Doctor Who Series 9: New Photos Hint at Eighth Doctor Connection

We’re less than a month away from the premiere of Doctor Who Series 9, and the rumor mill is in full swing. Now, official pictures released by BBC America give a big clue that the Twelfth Doctor‘s upcoming adventures will somehow tie-in with those of the Eighth Doctor.

Related: New Series 9 Promotional Pictures Released!

The two new pictures come from the Series 9 prequel minisode, ‘The Doctor’s Meditation,’ which will be shown in theaters around the world with the new 3D-converted version of the Series 8 finale, ‘Dark Water’/’Death in Heaven.’ The first photo shows Peter Capaldi‘s Twelfth Doctor with actor Daniel Hoffman-Gill in a previously announced role as “Bors.” The Doctor seems to be protectively grasping a large chalice:

Peter Capaldi and Daniel Hoffmann-Gill in ‘The Doctor’s Meditation,’ a Series 9 prequel minisode. (Credit: BBC America)

Many have pointed out that the chalice looks very similar to the one Paul McGann‘s Eighth Doctor drank from before regenerating on Karn in the 50th anniversary prequel minisode ‘The Night of the Doctor’:

A chalice held by the Sisterhood of Karn in the Eighth Doctor minisode ‘The Night of the Doctor.’ (Credit: BBC)

I’ll go a step further than that and say that it is DEFINITELY the same chalice. Look at those two pictures — there’s no way that’s not the same one.

So what does this mean? Could it simply be a reused prop? It’s possible but highly unlikely. So let’s assume this is the exact same chalice that transformed McGann into John Hurt‘s War Doctor. The Doctor appears to be on Earth in the Middle Ages (most likely), so how did the chalice end up there?

Related: Important Series 9 Details Leaked Online?

I’m going to put forth a hypothesis, but first let’s line up all the evidence: we know that the tall, disgusting creature seen in the Series 9 trailer is a character known as the Fisher King. We know the Sisterhood of Karn will be in Series 9 at some point. We know the Vikings seen in Series 9 (or at least some of them) appear to have come from space. We know that Maisie Williams‘ character apparently manages to stay the same age from her first appearance in the Viking Age to England in the 1700’s. Peter Capaldi has talked a great deal about this season featuring something that is stalking the Doctor and how it will change how you think about regeneration.

What if the chalice was somehow taken from Karn by the Viking aliens and brought to Earth where it became the legendary Holy Grail? Yes, it was the elixir that helped the Eighth Doctor regenerate, but maybe that’s only part of the equation; maybe the chalice itself holds some regenerative power, but it needs an elixir to help a Time Lord. For humans, it could still give eternal life — that is one of the long-held suppositions about the Holy Grail. It could explain Maisie Williams’ character’s longevity, as well. And the Fisher King is part of the King Arthur legend as the protector of the Grail, which would explain his appearance this year.

Related: Steven Moffat Previews All Twelve Series 9 Episodes

As for what’s stalking the Doctor, I’m not as certain. I’d say based on these clues it has something to do with his regeneration on Karn. It certainly wasn’t a normal regeneration, so maybe there was more to it than we know. Was there a price to be paid for the Sisterhood’s help?

There’s also the rumor about a “degeneration” scene in the finale, featuring appearances by both Paul McGann and David Tennant. If the running story arc for Series 9 involves something to do with the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration, then this could make sense. What if that regeneration were somehow reversed? It would undo the last four Doctors and leave the Doctor in Paul McGann’s form!

Related: Multiple Doctors in the Series 9 Finale?

That’s a lot of maybes so I’m sure I’m off track on a few things, but more and more pieces are beginning to fall into place. There was one other picture released from ‘The Doctor’s Meditation,’ showing Capaldi, Hoffman-Gill and a group of villagers(?) marching in front of a castle while carrying shovels. I’ve no idea what to make of this one:

The Twelfth Doctor and an army of shovelers in the Doctor Who Series 9 prequel minisode ‘The Doctor’s Meditation.’ (Credit: BBC America)

At any rate, we shouldn’t have to wait long now! Doctor Who Series 9 premieres on September 19. For more, check out our full episode guide: Doctor Who Series 9: Everything There is to Know so Far.

What do you think? Does this new picture hint toward an Eighth Doctor connection or is it coincidence? Sound off in the comments below!