The monsters are coming for the Doctor — and this time, not even the TARDIS can keep her safe. On Saturday, Nov. 23, the first trailer for Season 12 of Doctor Who was released, and teased that Jodie Whittaker's Doctor will be facing off against more enemies than ever before. The clip features plenty of nods to Doctor Who's classic sense of humor — including the Thirteenth Doctor joking at one point that "I'm not where I want to be, but I can work with this" while stuck in a box — as well as paying homage to the history of the sci-fi classic.
The most exciting and terrifying throwback in the Season 12 trailer, however, is the return of the Cybermen, the humanoid robots who have been a recurring foe of the Doctor's since their first appearance in 1966. "Something's coming for me," Whittaker says, as the shape of the ominous robots begin forming onscreen. "I can feel it." In addition to their new, modernized look, it seems that the trailer is teasing another terrifying new ability for the emotionless cyborgs: the power to get inside the TARDIS.
The Doctor's time-traveling police box has long been a place of refuge for them and their various companions, but Season 12 teases that the TARDIS may no longer be the safe haven they expected. "I didn't know things could get into the TARDIS," Yasmin (Mandip Gill) says, as a monster is seen forcing its way into through the doors. "Neither did I," the Doctor replies, setting up the possibility that the upcoming season of Doctor Who will truly turn everything on its head.
In a recent interview with British outlet Digital Spy, showrunner Chris Chibnall promised that the upcoming season will bring things "up a level," and showcase the sci-fi show like fans have never seen before. "It's an ongoing journey so we're on a journey with this Doctor and these characters, so we want to do big, action-packed, emotional, scary, funny stories," he said. "I think we want to go up a level from last year."
Describing Season 11 as a "recruitment year" in which both the show and the audience got used to Whittaker's Doctor and her companions, Chibnall explained that Doctor Who will really be able to provide some "treats" to both new and long-term fans alike. "This year, we're saying to those people and any other people, 'Here's the amazing world of Doctor Who. Here's lots of treats,'" he said, later adding, "But also, I think, for ourselves, I think the ambition is go up a level. I think we've done that."
In addition to the Cybermen, Chibnall also teased the return of the Judoon, the Rhino-esque space police who can be spotted in the trailer. But according to both Chibnall and actor Bradley Walsh — who plays Graham — Season 12 will rely on more than just familiar faces to scare audiences. "I've got to say, be prepared for the monsters, because there are some monsters that will absolutely make your hair curl," he told the Radio Times earlier this month.
However, fans will have to wait until Season 12 premieres in 2020 to meet all of the monsters — old and new — who are chasing down the Doctor this time. Based on the trailer, though, it will be more than worth the wait.