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Doctor Who’s Timeless Child Retcon Explains the Doctor’s Love for Earth

Doctor Who tie-ins are building on the Timeless Child retcon – and they’ve just revealed the real reason the Doctor fell in love with the Earth.

This article contains spoilers for Doctor Who: Free Comic Book Day 2022.

Doctor Who‘s Timeless Child retcon reveals the real reason the Doctor loves Earth so much. Nobody can fault current Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall for lack of ambition; his era has upended decades of continuity and lore, revealing the Doctor is not a Time Lord at all. Rather, she is in fact the Timeless Child, a being who potentially predates the universe itself and who became the base genetic code for the entire Time Lord race. The retcon removes the Doctor’s regeneration cap, revealing there have potentially been unlimited previous incarnations of the Doctor. Jo Martin’s so-called “Fugitive Doctor” is one of these forgotten Doctors.


Surprisingly, the Fugitive Doctor’s story is not being told by the TV series itself. Instead, it’s being told in a four-issue miniseries by Jody Houser, with art by Roberta Ingranata and Warina Sahadewa. Titan Comics released a Doctor Who: Free Comic Book Day special ahead of the Doctor Who Origins miniseries, with a short story by the same creative team. Surprisingly, it explains the real reason the Doctor fell in love with Earth.

Related: Doctor Who: How The First & Last Lines Of Each Doctor Explain Their Arcs

The story is a delightful one, in which Jo Martin’s Doctor – still working for a black ops group called the Division at the time – visits the backwater planet called Earth in 1962 while hunting down an alien called Monstario the Devourer. She is assisted by a group of local children, who impress her with their courage and their willingness to accept her. Presumably these children left a lasting impression on the Doctor, causing her to hide on Earth when she went on the run from the Division.

Doctor Who Jo Martin Free Comic Book Day Cover

The Doctor Who: Free Comic Book Day one-shot includes a brief scene set during the William Hartnell era, showing the supposed First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan arriving on Earth in 1963. By this time the Division had erased the Doctor’s Timeless Child memories – but the dialogue suggests a trace of them remained deep in the Doctor’s subconscious. This fits perfectly with the previously-established lore surrounding the Time Lord Chameleon Arch. It’s reasonable to assume these memories exert an even greater influence on the Doctor precisely because they are subconscious – explaining exactly why the Doctor keeps being drawn to Earth.

It’s perhaps a good job the Doctor has decided not to regain her Timeless Child memories. Should she do so, that subconscious memory would potentially lose its influence on her, meaning she stops coming back to Earth. The Timeless Child retcon has been remarkably divisive and controversial, but it would be even more so if it broke the Doctor’s connection to Earth. That really would mean the end of Doctor Who.

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