them all and think up his own idea, that is if he does the Valeyard story at all.
Still let me know if you think that any of these ideas are likely to happen, and which you like the best.
1/ The Dreamlord is the Valeyard.
In season 5 we were introduced to the Dream Lord. A villainous character played by Toby Jones who was created via psychic pollen from the Doctors dark side. The Dream Lord manages to trap the Doctor, Amy and Rory in two different dream worlds before the 11th Doctor manages to find a way out. Though the Dream Lord is banished at the end of the story “Amy’s Choice” it is strongly implied that he still exists within the Doctor himself. It is possible that he found some way to escape albeit in a different form. Many fans believe that the Dream Lord was in fact set up to be the Valeyard. However its now been 5 years since the Dream Lord last appeared (how time flies when you’re having fun) so it doesn’t seem likely that the Dream Lord was intended to be the Valeyard. Moffat is known to play a long game, but this seems too long a period of time for even him.
Still its an interesting theory that the Dream Lord and the Valeyard are one and the same, or even that perhaps they were created from the same darker impulses in the Doctor.
2/ The Valeyard is the real 12th Doctor?
Okay now this is one of the most bizarre fan theories I have read online, but I rather like it in some ways.
In Journey’s End as we know the Tenth Doctor wastes an entire regeneration. He pours the regeneration energy into his hand and thus doesn’t change. Therefore an entire incarnation must have never been born.
You can argue that Matt Smith would have just emerged at that point had 10 not had the hand in Journey’s End, but other fans have argued Matt would always have been the final incarnation, and so therefore there was an incarnation who never got a chance to be born thanks to 10’s vanity.
It has been stated many times in spin off material that each incarnation’s mind remains hidden under the current incarnations conscious mind. Not just past but future incarnations too. The first Doctor apparently used to have dreams of all of his future incarnations as revealed in the novel “A big Hand for the Doctor”, whilst a comic book called “To Sleep Perchance to Dream” shows the 11th Doctor coming to the 10th Doctor not long before the events of The End of Time in a dream, telling him that they would both be fine
The tenth Doctor dreams about the man he will one day become.
Thus it appears that all of the minds of the different Doctors are all there locked under the Doctors unconscious mind waiting for a chance to be let out and have their time in the sun. However again thanks to 10’s vanity the actual 12th incarnation never got a chance to emerge like the others and thus he grows to be resentful and bitter and hateful, and eventually when he is let out in some way he becomes the Valeyard.
The Valeyard is the Doctor who never got a chance to live. If 10 hadn’t been so damn vain then the actual 12th Doctor, who would have looked like Michael Jayston would have been born in Journey’s End and had his life like all the others.
I have mixed feelings about this idea. On the one hand I think it is a very interesting interpretation of regeneration, but on the other I don’t like the way it makes all of the Doctors different people.
I prefer the idea that all Doctors are the same man, with their personalities just jigged about a bit, but basically the same person, same consciousness, same mind.
The New Series writers seem split on whether or not each Doctor is the same consciousness or entirely different people. Even within the same episode.
The 9th Doctor seemed to just regard it as a change. He acknowledged that he would be different, but didn’t treat it like a death. He still referred to his successor as I. “Maybe you will, maybe I will, but not like this” However the 10th Doctor as we all know viewed it as a death, stating that all that passes from Doctor to Doctor is memories. “Even if I change it still feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering off and I’m dead”. Then there are his notorious final words. “I don’t want to go” . This all but conforms that each Doctor is a totally different man only linked to his predecessors by memories.
11 meanwhile again seemed to view it as a death in some ways. He referred to his successor as a different person. “Any minute he is a coming” “who?” “The Doctor” and of course his parting words also seem to hint that he is dying, though they also hint that he will still live on through his predecessor too “I will always remember when the Doctor was me”.. Peter Capaldi’s first story meanwhile hints that he is a different man and the same man at the same time. 11 refers to his successor as the same person. “I didn’t get old. Anything but old. I was young”. 12 also tries to make it clear to Clara that he is the same man too. “I didn’t need to listen in. That was me talking. I’m not on the phone I’m right here.” However again 11 says goodbye to Clara, suggesting that this is the last time 11 is going to see her, which wouldn’t be the case if 12 was 11 but with a slightly different persona.
I suppose maybe we can find some kind of compromise. All incarnations of the Doctor are the same man. They are all merely different aspects of the same man buried under his unconscious who are let out by each regeneration, with each face reflecting that aspect of the persona that has been let out.
I do like the idea of a Doctor who never got a chance to live. It would make the Valeyard seem like a more sympathetic character the idea had it not been for 10 being so selfish that the Valeyard could have been a legitimate incarnation of the Doctor who could have gone on all of those adventures. But he was deprived of his chance in the sun.
This could also serve as an explanation for the Dream Lord too. Perhaps in Journey’s End had 10 not undergone the meta crisis then the 12th Doctor would have been Toby Jones who would have then regenerated into Matt Smith at a later date. Ultimately this aborted 12th Doctor was later let out by the psychic pollen and was understandbly resentful at 11 for taking his place.
The Doctor who never got a chance to live.
Of course if the Dream Lord and the Valeyard are one and the same this explanation could serve for both of them.
3/ The Valeyard was created on Trenzalore
In the Name of the Doctor it is mentioned that Valeyard is one of the names the Doctor will be known by during the war on Trenzalore. Though this timeline was erased it is possible that the Valeyard could still exist in the main timeline. We don’t know what really happened during the war on Trenzalore. It is possible that the 11th Doctor in an effort to try and fight off his impending death tried to find a way to regenerate through experiments with the aid of the Silence and the Papal Mainframe. Ultimately these experiments could have instead lead to the creation of the Valeyard instead who fled Trenzalore. This could serve as quite an interesting story arc if done properly. The Valeyard could perhaps be the Doctors darkest secret of the war on Trenzalore the same way that the War Doctor was his darkest secret from the Time War, only in this instance the Valeyard really was as bad as we thought unlike the War Doctor.
4/ The Valeyard was created in 11’s regeneration to 12
By 11, I of course mean Matt Smith rather than David Tennant who is technically the 11th incarnation.
11 was given a new regeneration cycle which obviously meant it was not a normal regeneration. He was able to destroy an entire Dalek fleet with it. Perhaps there were other side effects?
Perhaps the Valeyard a being made from his darker side emerged during this regeneration. We didn’t see all of it remember. We saw 11 take down the Daleks and then vanish. Next time we see him he is young again. Maybe the Valeyard was created during that time and the Doctor did not retain the memory of it for some reason. Maybe the shock gave him amnesia or something?
Remember Matt Smith is still technically the 12th Doctor. I am happy to refer to the War Doctor as the War Doctor and the others as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. Unlike some other fans it doesn’t bother me at all. However technically Matt is still the 12th incarnation and Capaldi is the 13th. So therefore the Valeyard could have emerged in between Matt and Capaldi’s regenerations. Maybe the Master who was the one who told the Doctor who the Valeyard really was, was mistaken. He knew he emerged in between doctors 12 and 13, which technically he did, but he thought they were the last as he was unaware of the new regeneration cycle.
It would be like the War council of Gallifrey who also mistook Capaldi for the final incarnation. “No sir All Thirteen!”.
5/ Handy is the Valeyard
Now for those of you who don’t know Handy is the fan nickname for the second version of the Tenth Doctor who was created during the Time Lord metacrisis from the Tenth Doctors severed hand in The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End.
Since he first appeared many fans have believed that he is the Valeyard. Like the Valeyard he was created from the Doctors darker impulses. That was why he was left with Rose Tyler, so that she could help him overcome them just like she did with the original Doctor.
Many fans argued that he couldn’t be the Valeyard as he emerged at the wrong time, between 10 and 11. However now with the revelation of the War Doctor and the meta crisis counting as a regeneration. Handy comes at exactly the right time. Between the second last and the last incarnations of the Doctor.
He seems a shoe in for the Valeyard.
However how can he end up looking like Michael Jayston when it is explicitly stated that Handy can’t regenerate, and how did he get back from the other universe and what happened to Rose?
Well these are all questions that would have to be answered in the show itself.
They could perhaps have it that Handy lived a lot longer than he or the Doctor believed. He had more time lord DNA than he originally believed. Thus whilst he only had one live sadly it was several hundred years and therefore he outlived Rose.
Trapped on Earth and without any way of escaping and without Rose there to hold back his darker side Handy soon became bitter and hateful towards the Doctor. The Doctor had left him on one planet in one time, with someone that he would eventually outlive. And all for destroying the Daleks something that had to be done.
Eventually when he is nearing the end of his life he returns to our universe. Perhaps through one of the time cracks, or maybe through the same way the Master escaped the pocket universe back into our own.
Back in our reality he initially wants to get revenge on the Doctor, but discovers that the Doctor has been given a new regeneration cycle and tries to steal it.
He manages to steal one regeneration from 12’s new cycle. This would not mean that we would only have 11 Doctors. For all we know the Doctor may have been given hundreds of new regenerations as it has never been stated. 12 even at one point speculated that he may keep regenerating forever.
Handy then regenerates into Michael Jayston. After this he then finds the Moment. Handy would know where the Moment was put by the Doctor. He has the memories of the original Doctor after all. The Doctor must have put the Moment somewhere. He would not have destroyed it as it was sentient, and he would not have been able to put it back on Gallifrey. So he would have had to put it somewhere else that we don’t know about. Handy would know however as he remembers everything every doctor pre Tennant did, so he could find it and retrieve it.
The moment is a weapon of virtually limitless power so perhaps he could use it to travel back along his own time line and try and steal the 6th Doctors remaining regenerations without erasing himself from existence, which would lead to the events of Trial of a Time Lord, where Handy would now go under the alias of the Valeyard. Maybe the Valeyard cannibalized the Moment into a paradox machine like the Master did to the TARDIS. Look at what an obsolete type 40 TARDIS was able to do when being turned into a paradox machine. Think about what a weapon like the Moment could do if it were cannibalized by the Valeyard. It could have easily allowed him to steal 6’s remaining regenerations without erasing himself. After the events of Trial of a Time Lord the Valeyard would return to the present to battle the 12th Doctor for one final confrontation using the Moment as his weapon against the Doctor.
I think if done right this could be a brilliant story. They would have to have Tennant show up as Handy for one story say mid season and then have him regenerate at the end of the story into a young Michael Jayston. They could do this the same way they did the young John Hurt in The Night of the Doctor. We would just see him for a brief second at the end of the story after Handy regenerates. Then when he next appears in the season finale we would have the Valeyard and 12 mention the events of Trial with them having happened in between for the Valeyard. Jayston would play the Valeyard the age he is now. Perhaps the moment in an attempt to escape from his influence aged him, or something like that after the events of Trial. We would then as I said have one last battle between the Valeyard and 12 in the season finale that would finally wrap up this dangling plot thread and end with the Valeyards death.
I think this story would be great as it would really help bring new and old who together like never before. We would see a character from the new who actually travel back and be a major aspect of the classic era. Also I think it would be a brilliant twist to have an old Doctor return as a villain. We have seen darker versions of the Doctor before like the Dream Lord, but to see one who actually looks like the Doctor and one of the most popular Doctors would be a great twist.
It would be quite funny to watch the reactions of all of these people who constantly go on about wanting David Tennant to return when he finally did return as an evil, bitter, older version of his Doctor.
However this story would be incredibly controversial, but I think it might be worth it as it would be a very interesting story.
The idea of Handy being the Valeyard was picked up on briefly in the comic book “The Forgotten” where the 10th Doctor meets Handy now older and with a bead and greets him as Valeyard. However this version of Handy is later revealed to be an illusion created by a mind parasite.
Of all the choices on this list I think Handy would be the most interesting, but I would be happy with any, or even none of the choices on this list to be true, just as long as we get to see the Valeyard again. Whilst Trial of a Timelord may not be the masterpiece they had intended I still think there is a lot of potential in the Valeyard and since they are at the time he should be appearing, if not past it. I think it would be a shame just to ignore that storyline.