New signage at Wolf Studios hints subtly as big things ahead for the Doctor Who Whoniverse
Ncuti Gatwa has posted to his Instragram, proudly showing off the new mural greeting visitors to Wolf Studios in Cardiff. It shows a smiling Fifteenth Doctor, still in the remains of the Fourteenth Doctor’s costume, leaning against what seems to be the TARDIS door frame. The art is in a similar style to that of Anthony Dry, who provided murals for the Doctor Who Experience. Readers will also be familiar with him as the cover artist of recent Target books. Whether Dry is the actual artist for this new mural is still unknown.
But perhaps most interesting is the accompanying text “Home of the Whoniverse.” It’s of course a reference to Bad Wolf being the new co-producers of Doctor Who and their Wolf Studios complex being the new filming base for the series. But that word, “Whoniverse,” hints at something more. It echoes showrunner Russell T Davies’ comments describing the new production as an “empire,” promising “lots of content.” And, after all, it would have so simple to just have billed the studio “The Home of Doctor Who,” if that was the only show they meant.
Can we expect a new era of spin-offs as part of Russell T Davies’ Whoniverse empire?
References to Bad Wolf as home of an entire Whoniverse also echoes Davies’ comments in 2021 that the show should have its own entire Marvel-style cinematic universe. “There should be a Doctor Who channel now,” he told Waitrose Weekend, “You look at those Disney announcements, of all those new Star Wars and Marvel shows, you think ‘we should be sitting here announcing The Nyssa Adventures or The Return of Donna Noble, and you should have the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors together in a 10-part series’. Genuinely. And I think that will happen one day. If we can just shift Doctor Who up a gear…”
That, of course, was before it was announced that Davies actually was returning to Doctor Who. Since then, two of the ideas he muses about in the interview – returns for Catherine Tate’s Donna and for the Tenth Doctor are actually on the way. But that’s in the main show. Will his imagination spark ideas for full on spin-offs in the next couple of years? Certainly, during his last time in charge, it was an unprecedented era for spin-offs. There was Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, and the non-fiction Doctor Who Confidential and Totally Doctor Who.
What can we expect to be announced by this time next year. Well, we’ll have to wait and see. But there’s still a thrill of excitement at the sight of Bad Wolf’s new sign: get ready to enter the Whoniverse!