Doctor Who's Next Holiday Special Hints at The TARDIS's Destruction

On Nov. 23, BBC celebrated Doctor Who Day, the 58th anniversary of the classic sci-fi series. While the series is currently airing, with two more episodes to go in Season 13, the network used the day's festivities to announce that, following the conclusion of Doctor Who: Flux on Dec. 5, fans won't have to wait long before the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions return to the small screen. Indeed, the series will return on Jan. 1, 2022, for a New Year's Day special.

The announcement of the untitled episode came with a brief synopsis, as well as a teaser image depicting the Doctor's signature ship, the TARDIS, cracking at the seams and glowing orange. It's a foreboding image that appears to portend the destruction of the TARDIS.

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BBC also revealed two more special episodes arriving in 2022. The Thirteenth Doctor will return for another adventure in the spring before Jodie Whittaker bids farewell in a final, feature-length special set to air in the fall in which the Doctor regenerates once again. Therefore, considering the holiday special will kick off a trilogy of specials, it's certainly possible to interpret the teaser as the beginning of the end. The orange energy glowing through the cracks of the TARDIS could be the Time Lord's regeneration energy, a metaphor for the end of the Thirteenth Doctor's adventures.

However, the promo may be teasing something far more literal: the destruction of the TARDIS. In Doctor Who: Flux, the Doctor has been dealing with the titular Flux, which has already destroyed a large part of the universe, while also facing the Ravagers of Time, old enemies that were erased from the Time Lord's memories. The Doctor's hands are certainly full, but there's more to come. It has been clear since the Season 13 premiere that something is wrong with the TARDIS.

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The TARDIS console room has begun leaking black goo from its crystals, something that immediately worried the Doctor. What's more, the entrance to the TARDIS has been changing locations, signaling all is not right with the time-traveling spaceship. Because the Doctor has already been dealing with so much, she doesn't even have the time to figure out what's been plaguing the blue box -- and it looks like this thread may continue beyond Season 13, into the New Year's Day special.

At first, it appeared the issue with the TARDIS was due to the damage to the Mouri, the living pillars at the heart of the Temple of Atropos on the planet Time. The problem persisted even with the Temple fixed. Therefore, something else is wrong -- but what? When the time machine began to leak, the Doctor was visibly shaken, and indicated she had never seen anything like this before. This was the first sign of a major problem with the TARDIS, and there may be no fixing it. If the ship is truly destroyed in the New Year's Day special, then the Doctor will lose her most trusted companion -- and it could prove a major shakeup for the series.

To find out what happens to the TARDIS, the Doctor Who holiday special airs Jan. 1 on BBC.

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Ian Cardona (3473 Articles Published)

Ian Cardona has written for CBR since 2017. He is a Feature, Comic Breakouts and News writer. He's been in love with comics for a very long time, and believes there is some good to be found even in the industry's more difficult times. His favorite Avenger is Captain America, and that was long before the character starred in a very successful film franchise. He is an avid statue and Funko Pop! figures collector, and he's rapidly running out of shelf space. With CBR, he has been able to write about his favorite subjects, from the MCU to Doctor Who. You can follow him on Twitter at @ian_c1701 (yes, that is a Star Trek reference) for discussions, debates or pictures of really cool collectibles he probably doesn't have room for.

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