WHO IS THE VALEYARD?
EPISODE TWO: NEW SERIES STUFF...
So we make it through another three seasons of the Classic Series and that crazy Valeyard is never seen or heard from again. As massive of a villain as he might be and even though it's been totally teased out that he can make a return appearance - he never comes back to haunt the Doctor further.
The production team behind Seasons 24, 25 and 26 just doesn't want to deal with him.
As New Who starts playing out on our screens, we see the return of many old foes from the original run: Daleks, Cybermen, the Master, Sontarans, Silurians - even the Macra! But no sign of that wretched Valeyard. Until, at last, he gets a namecheck in Name of the Doctor.
"Yay!", my inner fanboy exclaims with a punch to the air, "Someone still wants to acknowledge the Valeyard is out there, somewhere!"
Of course, the fact that it's the Great Intelligence mentioning him creates some interesting implications. Our Yeti-controlling madman mentions the Valeyard while speaking of horrible atrocities the Doctor has started committing in his later years. Could this mean there are untelevised adventures in which the Valeyard created more problems?
Adam Gobeski, our first (and, so far, only) guest contributor, has postulated that the Valeyard may have been an "inside man" for enemies of the Time Lords during the Time Wars. It's an interesting theory, when you think about it. The last time we saw him, he had fused himself with the Keeper of the Matrix - a somewhat high-ranking position in Time Lord society. In his position of power, he could've sabotaged Gallifrey's war effort in all sorts of ways. Could it even be possible that it was the Valeyard that created breaches in the Sky Trenches that enabled the Daleks to attack Arcadia?
Surely, exploits such as these may have reached the ears of the Great Intelligence. Perhaps there were still other crimes against the Universe that the Valeyard has performed that have also earned him the namecheck. We don't know for sure. A brief mention by an old foe doesn't offer much. It's just as possible that the Valeyard only ever featured in the Doctor's trial during the Ravalox Strategem and was never heard from again (for all we know, Gallifreyan guards saw through his ruse seconds after his sinister laugh at the end of Trial of a Time Lord and shot him dead). If the Valeyard never made it out of the courtroom, the Great Intelligence still may have done some heavy research into his enemy's personal life and knew that mentioning him would bother the Doctor.
In truth, there's very little to go on, here. But my heart(s) still skip a beat every time the Valeyard gets mentioned in Name of the Doctor. It's just good to see he hasn't been totally forgotten/dismissed.
PART THREE: THE DREAM LORD
While Name of the Doctor is the only true moment in the New Series where the Valeyard gets any proper acknowledgement, that's not to say there aren't other moments where he's alluded to. The Dream Lord is, perhaps, the most direct of these indirect references.
That moment where it's explained in Amy's Choice that the Dream Lord is a manifestation of everything that is evil in the Doctor certainly set fandom abuzz with speculation. Up until that moment, the Valeyard had been a largely-forgotten villain. But, suddenly, theories are popping up all over the internet. Is the Dream Lord, somehow, connected to the origins of the Valeyard?
It helps, of course, that Amy's Choice ends in a similar fashion to Ultimate Foe. We're given a very definite impression, as the Doctor briefly sees a different reflection on the surface of the TARDIS console, that the Dream Lord is still alive and kickin'. So does he, somehow, go off and become the Valeyard in some way? Does that corrupt High Council from the Sixth Doctor's Era manage to find that psychic pollen floating around in space and give it some sort of corporeal existence and then strike a sinister bargain with it?
I could dismiss such an idea as just a silly fan theory, of course. At no point does the actual production team make any claim to a connection between the Dream Lord and the Valeyard. But if I were to take this attitude - I would then have to dismiss my own first part of this essay. After all, at no point did we hear Eric Saward, JNT or Robert Holmes claim that the Valeyard was a Shayde fused with the same sort of manifestation that Omega created in The Three Doctors. That's just some silliness I drew together on my own. So, I'll take this idea seriously for a bit, too. But I won't explore it further, for now. Instead, I'll look at the other popular New Who Valeyard Theory...
PART FOUR: THE META-CRISIS DOCTOR
While the Dream Lord still remains the most popular fan theory regarding New Who and the Valeyard, some corners of fandom have something to say about this "extra Doctor" that gets created in Journey's End. Could the Meta-Crisis Doctor (as he is commonly referred to), somehow, take a turn for the worst somewhere further down the road? Perhaps he loses Rose in the most horrible of ways (accidentally kills her or something equally terrible) and this turns him into the darkest, most bitter of beings.
Meta-Crisis Doctor then, somehow, finds his way back into our Universe and wants to alter his own timeline so that Rose's Horrible End never occurs. By this point, he's aged a bit. In his later years, he looks like Michael Jayston. Knowing, already, who he's meant to be and what he's meant to do - Meta-Crisis Doctor goes back through his own timeline and strikes a deal with the corrupt High Council that knocked Earth out of its orbit and re-named it Ravalox. If they give him the Doctor's remaining lives - he can change the course of destiny and ensure that he creates a reality where Rose still lives.
Given that we see this particular version of the Doctor attempt Godhood in Waters of Mars, it's not so far-fetched of an idea. Meta-Crisis Doctor seems like an angrier, more impulsive version of him. So, maybe, under the right circumstances, he would assume the mantle of the Valeyard to achieve such ends.
I won't dismiss these theories outright, of course. As I have already stated, they hold just as much water as anything I presented in my first installment of this pretentious essay. But if it is to be revealed in some future episode that the Valeyard was formed by these factors presented in the New Series, then I think the concept works better if both of these ideas are fused together.
Meta-Crisis Doctor does have some bad experience in the parallel reality that makes him a darker person and he comes back to our Universe. Somehow, he comes into contact with the specks of psychic pollen from Amy's Choice (or, perhaps, just any old sample of psychic pollen) and he faces another dreamscape where a challenge is put towards him. He fails that challenge due to his own personal shortcomings brought on by his bitterness. In that failing, a transformation of some sort takes place. He becomes the Valeyard.
In much the same way as I claim the Valeyard is a fusion of the two core ideas I presented from the Classic Series, I believe the New Series concepts work best if they are combined too.
Ultimately, I'm still more inclined to believe that the Valeyard's origins lie In Classic Series lore rather than anything we've seen in the New Series. But what we have seen in New Who that fans are tieing in with the Valeyard does adhere to a very important stipulation.
If you'll recall, the Master states that the Valeyard was created between the Doctor's twelfth and thirteenth incarnation. I tend to believe that he's being literal about it. That the Valeyard was a Shayde extracted from that final regeneration. However, that particular quote can have a much looser interpretation.
The Valeyard could've somehow sprung into existence during events that transpired somewhere in the span of time when the Doctor's twelfth and thirteenth incarnations existed. Time of the Doctor validated that the Matt Smith Doctor is meant to be the thirteenth body. The War Doctor and the Doctor healing himself from Dalek firepower in Journey's End constitute as incarnations onto themselves'. So, anything that happens between Doctor Ten, Version 2.0 (not to be confused with the Meta-Crisis Doctor) and the Eleventh Doctor falls into that window of opportunity when the Valeyard could've been created. The Meta-Crisis Doctor (not to be confused with Doctor Ten, Version 2.0) and the tale of Amy's Choice both, more or less, occur within that timeframe (we could argue that the Amy's Choice adventure, under certain definitions, doesn't - but it's fairly subjective since the Master is pretty damned vague about the whole thing). Because both concepts suit the timeline, I don't disqualify them.
However, that same quote does help support my ideas in relation to something else we see in the New Series. With the different incarnations now being firmly defined, we know that the Doctor's final regeneration of his first cycle would be in End of Time, Part 2. In my Weird Regenerations essay, I stipulate that the first and final regeneration in a Time Lord's cycle involve a lot of excess regeneration energy. As Doctor One changes to Doctor Two, he's able to harness the spare energy effectively and use it to create a new costume for himself. But in the final regeneration, the energy runs wild and does some considerable damage to the TARDIS Console Room.
Could it be possible that this occurred because, as the Doctor was regenerating, the Valeyard was also being called into existence and brought back to the Trial of a Time Lord era? Such an outside interference could cause some serious turbulence in the regeneration process and cause things to get out of control the way they did. In this remote and tenuous manner, my personal theories are ever-so-slightly affirmed.
FINAL, FINAL CONCLUSION (THIS TIME, WE MEAN IT):
All right, if we go with my theories about where the Valeyard comes from, one pertinent question still remains: How, exactly, was he created? Under what conditions is such a being capable of being called into existence?
Chances are, a simple Time Scoop (or similar device) with special modifications made to it was used to harness the Shayde from between the twelfth and final incarnation. How was the Shayde fused with the Doctor's Dark Side? Well, again, The Three Doctors can give us an answer...
Omega created his Dark Side because he was controlling a sort of virtual reality. Where would this corrupt High Council get their hands on something similar? Something that might have extensive data on the Doctor because he had been in that virtual reality, himself, on a few occasions. Are we figuring it out, yet, kids?
The Matrix, of course.
This would also explain why the Valeyard has such good control of Matrix Reality while he and the Doctor are battling each other in The Ultimate Foe. Surely a being that was created in the Matrix would be the best at mastering its dreamscape.
So, there you go, the best I can conjure up to explain the Valeyard's origins by referencing established continuity. Of course, it's entirely possible that how he was created doesn't tie in at all with anything we've seen in either New or Classic Who. For all we know, the Valeyard was constructed out of Gallifreyan Legos...