The Cybermen question

In 1966, the lumbering behemoth’s from Earth’s dark twin planet debuted. Encased in plastic and  metal with tubes carrying life-giving fluid visible along their limbs, these monsters traveled from the dying planet Mondas, desperate for a new source of energy. The Doctor tricked them by simply allowing the Cybermen systems to overload. In the battle, the Doctor’s own essence was drained, prompting his body to undergo a bizarre change (much later coined regeneration).


After 1966, the Cybermen became a classic monster whose popularity rivaled (but never trumped) the Daleks. Facing the second incarnation over several instances, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh through the 26 year-long run of the classic program, the Cybermen evolved as their story got muddied, slight allergies became outright weaknesses and the ability to time travel meant that fans were never quite sure what version of the metal meanies we were seeing (though noble attempts have been made).

There have been novels, comic book stories and even audio adventures that have further developed the Cybermen (sometimes contradicting accepted history). Forever associated with the classic series, the Cybermen became icons of Doctor Who and appeared as toys, mugs, etc.

DrWho_2005_CybermanIn 2005, the Doctor briefly noticed a Cyberman helmet in the underground lair of Henry van Statten. It looked to be a classic model from the 1974 Tom Baker adventure, but this was never confirmed on screen. In the subsequent series, the Doctor traveled to a parallel reality in which the Cybermen are created by John Lumic, head of Cybus Industries who seem to have made a lot of money off of hot air balloons and mobile phones.

These new Cybermen are not from the planet Mondas at all. They are humans subjected to a process more at home to a Looney Tunes cartoon in which the body is chopped up and the relevant parts stored in a metal shell that strangely line dances and chants ‘delete’ as if in answer to the Dalek battle cry of ‘exterminate.’

cyberman_snowSince 2006, these new Cybus-Cybermen have fought the Doctor several times and are due for a return next year. They have amassed an armada, developed new technology and redesigned their casings… but whatever happened to the Mondasian Cybermen of old? And why were these alternate reality versions created?

The other classic monsters; Sontarans, Ice Warriors… even the Macra have all retained their ties to the past. So why were the Cybermen totally recreated?


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2 thoughts on “The Cybermen question

  1. As an old codger who grew up watching 60s Cybermen, I appreciated your ‘looney tunes’ comment about the post-millennial cyber-conversion process. Between those weird Cyber-ape things, giant mecha and Torchwood’s fetishistic ‘Cyberwoman’, the new series seems to be going out of its way to turn a concept that had once been pretty damn terrifying into something ridiculous.

    In the post-Patrick Troughton era, the only effective Cybermen stories can be found in ‘Earthshock’ & ‘Star Trek TNG: The Best of Both Worlds’!


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