With Disney now in charge of the Doctor Who franchise, there is a chance that his most unusual comic book companion could visit the TV series.
Over the course of Doctor Who's soon-to-be 60-year run, the Doctor has traveled with various companions, mostly from earth but with the occasional robot or alien mixed in. But during the 1980s, in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, the Sixth Doctor once traveled with a penguin named Frobisher. Could this bizarre character be coming to the screen?
To clarify, Frobisher wasn't originally a penguin. He was introduced in the story "The Shape Shifter" (by Steve Parkhouse, John Ridgeway, and Annie Halfacree) featured in Doctor Who Magazine #88. He was a detective shape-shifting alien known as a Whifferdill, who helped the Doctor on an adventure and then chose to travel in the TARDIS with him. In his next appearance during the story "Voyager" (by Steve Parkhouse, John Ridgeway, and Annie Halfacree) Frobisher appeared as a penguin and stayed that way "for personal reasons" from that point on.
Frobisher went on to have dozens of comic-book adventures with the Sixth Doctor and his companion Peri, being so popular as to stay around when the Seventh Doctor took over the series. Over the years he popped up on comic book pages with the Eighth, Tenth, and Twelfth Doctors as well. When BBC Publishing began releasing Doctor Who novels in the 2000s, a few books featured Frobisher as well. In more recent years, several Big Finish audio adventures have brought the Whifferdill to life voiced by Robert Jezek. But the exciting, potential news about Frobisher relates directly to the brand new Doctor Who Trailer promoting the upcoming 2023 specials.
While the appearance of David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and the return of fan-favorite companion Donna Noble are certainly reasons to be excited, the trailer also features images of two aliens that were originally introduced in the pages of Marvel Comics. The first is an adorable, fuzzy-faced alien named Beep the Meep. While his sweet exterior hides a more ruthless personality, this creature has been tormenting the Doctor since his Fourth incarnation from the pages of Doctor Who Weekly to Big Finish audio adventures. The second alien is an intimidating insect-like creature known as the Wrarth, genetically designed to hunt down Beep.
Now both these appearances are important, because, up until now, they've been tied to Marvel Comics, the publisher of most Doctor Who illustrated media from the 70s through the end of the 90s. Most of these characters have been 'trapped' in Marvel's ownership. But Marvel Comics is now owned by Disney, and Disney Plus is about to become the viewing platform for the upcoming seasons of Doctor Who (everywhere except in the UK). While the rules of this deal are still a bit sketchy, it has been reported that while not owning the property, Disney is interested in financing and funding spin-offs.
With the appearance of Beep and the Wrarth, fans could very well be seeing other Marvel-created characters that, up till now, have only been allowed on the comic book page. There are a plethora of interesting beings, like Kroton: the Cyberman with a soul, Abslom Daak: Dalek Killer, and Shayde the bizarre creation warrior from the Time Lord Matrix. But all of them pale in popularity to Frobisher, the detective penguin. Now that the precedent has been set, hopefully, it's only a matter of time until the shape-changing Whifferdill gets his long-overdue place in the spotlight.
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been enamored with pop culture his entire life. He has been Star Trek characters at theme parks, the Riddler in a Batman stunt show, and Norman Bates at Universal Studios Hollywood. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University and has written dozens of science-fiction related articles for various websites as well as having been a featured contributor to the Star Wars Insider, the Star Trek Communicator, and a regular columnist for SciFi Magazine. Acting professionally for over 10 years, he has done a variety of ads for Apple, Disney, and Microsoft to name a few. His self-produced short films have won awards on at least two continents