Elizabeth Sladen, the actress who played Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith, died in 2011 and now John and Carole Barrowman have created a new character to honor her memory.
The new character is named Sladen and will be introduced in Torchwood: The Culling #1.
"We are very excited to bring this new character Sladen to the world of Torchwood," said John Barrowman and Carole Barrowman in a statement. "You all know both Carole and I were great fans of the wonderful Elisabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith and what a better way to pay homage to her and create a character with her last name. Elisabeth Sladen / Sarah Jane Smith was the mother of our ship on Doctor Who and now Sladen lives in Torchwood."
Check out Sladen on the cover to Torchwood: The Culling #1 below.
Sladen is apparently discovered in a pod buried in the Arctic. What she may mean for Torchwood's future remains to be seen.
Torchwood: The Culling is published by Titan Comics, written by John and Carole Barrowman, and illustrated by Neil Edwards. The issue goes on sale October 18, 2017.
Elizabeth Sladen debuted as Sarah Jane Smith in 1973 and was the Doctor's companion through 1976. In 1981 she reprised her role for the pilot to spinoff series K-9 and Company and again in 1983 The Five Doctors 20th-anniversary story.
When Doctor Who was revived, showrunner Russell T. Davies decided to revisit Sarah Jane in the show's second season, where it was it revealed that she'd been working with K-9 ever since the events of The Five Doctors. The episode featuring Sarah Jane, "School Reunion," was so well-received that it spawned a spinoff series called The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Sladen and aiming at a younger audience than Doctor Who. The series ran for five seasons.
The Sarah Jane Adventures came to an abrupt end when Sladen died suddenly in 2011 of pancreatic cancer. The Doctor Who episode "The Impossible Astronaut" was dedicated to her memory, and now the new Torchwood character of Sladen will follow in that same tradition.
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