12 Insane Doctor Who Fan Theories That Actually Make Sense

Voting Rules
Vote up the theories that seem way too out-there on first glance, but upon further consideration might just be true.

Continuity is hard enough to keep between movies and their sequels - ask Terence Howard about Iron Man sometime, preferably from a long distance. When it comes to Doctor Who,  a show that has lasted more than fifty years, and which originally aired before anyone had any conception of VCRs, the Internet, or even re-runs, it's damned near impossible. So the showrunners have essentially given up trying too hard - the invention of the phrase "wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey" to explain away any and all inconsistencies was a stroke of genius, even if the show does too frequently feel like it's trying to retroactively rewrite its own history at times (seriously, Clara was prophesied before William Hartnell's Doctor ever left Gallifrey?).

But sci-fi fans - being sci-fi fans - want answers. And in the absence of specifics, they'll make them up themselves. Sometimes, people involved with the show itself make them up. Other times, devotees imagine where the universe of the show might cross into others. Here, with a debt of thanks to my Facebook friends, are 12 of the best. Be these theories frivolous, weighty, semi-canon, or imagined subtext... all of them make sense to one extent or another.
Photo: BBC

  • 1
    599 VOTES

    The Earth Word "Doctor" Comes From Gallifrey

    The Earth Word "Doctor" Comes From Gallifrey
    Photo: BBC

    This one has a particular degree of credibility because it came directly from showrunner Steven Moffat when he was just a fan in 1995. It's the notion that our word "doctor" comes from humans encountering the Doctor, and thus getting the impression that the word means "healer or wise man."

    It makes sense because Moffat himself would get the chance years later to mention it on the show, in a River Song line:

    "Doctor. The word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word Doctor means mighty warrior."

    On the other hand, the emergence of the War Doctor gave us the notion that "Doctor" was a name chosen as a promise, and the word already existed in its traditional meaning; having broken the promise to be a healer and become a killer instead, the Doctor, contrary to River's assertion, could no longer use a name that connoted healing.

    Moffat likes to retcon, but this time he may have retconned himself. Unless the Gallifreyan word for Doctor now originates with humans before being forgotten, and then coming back into fashion when the Gallifreyan usage of it by the Doctor re-influenced human language. Hey, it's not the craziest thing this mythology has ever offered.
    599 votes
  • 2
    632 VOTES

    Why Don't the Daleks Kill the Doctor, Like, Ever?

    Why Don't the Daleks Kill the Doctor, Like, Ever?
    Photo: BBC

    The Doctor has been on the wrong end of an extermination ray many times, yet the Daleks have never killed him. This can be attributable to the same trait that bedevils Bond villains - they want to gloat, and it's their downfall. The twelfth Doctor, however, has added a new wrinkle, in that he saved Davros as a child, and as such, is respected by the Daleks because he created them in a roundabout sort of way.

    This doesn't technically require the Capaldi Doctor to make sense, though. In "Genesis of the Daleks," the Fourth Doctor is sent back to stop the Daleks from existing, Terminator-style, and ultimately can't do it, realizing that he'd also be undoing years of good deeds that occurred in response to the Dalek menace. Maybe they granted him the same courtesy in reverse.
    632 votes
  • 3
    724 VOTES

    Mary Poppins Is A Time Lord

    She has a bag that's bigger on the inside. Her umbrella functions as both a sonic screwdriver and a TARDIS. She has a penchant for scarves and bow-ties, and in the original P. L. Travers books, she can speak baby. Mary Poppins as a Time Lord is such a popular fan theory it's almost banal to even bring it up.

    Since Disney won't be letting the rights go any time soon, this is a moot point; however, the theory is precisely the kind of thing that comes into play when licensed characters cross over in comic books, like when Robocop vs. Terminator revealed that Alex Murphy's cyborg body was to become the prototype for Skynet. Make Mary Poppins vs. Doctor Who happen, Marvel!
    724 votes
  • 4
    482 VOTES

    Season 7 Part 1 Happened In Reverse

    Season 7 Part 1 Happened In Reverse
    Photo: BBC

    It's established that River Song experiences events in reverse relative to the Doctor's timeline. Throw in the numerous instances of foreboding and anger on the part of the Eleventh Doctor, and you get the notion that he already knows what happens to Rory and Amy, and is stalling to keep from that fixed point in time.

    It's a fun way to look at the season, but Steven Moffat's implication that every seasonal arc is leading to doom and death has become an old enough trick right now that in hindsight, it just feels like him going back to the well. Fans will have to rewatch the episodes in reverse to be sure, though.
    482 votes
  • 5
    659 VOTES

    The Doctor Is A Really Incompetent Time Lord

    The Doctor Is A Really Incompetent Time Lord
    Photo: BBC

    He can't fix the chameleon circuit. He can barely get the TARDIS where he wants it to go. He'd like to regenerate as a ginger, but never does. He left Gallifrey before his education was complete. He says he did all this deliberately, but is it possible he's just a dumb school drop-out who talks a good game?

    Since all Time Lords are smarter than humans, it'll always remain a mystery. And that's one of the beauties of the show, really.
    659 votes
  • 6
    608 VOTES

    The Doctor And The Master As Would-Be Lovers

    The Doctor And The Master As Would-Be Lovers
    Photo: BBC

    In the original run of Doctor Who, this one required a bit of projection. Think about it: two elegant, fastidious English gentlemen who show no romantic interest in women, obsessed with one another, one of whom is generally a pacifist and the other having the catchphrase, "I am the Master; you will obey me."

    This became more overt in the modern incarnation when John Simm was cast, and the Doctor started saying things like, "I wonder what I'd be without you" and the Master's repertoire suddenly included retorts such as, "Are you asking me out on a date?"

    Now that the Master is Missy, however, it's been made pretty obvious - she does carry a torch for him, in a really perverse love-hate kind of way. Except now that she's a woman, it's no longer a gay dynamic. But assuming those feelings carried through previous regenerations, it used to be.
    608 votes