New Doctor Who Season 12 Photo Hints at Return of a Fan-Favorite Villain

Season 11 of Doctor Who was notable for a lot of reasons and more than because it featured Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. One of the things that fans noticed about the season was that it had a distinctively different feel, due in no small part to the "no old monsters" situation that saw Whittaker's titular doctor take on new challenges, but no familiar creatures from seasons past. Now, with Season 12 production underway, the series has released a new photo that makes it pretty clear that at least one group of familiar creatures.

In the image released by the show, Whittaker's Doctor is shown face to face with none other than one of the Judoon. That's right, the Thirteenth Doctor appears to be taking on the fan-favorite rhinoceros-like space police who were last seen all the way back in Season 9's episode "Face the Raven". You can check it out below.

And yes, it really is the Judoon. Showrunner Chris Chibnall confirmed in a press release from the BBC and seemed to hint that there may be more surprises in store for fans.

"No! Sho! Blo!" Chibnall said. "The Judoon are storming back into Doctor Who full force, and the streets of Gloucester aren't safe. If anyone has anything to hide, confess now. The Judoon are taking no prisoners and will stop at nothing to fulfil their mission! The whole team on Doctor Who are delighted and scared in equal measure to welcome them back: one of many treats we've got in store for viewers next series. And we're over the moon (with Judoon), to be welcoming wondrous Neil Stuke as guest star. We can't wait to show you what happens when his path crosses with the Thirteenth Doctor."

Granted, as exciting as it is that the Judoon are returning to Doctor Who, fans do have a bit of a wait before they get to see it. It was announced earlier this year that Season 12 won't actually make it to air until early 2020.

“We’re off again!” showrunner Chris Chibnall said in the new season announcement. “Well we never actually stopped - as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends have been winning the hearts of families across the nation this autumn, we’ve been busy with a whole new set of action packed adventures for the Thirteenth Doctor. We adore making this show and have been blown away by the response from audiences, so we can’t wait to bring more scares, more monsters and more Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole to BBC One. Brilliant!”

“We’re delighted that the Doctor and her friends will be returning to thrill audiences in 2020,” Charlotte Moore, BBC director of content. “I know Chris and the whole team are already working on a whole new set of exciting adventures. In the meantime we’ve got a very special episode on New Year’s Day for everyone to enjoy.”

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Doctor Who returns to BBC America in early 2020.