Doctor Who ‘Resolution’: Deconstructing the New Year’s Day Special’s Trailer

Just after the Doctor Who Series 11 finale aired on December 9th, BBC Studios released a 25 second trailer for the much debated New Years Special “Resolution.” At first viewing the trailer appears more like that of a Michael Bay film than an episode of Chris Chibnall‘s Who oeuvre. There are explosions, 9th century warriors, more explosions, modern military warriors, and even more explosions. However, if we examine the trailer systematically and apply our knowledge of previous Doctor Who Holiday Specials, a coherent picture seems to form. On the off chance that I am actually right about any of this – possible spoilers ahead!

BBC Studios

The trailer starts with a conversation between the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Yaz (Mandip Gill) about the “DNA of the most dangerous creature in the universe.”

BBC Studios

Graham looks confused and says “What?”

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The Doctor looks worried. Very worried.

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As the Doctor explains, “It’s been buried on Earth since the 9th Century.” We see a montage of likely 9th Century European warriors. They could be Vikings – after all, Ashildr started out as a 9th Century Viking. Given the outfits, face paint, weapons, and location, my money is on Celtic Britons or Picts. In the background we see some very non-9th Century explosions. Aliens?

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BBC Studios

We then switch from ancient warriors to scenes of modern warriors in very similar conditions. It appears that the casualty count for this particular episode is going to be quite high. A soldier yells “Run!” as all hell breaks lose.

BBC Studios
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BBC Studios

We see a white station wagon speeding away from something as a voice over from the Doctor claims “It’s not going to stop until its taken control of this planet.”

BBC Studios

Next, a montage of explosions and action shots of the Doctor with her voice saying “Its going to kill anyone that gets in its path.” We see several explosions here: one near the Doctor, one that looks like another view of that same explosion, and one that looks like it may be from the 9th Century. We also see a clearly scared Doctor…

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doctorwho resolution trailer
BBC Studios

Finally, the Doctor is back in her TARDIS – once again (or still?) talking to her “fam.” Graham asks, “Does it have a name?” with the only response being a dramatic cut to the Doctor’s worried face before the Season 11 Doctor Who logo appears.

BBC Studios
BBC Studios

We can add in what we gleaned from the incredibly short “Next Week” clip from the end of ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos.’ In this clip, we have a scene of the Doctor defiantly standing in front of the TARDIS – flanked by Graham and Yaz as she gives one of her speeches:

“Here’s a New Year’s message for you to send. Earth is protected by me and my mates. This year, and every other.”

BBC Studios

It’s Conjecture Time!

So what can we gather from all of the above? Based on the clips, I think the episode will likely start with present day humans digging up some alien species they don’t understand. Likely to build a mall or parking garage. The “big bad” will attack the humans, causing the military to be called in and fail miserably at controlling the threat. The Doctor and her crew will race to the scene, analyze the DNA, and the Doctor will give the explanation that we see at the beginning of the trailer about how this particular evil has been buried on Earth since the 9th Century. In order to stop the current threat, the Doctor and her friends will travel back to the time when the danger was originally buried to get rid of the threat permanently.

Notable is the fact that we never see the dangerous beings during the trailer, and the clips are edited to exclude any mention of the “big bad’s” name. Coincidence? Purposeful misdirection? Is Bleeding Cool‘s Rich Johnston right and we are going to see a classic Who villain? Looks like we will have to wait until 2020 to find out…

As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?

About Erin Wilhelm

Erin is a lifelong geek who is a part-time writer for Bleeding Cool. Between her day job and her mom job, Erin reads and watches all the fantasy and sci-fi she can get her hands on. She is a Trekkie, Warsie, Potterhead, recreational WoW nerd, and Whovian. Find her on twitter @pearlsandchucks.