Doctor Who has been on (and off) the air since 1963, with a myriad of adventures showing the Doctor and his companions traveling to endless corners of the universe.
(Daily Doctor Who #101)
But do you know where they haven’t traveled? Into my other favorite science fiction media properties, that’s where!
But what if they had? What if somehow, this had been possible? What stories would it have been cool to see the Doctor interacting with?
In this series of posts, we’re going to make some suggestions. Thirteen suggestions, in fact…one for each Doctor. The idea is to find something for each that, even if there was no real way for to have happened, was at least remotely possible from a time-frame point of view. So, no meetings between the Third Doctor and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, for example.
It’s vaguely possible that you’ve heard of Star Wars. It was a fun little science fiction movie that made a bit of a splash in 1977 and was popular enough to spawn a few sequels. The third film (and at the time, potentially last one) came out in 1983 and was called Return of the Jedi, and concluded the story of a a group of desperate rebels who managed to overthrow an oppressive galactic empire. Key to the mythology of this space-fantasy franchise is the idea of the Force, an invisible energy field that certain characters can tap into and manipulate to their will. As the original Star Wars trilogy came to an end, the evil Force-users (the Sith) had been defeated, and the good Force-users (the Jedi) were on the verge of making a comeback after being nearly completely wiped out.
Peter Davison’s era as the Fifth Doctor in Doctor Who ran from 1982 – 1984, so his final season is perfectly primed for a story that takes place shortly after the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy. In real life, no further live-action Star Wars project came along until 1999, and even then the story went back to decades before the original movie to explore the events that led to the original Star Wars status quo. In 2015, when “sequel” Star Wars movies started coming out, they took place decades after the film Return of the Jedi. So it’s only been since 2019 with The Mandalorian on Disney + that Star Wars has actually explored this particular era cinematically.
Our story will take place here, and will not stress too much about trying to fit with all that sequel media that came out years later. Specifically, we’re going to say this story was Episodes 11-14 of Season 21, in the spot originally occupied by Resurrection of the Daleks. The Daleks story can get pushed back a month, as can all the other Fifth Doctor stories of the season. The Sixth Doctor’s debut story The Twin Dilemma, which aired at the end of the season, can get bumped all together.
Doctor Who: Echoes of Empire
Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding) sleeps on TARDIS, but is plagued by nightmares filled with snake imagery. She wakes, disturbed. Joining the Doctor (Peter Davison) and Turlough (Mark Strickson) in the console room, she attempts to share what is bothering her but is interrupted when the TARDIS unexpectedly lands. Investigating, the travelers find that they are in a large, futuristic industrial complex.
The complex seems deserted and disused. The group looks around, and Turlough is suddenly shocked to run into a large humanoid dog-like creature who scares him. After everyone has had a chance to calm down, the time travelers learn that this is Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who is with a contingent of soldiers on a mission. The leader of the squad is Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca’s partner. It turns out that everyone is on the planet Geonosis, and they are inside a a long-abandoned Droid Factory. The soldiers have employed a local scavenger named Vanth to guide them, as they search for evidence of a secret Droid army that is rumored to be present, and that they are concerned someone is searching for to use for nefarious purposes.
Suddenly, the group comes under attack of a small squad of vicious Battle Droids who are under the command a military commander named Cannish, who is present with squad of his own soldiers. Cannish serves a dangerous figure called Lord Cjorrus, who is the person Solo’s group is concerned about. As the soldiers fight back, the Doctor learns that the galaxy in this time period has only recently thrown off the shackles of a powerful and oppressive Empire, and the concern is that if he can muster up a powerful enough army, Lord Cjorrus could reunite elements sympathetic to the old Emperor and plunge the galaxy back into a time of darkness.
Focusing on the attack, Cannish hears from one of his underlings that they have found something unusual. This turns out to be the TARDIS.
The Doctor helps the group figure out a way to disable most of the Battle Droids–however, many of the soldiers have already been killed. Han and Chewbacca discover that there is no Droid army on Geonosis, but there is a special map which shows the coordinates of where one was hidden a generation ago. Unfortunately, in the battle they lose this information and it falls into the hands of Cannish. Once he has what he wants, Cannish orders his people to leave and the facility to be destroyed.
Tegan, Turlough and Vanth are all separated from the main party are only able to escape by infiltrating Cannish’s group. They are able to quickly communicate their intentions to the Doctor via radio.
Han and Chewbacca find that their transport has been destroyed already. It looks like there is no way for them to get away from the facility, and no time to get back to where the Doctor has hidden the TARDIS. At the last moment, the Millennium Falcon, a ship allied with Solo’s group, shows up and rescues the Doctor and his colleagues. Everyone is glad to see Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), the ship’s pilot. However, the Droid Factor is destroyed, and the Doctor wonders if the TARDIS has been destroyed with it….
The Doctor insists they return to the wreckage of the factor to look for the TARDIS, but Solo refuses, saying their job is to chase down Cannish’s ship. If he gets away with information on how to turn Lord Cjorrus into a serious military threat, more will be lost than the Doctor’s ship. He and Chewbacca take control of the Falcon and pursue Cannish. Lando mans the ship’s guns and with some fancy flying and shooting they are able to do damage to Cannish’s ship, forcing it to land once again on Geonosis. However, before they go down they are able to send a distress signal to their nearby fleet and Lord Cjorrus himself. Lord Cjorrus sends a whole bunch of fighters after the Falcon, doing damage. The Doctor is knocked unconscious in the chaos and the Falcon is forced to retreat.
Cannish crash lands on Geonosis, but his small group all survives. He orders his people to se up camp while they wait to be picked up by Cjorrus. Tegan, Turlough and Vanth are all still disguised as soldiers in Cannish’s squad, and are nervously attempting to blend in. Tegan has something of a waking nightmare, again filled with snake imagery. She nervously confides in Turlough about what is happening, and tells him she is fearful it has something to do with the Mara, a disembodied fear-based snake-like entity that has possessed her in the past, but that she thought was long gone.
Another one of Cannish’s aids discovers that there is an indigenous community nearby, and looking for food and shelter, Cannish orders his soldiers to scout it out. Vanth is worried–this is his own village.
The Doctor wakes up to find out that the Millennium Falcon has brought him and the others to the outposts that Solo’s group is working from. The outpost is under the command of Solo’s wife, Leia Organa. The Doctor meets Leia and her aide-de-camp, the protocol droid C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and attempts to convince her to allow him to return to Geonosis to attempt to find his ship and information about his friends, but she is reluctant for fear of exposing their position. Leia explains that she helped to lead the Rebel Alliance to overthrow the Galactic Empire and to establish the New Republic (the current governing body).
The Doctor also learns that the defeated Emperor was a master of the “dark side of the Force” and used his special abilities to help secure his rise to power. His only known apprentice was defeated the day the Empire fell, but it’s been revealed since then that he had several other students “on the side”, hidden away in case he needed them. One of the most powerful is Lord Cjorrus, who now is attempting to re-start the Empire before the New Republic is able to establish itself. His has ability with the Force, and he has some fiercely loyal followers–what he lacks is heavy ordinance, and a new droid army will provide just that. If he can access the unused droid army he learned about Geonosis, that it will be devastating for everyone. Currently, Leia’s group is hiding in territory that Cjorrus has seized, attempting to learn how they can curtail his power. While they are in this location, they are vulnerable.
Chewbacca discovers the outpost has been infiltrated by three Probe-Droids that attached themselves to the Falcon during the skirmish with Lord Cjorrus’ group. Fighting breaks out with them as they attempt to escape the shielded outpost in order to send a signal alerting Cjorrus of their location. With C-3PO’s help, the Doctor is able to disable the droids transmitters, and to help capture one of them. The second droid is destroyed but the third one escapes. Even if it cannot transmit their position, it has the ability to launch itself into space and it reach Cjorrus’ people, the effect will be the same.
Meanwhile, on Geonosis, Cannish’s group have taken over Vanth’s village. Lord Cjorrus arrives, ready to pick up his underlings. Cannish suggests they kill the villagers before they leave, to which Cjorrus agrees. Vanth freaks out and exposes his allies, attempting to stop the atrocity. In response, Cannish has Vanth killed. Tegan screams at Vanth’s death, and loses self control. She takes a weapon and shoots and kills Cannish. Turlough is shocked. Lord Cjorrus activates a light sabre, and prepares to strike Tegan down. However, she turns to him, her eyes glowing as the Mara has asserted control.
Back at Leia’s outpost, the Probe-Droid has cloaked itself, and is lifting off of the planet. The Doctor is able to hack into its systems using the captured Droid, and is able to de-activate its cloak in time for it to be seen and destroyed by another single-man Republic ship that is arriving. The ship lands, revealing that it is Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia’s brother and the the galaxy’s only living Jedi Knight–specially gifted warriors who are able to use the Force to defeat enemies and maintain peace. He is accompanied by R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) a small droid who is well-known to the rest of Leia’s group.
Back on Geonosis, Lord Cjorrus is impressed by what he sees in Tegan, recognizing that she is a powerful entity filled with the Force, and brimming with dark energy. He wishes to take her with him. Tegan agrees, and Turlough is brought along as a captive.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is working on reprogramming the captured Probe Droid. He proposes letting it escape when he has finished. Thanks to his work, once it gets close enough to its ship, they will be able to hack into the enemy’s computer systems and find out where the Droid Army is being stored. This will require a ship fast enough to keep up with it and to outmaneuver the enemy, and the Millennium Falcon is the obvious choice.
Cjorrus has ordered his small fleet to the location indicated by the information learned on Geonosis is reliable. As they travel, he meets with Tegan and helps her refine her dark side powers, whilst also coming to understand the nature of the Mara (a gestalt entity that lives in the “Dark Places of the Inside” and attacks its victims through their dreams and nightmares). This evil Tegan is delighted with her new abilities and swears loyalty to Cjorrus. He also asks her about the TARDIS–his people picked up the unknown device on Geonosis. He senses it is very powerful but cannot get inside. Tegan laughs, and agrees it is very powerful–but only the Doctor can help him get inside.
As the Doctor travels with Han, Luke, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Falcon, he learns about the Force from Luke. Luke is the galaxy’s strongest known living practitioner of Force-related power, but Lord Cjorrus is also dangerously adept with the Dark Side of the Force. The Doctor is curious about this phenomenon, but before he can learn more, the ship receives a public signal. It is being broadcast openly by Lord Cjorrus to all over the sector of space. In it, he speaks openly to his enemies and dares them to defy him, boasting that soon he will have the firepower to defeat all his enemies. Visible in the broadcast is both Tegan and the TARDIS, both of which grab the Doctor’s attention.
Thanks to Han’s flying and R2-D2’s hacking skills, the Doctor is able to locate the Droid army and Lord Cjorrus’ fleet. As Luke signals Leia what is happening, Han and Chewbacca stealthily bring the Falcon toward the target.
Lord Cjorrus’s ship has arrived on this Planet, and locates the Droid Army in catacombs beneath a small industrial complex. He immediately sets out to activate this army. He then turns to Tegan and tells her how pleased he is with all their progress, particularly with her skills with the Force. He has, however, one final test for her to prove her loyalty. He brings Turlough to her and insists that she kill him. Tegan activates her lightsabre and approaches Turlough with an evil glint…
Just then, an alarm goes of, and Lord Cjorrus gets the signal that a ship has entered the vicinity. Turlough is able to take the opportunity to escape, and Cjorrus decides he has bigger things to worry about.
Han is able to land the Falcon very quickly, and believes he has avoided detection. He, Chewbacca, Luke and the Doctor all sneak into the industrial complex, and split up. Han and Chewbacca attempt to find the activation controls for the Droid Army, while Luke goes to pursue Lord Cjorrus.
The Doctor meanwhile finds the TARDIS, but as he does he realizes that he’s walked into a trap. Lord Cjorrus and Tegan are there, waiting for him. Lord Cjorrus has purposely led the Doctor here because he wants the power of the TARDIS for himself. He orders Tegan to take the key from the Doctor. She activates her lightsabre and attacks the Doctor. Suddenly, Luke appears, easily dispatching Cjorrus’ aides, and confronting the dark force user. However, to help the Doctor, he gives him his lightsabre. The Doctor is able to use it to parry Tegan’s attack, and he leads her away from the others. Luke, meanwhile, must fight Cjorrus without a lightsabre.
Han and Chewbacca and a group of soldiers follow their information to where they believe the Droid Army is controlled from, but Turlough finds them and tells them that the Droids are already being activated, and will be waiting for them. Han and Chewbacca thus instead seal off the chamber, and start setting explosives.
The Doctor continues to defend himself from Tegan, realizing that the Mara has manifested in her once again. He continues to speak with her and to try to reach her real self. When Turlough stumbles upon them, Tegan is about to kill him, but hesitates, showing to the Doctor that she is conflicted about what she is doing. He takes the opportunity to disarm her and is able to telepathically put her into a deep sleep.
Luke continues to fight Cjorrus, who is not as powerful but is better armed. Still, Luke is able to hold his own, and when Han and Chewbacca show up, Cjorrus retreats and opts to unleash his new droid army. He doesn’t know, however, that Han and Chewbacca have sabotaged the controls so that mobilizing the army will cause the complex to explode. Han and Chewbacca figure there is no time for them to get out of the complex, but the Doctor brings the whole group into the TARDIS and takes off, as Cjorrus inadvertently destroys the complex, his army, and himself.
On board the TARDIS, Luke uses the Force to help the Doctor drive the Mara from Tegan’s mind, setting her free. The TARDIS returns to the Millennium Falcon. Han and Chewbacca launch it into space as Leia and her fleet arrive to put an end to Cjorrus’ followers.
Leia offers to give the Doctor and his friends a medal, but they beat a hasty retreat instead. The Doctor, Turlough and a traumatized but recover Tegan bid farewell to their friends as the New Republic takes another step forward toward stability.
Cue the Doctor Who Theme music!
And that’s the story. Well, I kept it to four episodes this time, but the story definitely suffers as a result. It just seems like whenever I imagine these crossovers, there’s just so much I want to do, it’s hard to keep it contained.
Next up: the Sixth Doctor and one of the most obvious crossovers I can imagine