WARNING: Spoilers for the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘The Doctor Falls’ lie ahead – if you haven’t seen the episode and wish to avoid knowing such things, the time to stop reading is now!
If you’ve survived the emotional roller-coaster that was the final episode of this season of ‘Doctor Who,’ then you know that we’ve got a heck of a story in store for us when the series returns with the Christmas Special episode this coming December. The Doctor, reuniting with… well, himself! For a zany adventure, possibly set in the era of – well, that’s even another spoiler, but we’ve got a few leaked images from the shooting of the Christmas special episode that may give a hint.
But I digress – this article is about the fate of awesome companion Bill, who has only featured on the show for this one season but has absolutely knocked her performances out of the ballpark, week in and week out. What actually happened to her is left somewhat ambiguous at the conclusion of the episode, but she was converted into a Cyberman and then saved by an alien “piloting” the human form of Bill’s crush Heather. Bill appeared to be saved from death by being turned into the alien form as well, and then she asked Heather if she had died, as the two sorta meandered off the TARDIS and into the Great Beyond of the cosmos together.
So… what exactly is Bill’s status, then? On the ‘Doctor Who: The After Show‘ that airs online following new episodes, outgoing showrunner and episode writer Steven Moffat appeared and was asked to clarify. First, he wanted to clear up his position on if ‘Doctor Who’ should be seen alongside the newer wave of sci-fi/fantasy shows that tend to kill their main characters with regularity and ease (looking at you, ‘Game of Thrones’):
“I’ll just say this and I’ll get into terrible trouble with certain people…I don’t think ‘Doctor Who’ is that kind of show. ‘Doctor Who’ is a big-hearted, optimistic show that believes in kindness and love and that wisdom will triumph in the end. I don’t believe it’s the kind of show that says there are bitter, twisted, nasty endings because it’s not. It’s not gritty; it’s aspirational. It says, ‘It can work. And wisdom and kindness will triumph. And love will always come through in the end.’ I think there aren’t enough people or enough shows saying that and I’m damned if ‘Doctor Who’ is going to join in with the general chorus of despair.”
Fair enough… but, what’s the deal with Bill? Moffat continued:
“So, she doesn’t die. She nearly dies. She nearly dies and she becomes something else. And we leave it in such a way that, again, I don’t know future plans, I’ve kept away from them, I put it such that, because Heather does say ‘Look, I can put you back on Earth if you want to go back and make chips,’ she could. So any of those are [possible]. I kind of think in my head she flies around the universe with Heather. That’s what she does.”
The upcoming Christmas Special will be the final story for current Doctor Peter Capaldi, before Moffat also leaves the show and allows new showrunner Chris Chibnall to take things over. It’s unknown whether Bill will appear in this episode or in seasons beyond, but it seems fair to say that it’s not likely.
‘Doctor Who’ will return in December on BBC America.