When a franchise becomes popular enough, fan theories regarding specific events about it are inevitably going to surface. From James Bond being a code name given to MI6 agents in order to explain the different actors to play the role over the years to Super Mario Bros 3 is actually a theatrical play performed on a stage, fan theories are a common way to explain away plotholes that people may notice in an artistic work, or to connect seemingly unconnected elements in order to explain or predict a future plot point.
The fan base of the revived Doctor Who series have been known proponents to the creation of fan theories, due in no small part to the plots of the episodes themselves. Starting in 2005 with the episode "Rose", the revived series, headed first by Russell T. Davies and presently by Steven Moffat, has introduced plot points that, while seemingly insignificant to the episode it appears in, ends up being a major factor in later episodes when the connection of those points are made. While fans were initially unaware of these two to have elements connecting the entire season together, nowadays it's common to analyze every episode in detail to see if there is some connection between them.
A fan theory that's been making its way around the Doctor Who community as of late has developed around the Doctor's most recent, and perhaps most enigmatic, companion, Clara Oswald. Is it possible that she has connections to events from the Ninth Doctor season, and is in some way a creation of Rose Tyler's?
Please note that this article was written in April 2013, when the series seven episode, Cold War, was the most recent episode aired.
The Backstory of the Bad Wolf
In the first season of the revived Doctor Who series, involving the adventures of the Ninth Doctor and his only companion, a young woman named Rose Tyler, references began appearing involving the term "Bad Wolf", appearing in some context in nearly every episode of that particular season.
1) The End of the World - In the year 5,000,000,000, on board the space station, Platform One, a ceremony was held by an intergalactic corporation to watch the final destruction of the planet Earth. A conversation transpired between the creatures The Face of Boe and the Moxx of Balhoon, where the Moxx described the situation as being the "classic Bad Wolf scenario".
2) The Unquiet Dead - The maid Gwenyth, made clairvoyant after living most all her life near a rift in Cardiff, looked into Rose's mind and panicked, exclaiming that she could see "the Big Bad Wolf".
3) Aliens of London - Parked in the Powell Estate, the housing complex where Rose Tyler and her mother live, the TARDIS had the words "BAD WOLF" spray-painted on its side by a boy.
4) World War Three - During the televised announcement of the United Nations decision to give Great Britain (and thus, the Slitheen) the access codes to their nuclear arms, the American newscaster's name is "Mal Loup", which is French for "Bad Wolf". (Note: This appears on the website associated with the character Mickey Smith, and not an actual televised clip)
5) Dalek - The name of Henry van Statten's personal helicopter was "Bad Wolf One".
6) The Long Game - One of the 600 channels being broadcast from Satellite 5 was "Bad WolfTV"
7) Father's Day - One of the posters for Energize has the words "Bad Wolf" appearing on it.
8) The Doctor Dances - One of the German bombs that appear, and the one that's about to drop on the Chula ambulance ship holding the nanites, has the words "Schlechter Wolf" written on it, which translates to "Bad Wolf" in German.
9) Boom Town - The name of the power station that the Slitheen Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen, under the disguise of Margaret Blaine, bought was given the name is Blaidd Drwg, which is Welsh for "Bad Wolf".
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In the season finale "Parting of the Ways", the Doctor forces the TARDIS to send Rose back to the present time in order to protect her from a Delta Wave that the Doctor planned to use to destroy an impending invasion of the Earth by a revived Dalek fleet. Unable to cope with the idea of living her life normally after having traveled with the Doctor, she manages to look into the Heart of the TARDIS and absorbed the soul of the TARDIS, giving her near omnipotent powers over time and space.
She and the TARDIS returned to the Doctor and revealed that she was the Bad Wolf entity, spreading the name of Bad Wolf across time and space in order to draw the two of them to that location. With a wave of her hand, she atomized the Dalek Emperor, the entire Dalek fleet, and brought back the deceased companion Jack Harkness, though due to her inability to control this power, she brought him back permanently, causing him to be a fixed point in time and thus giving him a degree of immortality.
The Bad Wolf Creates The Woman Twice Dead
The fan theory regarding Rose Tyler and Clara Oswald takes us back to the "first" appearance of Clara, the episode "Asylum of the Daleks". In Asylum, we are introduced to Oswin Oswald, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, an individual that is seemingly trapped in a shipwreck on a planet used by the Daleks as an asylum for members of their species too violent and uncontrollable even for them. Though she communicates frequently with the Doctor and Rory Williams, she is never visibly seen by the Doctor until the very end of the episode, where it is revealed that her existence as a woman trapped inside a wrecked space ship was something she let herself believe to escape the truth. Oswin, due to her great intelligence and cleverness, was converted by the Daleks into a Dalek herself, and the "space ship" she thought she was trapped within was actually the Dalek shell she now resided in. After the truth is revealed to her and she fights against the Dalek programming that temporarily takes hold of her, she helps the Doctor to escape the planet as the Parliament of the Daleks destroy it.
What if she didn't die though? What if the explosion of the planet propelled her through time and space and somehow breached the Time Lock of the Last Great Time War? It's been shown before that an ordinary Dalek is capable of breaching the Time Lock, though suffers a such mental stress as a result that they go insane. This current fan theory suggests that Oswin somehow became a part of the Time War and, more importantly, lost herself to the Dalek programming she was fighting against, becoming a pure Dalek that ascended to the position of Emperor. It was this Emperor that managed to survive the Time War, rebuild the Dalek race with mutated humans, and eventually threatened the Earth before being dispatched by the Bad Wolf entity.
When Rose wielded the Heart of the TARDIS, she attained near god-like levels of omnipotence and omniscience, saying that she was able to see all that was and all that ever could be, and could bring life as well as destroy it. It is believed that she, as the Bad Wolf, was able to see that there would be a time when she could no longer be with the Doctor, and not wanting him to be lonely, saw the goodness that once existed within Oswin/the Dalek Emperor, and brought Oswin back to life in a manner similar to what she did with Jack Harkness. Being unable to control the power of the TARDIS, she brought Oswin back permanently, but unlike Jack, she made it so that Oswin (or an incarnation of Oswin) would appear whenever the Doctor was alone, and that each time she "dies", another incarnation of her is created in a time period that Rose saw the Doctor would eventually visit.
Just The Facts, Ma'am
A fan theory isn't a fan theory without some facts supporting it, but fortunately, the elements are there.
Since the Doctor's encounter with the third incarnation of Clara, he's been researching her past to determine whether she's human, or whether there's something more to her, and the only thing that he's managed to turn up is that "she's not possible". The Tenth Doctor, in the episode "Last of the Time Lords" said that Jack Harkness, a fixed point in time and space created by the Bad Wolf Entity, was "an impossible thing". Likewise, the TARDIS, sensitive to anomalies in time and space, has shown some degrees of aversion to both Clara and Jack, going to the ends of time itself in order to shake Jack off of her in the episode "Utopia", and refusing to let Clara go inside her in the episode "The Rings of Akhaten". This suggests that there is some potential correlation between Clara and Jack, that both are temporal anomalies that the TARDIS has difficulty accepting.
A number of connections between Rose and Clara have also appeared. In the episode "Asylum of the Daleks", Oswin is shown with a rose in her hair, the tavern where Clara Oswin works in the episode "The Snowmen" is the "Rose & Crown", and on the dresser near her bed the episode "The Bells of Saint John" has a vase full of roses. In every appearance of Clara (or one of her other incarnations), she is seen wearing red, suggesting some connection to the story of "Little Red Riding Hood", in which the villain was the "Big Bad Wolf". In the episode "The Rings of Akhaten", it is revealed that Clara's parents met one another when her mother saved her father from being struck by a car, one that looks very similar to the one that killed Rose's father in the episode "Father's Day".
Perhaps most notably though is that, in the episode "The Bells of Saint John", Clara calls the TARDIS's phone looking for tech support in order to get the internet running on her laptop. When the Doctor asks how she got hold of the phone number for the TARDIS, she says that she was given it by "the woman in the shop", a potential allusion to Rose Tyler, given Rose worked as a shop assistant at Henrik's Department Store prior to meeting the Ninth Doctor, and would be one of the few people to know the phone number for the TARDIS, as the Doctor commented that he "never" got phone calls.
This is one of the reasons I enjoy fan theories so much. It shows that fans of the series are taking detailed looks at every event shown, considering everything as a possible clue towards what the creators have planned. Steven Moffat has shown throughout his work on the series that he has a penchant for planning the most minor, most "insignificant" details in the episodes to be clues towards a grand, all-encompassing finale.
As for my thoughts on this fan theory, I think there's a lot of potential for this to be true. If BBC had not already made the announcement that David Tennant and Billie Piper would be returning for the 50th anniversary special, I would have considered that these references to Rose might have just been an indication of her return. However, given that Clara is seemingly some form of anomaly in time, and that there seems to be some connection between her and the only individual shown to be able to form such anomalies, Rose Tyler, I feel that this connection between them, that Rose created Clara, has some validity to it.
My experiences with the series though tell me that even the most wild theories may not be the case, so until Clara's origins are officially revealed, all bets are off!
manbunmaster on June 20, 2017:
I started this article totally thinking that it was going to refer to Rose putting events together for Clara's parents to meet. But this took a totally different approach, one that was totally torn apart in the episode where The Doctor and Clara visit Trenzalore, and Clara causes herself to be thrown throughout The Doctor's timeline. She's the one that creates Oswin and the incarnation of herself that appears in The Snowmen. If anybody else has any ideas or evidence that still supports the "Rose reincarnated Oswin into Clara" theory after the Trenzalore episode (I can't remember the name off the top of my head), I'd love to hear them!
Kostart on June 06, 2017:
I know this articel is 4 years old and pretty much outdated but I just started to watch Doctor Who a week ago (just watched it randomly once in a while before) .
I've started on Netflix with Season 5 of the new Series last week and finished Season 7 today.
I thought its a good break to seach for season 1-4 and watch them before I continou with Season 8.
What I came across might totaly wrong or already discoverde but I couldn't find anything about it so far on the net so I want to share it with you here.
I have finished Season 7 Episode 16 "The Name of the Doctor" and jumped straight to Season 1 Episode 1 "Rose".
In "The Name of the Doctor" around Minute 46 (German version on Netflix) Clara returnes to the Christmas Dinner with her Grandmother. She hears the incommin Tardis, walks to the window, spoted the Tardis, grabs the cracker and runs out of the flat, down a stairwell and out of the building into the Tardis where the priest girl is operating the tardis.
When you jump to Season 1 Episode 1 Minute 13 (again german Version but on Google Play) you find the scene where the Doctor rescues Rose from the mannequin's arm and then both leaving the flat down a stairwell out of the building.
You might already realized what I try to aim you to...
In both episodes they are leaving then same flat, down the same stairwell of the same building. I need to finish season 1-4 first to understand Rose' story first but right now it looks to me as if Claras Grandmother could be Rose. Wich could actualy work out as, no matter how Rose's story ends, it could be changed in the Season 7 time line as the time war never took plase. Anyon with any ideas on my theory or has this been solved already and I just wasn't able to find it on the net?
Kosta on June 06, 2017:
Even this article is 4 years old now I have just figured out something right now.
In the last episode of season 7 Clara has Christmas dinner with her Grandmother. At the end of the episode, just before the new Doctor shows up, her Grandmother seems to remember the Doctor from when she was young. Clara hears the Tardis incoming and runs down the stairwell from her Grandmothers Apartment. Cut - Jumping back to the first episode of season 1, Rose lives in exactly the same building that we now know Claras Grandmothers lives in. After the doctor from first season visits Rose at home, they are running down the exact same stairwell, same camera perspective like it was taken from the very beginning of season 1 straight to the end of season 7. I just came across this as I startet watching the series starting with season 5,6 and 7 in the last week and now jump back to see season 1-4 before I continue with season 8. Ling story short Clara seems to be Rose's Granddaughter in her original timeline. That would also explain why rose was also used to be the face of the War Doctors Weapon. Thoughts and comments are welcome!
Femke on May 12, 2016:
I don't think so. the woman in the shop is The Master regenerated into the woman in the shop.
victor on October 05, 2015:
lol haven't u watched the episode were Clara jumps into the doctors time stream were she was in the more important moments of the doctors history to save him after saving him a lot of times she gets to the end of the time stream and the doctor saves her
Joseph on April 05, 2015:
The woman was the Master.
THEDoctor on July 04, 2014:
I think this is in an AU, and that is why the car that almost kills her father DOESN'T kill her, and why her father is a different man, resulting in the difference in appearance
Anonymus on May 14, 2014:
watch name of the doctor
Eric Riley from California, USA on February 24, 2014:
Well this certainly is a very interesting theory. It might be a bit of a stretch to be sure but then, most fan theories are. Correct me if I'm wrong but Doctor Who has canonized fan theories before, haven't they? Can't recall any right now.
WhovianGer on December 05, 2013:
This theory might be over or not. Even after the Name of the Doctor some links are still unsolved. The women who told Clara the number of the Tardis, the link between River and Clara. The red herring was this show! Now most people think Clara's mystery is solved, I do not think so.
To the guy with the German translation issue.
Schlechter Wolf and Böser Wolf are nearly the same. If you say Du bist ein schlechter Mensch in German it would be translated as You are a bad person. Schlecht has the same meaning as Böse in this context. Böse is just more specific
Schlecht means foul if you use it for food but it means evil if you use it for people - so it has the same meaning as Böse.
We modern Germans would use Böser Wolf but back in the 30th and 40th they really might have used Schlechter Wolf
Sarah on November 30, 2013:
Man...this would have been a MUCH better explanation for Clara than what we got. The whole last series needed a tie into what came before just to show some good continuity between RTD and Moffat's Who. Although the 50th kind of remedied that. Still, this theory is AWESOME.
Azerajion on October 25, 2013:
That actually sounds like a plausible theory but I don't think it's correct. Moffat also likes to go completely crazy in his specials and that theory is tame in comparison to let's say destroying the universe to fix something
Vlorsutes (author) from Ohio on October 16, 2013:
You may, as long as you cite me as the original author wherever you translate it to.
t on October 16, 2013:
May I translate it in french ?
Noah Anderson on September 13, 2013:
So I know that I am late to the party here, but it took me a while to get caught up with season 7. Damn you basic cable. Anyway, I love this theory. As soon as the idea of Clara being all along the Doctor’s timeline, there are instant callbacks to Bad Wolf. Now, I didn’t do as much digging as everyone else, but I knew there had to be some kind of connection between Clara and Rose. All the while, I agree with Vlorsutes’ comment. I don’t think Moffat would leave us with something that obvious. Especially sine he has made claims that the 50th special is going to change the history of the show. November can’t come soon enough.
Böser Wolf on July 05, 2013:
I love the Bad Wolf story arc, though I deplore the fact that RTD didn't double-check the German translation for "bad wolf", which is "Böser Wolf", not "schlechter". Sometimes just looking up one word in a dictionary isn't enough ;)
Anomynous on June 10, 2013:
This theory is amazing! Well done, you are a much better detective than I am. The only theory I've come up with is one about how Clara may be connected with the little girl in the library River died in. But it's really rubbish because there's a big flaw.
Sarah Jackson from Southern United States on May 25, 2013:
This is ridiculously awesome. Great article - great explanation, and as an avid Whovian I thoroughly enjoyed every word! BRAVO!
Damaris on May 24, 2013:
Wow! You made some REALLY good points! It got me thinking! :D
CraigT on May 20, 2013:
Awesome article! =D Great ideas =D
StitchTheDamned from Clifton Park, NY on May 09, 2013:
Agreed. Could be red herrings, or possible additional stories. Who knows with him?
Vlorsutes (author) from Ohio on May 09, 2013:
Why thank you! I greatly appreciate that. Knowing Moffat, this may just be some red herrings to try to lead us down some wrong conclusions, but there's always that chance I say. I appreciate the kind words, and I'm all for shares :D
StitchTheDamned from Clifton Park, NY on May 09, 2013:
This is such a fantastic article! I really like this theory. It really makes sense when you put all the information together. Thumbs up and sharing!