Steven Moffat Has Found a Very Meta Way to Work Peter Cushing's Doctor Who Movies Into Canon

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Answering incredibly nerdy questions that never really needed to be answered is pretty much Steven Moffat’s Whovian raison d’être. But with the writer now having left the show, he’s not going to get the option to do that in an official capacity for a while... that is, outside of a new Doctor Who novelization.

Just as Russell T. Davies added a few intriguing extras to his recently-released novelization of “Rose,” Moffat’s adaptation of the 50th anniversary special “The Day of The Doctor” adds a few moments of extra indulgence befitting an anniversary bash. But perhaps the most indulgent of all is a brief aside that finally places the 1965 and 1966 Dr. Who movies—licensed movie adaptations of two William Hartnell stories made to capitalize on “Dalek Mania,” starring Peter Cushing as the eccentric human inventor Dr. Who—into official canon.

As the Radio Times points out, it doesn’t place them within the actual Doctor Who timeline to make Cushing a secretive incarnation of the Doctor himself. Instead, Moffat actually makes the movies exist in the universe of Doctor Who. At one point in the novelization, UNIT leader Kate Stewart guides Clara through the mysterious “Black Archive,” UNIT’s vault of alien ephemera, which includes posters from Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. After pointing them out, Kate reveals that the movies were made with the Doctor’s consent (presumably the First Doctor, which is a hilarious picture to imagine), as he was good friends with Cushing, and even provided a waistcoat for the actor to wear in Invasion Earth.


The Doctor’s friendship with Cushing apparently didn’t just stop there, though; he liked the actor so much he apparently caught UNIT’s ire by bringing Cushing forward in time to a point after his death, so he could make cameos in modern movies. It’s not mentioned by name, but it’s clearly a nod to the actor’s CG resurrection in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. So yes, the Star Wars anthology films and the Dr. Who movies are official Doctor Who canon now, in a suitably timey-wimey manner. I wonder if in the Who universe Ron Howard still ended up directing Solo? Maybe it ended up being a fixed point in time...

[Radio Times]