As I actually said at the end of my essay on the Ice Warrior Timeline, this new episode was going to prompt an appendix (a similar thing happened when we got a Dalek story in Series 9). This new installment in the Great Martian Saga actually requires me to revise some of what I've previously written. I'm also going to help solve a potential continuity glitch that the story has created.
But first, you should probably take a look at my previous essay regarding Ice Warrior History. Here it is:
Before this latest episode, it is my belief that the Ice Warriors stories happened in the following order:
Seeds of Death
The Ice Warriors
Curse of Peladon
Monster of Peladon
In some cases, specific dates or timescales were cited in the stories to make this chronology easier to establish. Admittedly, though, there's also a fair amount of guesswork involved.
So where does our newest tale fit in with all this? Well, they made it easy for us. The Doctor explicitly states that it is 1881 when they arrive on Mars to investigate the "God Save the Queen" message. With this knowledge, we can now place Empress of Mars as being the first story in our timeline. Taking place about a century before Cold War.
That part was easy. But some waters have gotten muddied, here. Events transpire in this episode that flatly contradict some of the theories I put forward in my last Ice Warrior essay. Also, Seeds of Death becomes a trickier story to get to fit in. So we'll start with some revision and then tackle the continuity problem.
AFTER THE SECOND GREAT CATACLYSM
After Skaldak's failed expedition, I felt there was a need to introduce a disaster into Martian culture. Otherwise, their astronaut program would've continued developing and they would've become a space-faring race far sooner than I felt they should. I needed to halt their evolution for a bit so I decided that the War of the Osirians took a tremendous toll on the planet. The inhabitants of Mars had to focus on re-building their society for a millennia or two before they re-embarked on exploring the Universe. Eventually, however, they start building spaceships again. At this point Varga is sent off on an early mission. Like Skaldak, he never returns. These expeditions continue, however, and Mars does develop a spacefleet. A ship from that fleet will pick up Skaldak at the end of the events of Cold War. This all made good sense at the time.
However, we learn in Empress of Mars that the entire race went into mass hibernation. And that they slept for about 5 000 years. This requires me to legitimately change my theories of what happened between Skaldak's departure from Mars and his discovery by humans in the 1980s.
I still say that the Osirians came along and devastated the planet shortly after Skaldak disappeared. But now I believe the devastation wasn't quite as catastrophic. Perhaps only a century or so went by before the Martians would re-embark upon the space exploration program. They send up Varga and he doesn't return.
SOME SERIOUS REVISION
We now have to toss out some of my more substantial ideas about Martian evolution during this era. I believed that, even after the loss of Varga, they became successful with their astronaut program and created a substantial spacefleet. The Honorable Faction go out into the galaxy while the Less Honorable favor staying on the homeworld. Eventually, the Honorable will pick up Skaldak when he sends out his distress beacon from Earth. They continue expanding out into the Universe and discovering new planets to colonize. The Less Honorable will try to invade the Earth in the late 21st Century. Everything seems to flow well with this theory in place.
But now we have to change that. Information stated in Empress of Mars makes it difficult for this timeline work. So, let's pretend all that I said in that particular part of my essay didn't happen.
Perhaps, after Varga's failure, a few more ships go out into the cosmos and they also don't come back.The Martians had been hoping to flee their doomed world by finding new planets to colonize but they were just having too much trouble with their spaceship technology. They needed to come up with an alternative solution. Their biosphere could not support the full population for much longer.
So they opt for mass hibernation. The population puts itself into suspended animation. Several hibernation centers are established throughout the planet. They are referred to as "Hives". Significant leaders are put in charge of the Hives with a set of special controls that are built right into their hibernation unit. The whole hibernator/control unit vaguely resembles a tomb. The largest of all the Hives is looked after by the Ice Queen, herself. A leader we have only recently learnt about. But she seems even more important than the Ice Lords.
Occasionally, small groups of technicians and warriors are set to re-awaken and work on space faring technology. Launches occur from time-to-time but the astronauts never return. Until this problem can be solved - most of Mars will sleep.
ALWAYS PROBLEMS WITH MASS HIBERNATION
If there's one thing we've learnt in the Doctor Who Universe, it's that trying to get a large group of people to stay cryogenicaly sealed never seems to go well. The Silurians had endless problems with it. The Andromedans also make a mess of things during their Ravalox Strategem. Even the humans on Nerva Beacon experienced technical issues. The Cybermen, at least, don't even try to have a specific "wake up time" in mind on Telos. They're just waiting for nosy humans to do the job for them. Once they do start waking up, though, there's a lot of problems with Rogue Cybermen. The only time it ever seemed to work half decently was when Davros or the Daleks did it. Even then, the Doctor appears to have permanently frozen the Daleks on Spiridon. And Davros' plan on Necros only goes as well as it does because he was converting the sleepers into Daleks or food!
Naturally enough, the Martian Hives malfunction too. They end up oversleeping. We don't know exactly how long they had intended to stay in hibernation, but the Ice Queen definitely seems upset when Friday tells her they've been hibernating for 5 000 years.
I pre-suppose that Friday was supposed to be part of a team that would occasionally re-awaken to work on space travel. He was in a special chamber near the surface of the planet. The team goes in and out of hibernation on a regular basis because they are working with certain natural resources that are exhaustible and need periods of time in which they are not being used so they can replenish themselves'. Sometime during the 1880s, the malfunctioning hibernation equipment not only causes the space exploration team to oversleep - it kills the bulk of them. Friday is the only one that revives. He knows he must inform his Queen of these developments so they can make a proper decision on how to handle the malfunctions. But he can't reach her on his own. She is buried too deep within the planet.
Friday takes note that the population on Earth is starting to develop sufficient technology that they may actually be of help to him. At the very least, they can provide him with a workforce to dig into the crust of the planet. So he builds a small spacecraft that gets him to Earth. The ship only functions so well and crashes. But a small group of humans assist Friday in rebuilding it and he takes them back to Mars to help him unearth the rest of the Hive.
A CONTINUITY PROBLEM PRESENTS ITSELF
From this point, the events of Empress of Mars ensue. We all squeal with delight as Ysanne Churchman returns to voice the Alpha Centauran that contacts the Martians near the end of the story. Is this the same Alpha Centauri that we will see in the Peladon stories? We can't say for sure. The species may have a crazy-long lifespan.
Whatever the case, it would appear as though the Martian Golden Age is about to begin. The Ice Warriors will finally be able to leave Mars and explore the galaxy. The moment they make contact with Alpha Centauri will lead to the Martians we see several thousand years later in Curse and Monster of Peladon.
The Ice Warriors' problems with space travel will, more than likely, be solved by the generosity of the Alpha Centaurans. They will help them to build a fleet that will get them off Mars. This links in nicely with Cold War, too. A ship from that fleet just happens to be nearby a century later and will receive Skaldak's message from Earth and come rescue him. All the continuity ducks seem to be lining up nicely in a row.
Except for one problem: if the Ice Warriors are being helped off Mars by the Alpha Centaurans, why do they attempt to invade the Earth in Seeds of Death? It's explicitly stated that they are attacking from Mars. Almost two centuries earlier, a mass evacuation seems about to take place at the end of Empress of Mars. So why would the Ice Warriors suddenly be attacking from Mars again?
A CONTINUITY SOLUTION PRESENTS ITSELF
To fix this, we need to go back to my theory on the two Ice Warrior factions: the Honorable and Less Honorable. These two groups have hated each other forever and have probably even fought quite a few times over the years. I'm going to even pre-suppose that the Honorable schism is considerably larger than the Less Honorable. The Less Honorable has only stayed intact because they always fight dirty. The Honorable survive the underhanded tactics employed against them because they are substantially larger in number and can sustain high casualties.
It would stand to reason that these two factions would set up separate Hives from each other. The Ice Queen's behavior would seem to indicate that she is in charge of the Honorable Martians. So it is an Honorable Hive that is re-awakened in Empress Of Mars. Chances are there are a few other Honorable Hives strewn about on the planet. And then, elsewhere, we can find some Less Honorable Hives.
As mass evacuation ensues, the Honorable Faction decide not to revive their rivals (no doubt, all the hibernation chambers had problems and everyone overslept). As dishonorable as such an action may seem, they decided to just let the Less Honorable Faction fend for itself.They will wake up when they wake up (if they wake up at all) and handle their problem of still being stuck on Mars in whatever way they chose to.
The Less Honorable Ice Warriors do revive several years later and are shocked to find that their enemy is gone. They have Mars to themselves' - for what it's worth. They do develop a fleet of their own but it's only good for short-range travel. They need to colonize a nearby planet soon. Mars is dying.
So they direct their attention to Earth. It will be a very suitable planet for them to take over. They just need to wipe out the humans that are infesting it. A scheme is hatched by Lord Slaar involving biological warfare.
From here, Seeds of Death can proceed with no problem.
Okay then, the Appendix is becoming almost as long as the original essay - so I'll wrap things up. No doubt, how Empress of Mars fits into my own timeline has been eating away at you, too. Right? That's why I delivered this essay as quickly as I could. You can sleep, now.