It’s business as usual when the TARDIS is traveling through the space-time continuum, but over the last five seasons the Doctor has also come dangerously close to going to another dimension — breaking the barrier between some iconic nerd worlds via some pretty great guest appearances. Celebrating the new season of Doctor Who, launching tonight, here are five Doctor Who guest appearances that put the Doctor one degree removed from Spider-Man, Harry Potter and more.
The Doctor versus Dumbledore “A Christmas Carol” (2010)
Harry Potter and Doctor Who are arguably the two biggest British pop culture exports, and they haven’t come in close contact with each other until Michael Gambon appeared in the last year’s Christmas special. Dumbledore 2.0 played an Ebenezer Scrooge-type who must learns the importance of the holidays on an alien world with stasis pods and flying sharks.
The Doctor visits a British Hellmouth? “School Reunion” (2006)
After graduating from the Buffy-verse as Giles, Anthony Stewart Head found himself back in high school. Transferring across the pond from Sunnydale, Head played Mr. Finch, the headmaster at another school full of weirdness – this time, in the form of gigantic bat-looking aliens.( The episode also featured the return of Elisabeth Sladen, as Sarah Jane Smith, who sadly and suddenly passed away this week.)
The Doctor and Spidey Team-Up “Daleks In Manhattan” & “Evolution of the Daleks” (2007)
Before he was cast as the rebooted Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield helped defend New York City alongside the Doctor against deformed pig people, gangsters, and the threat of evolving Daleks. Battling Doctor Who’s nihilistic robots was also good warm-up for Garfield’s role in The Social Network, too, where he would go toe-to-toe with Mark Zuckerberg, the spookiest robot of them all. As an added bonus, this two-parter also featured Ryan Carnes, fresh from his stint as Justin on Desperate Housewives (he’s the pig-guy with the hair).
In Which a Time Lord is also 007 “The End of Time” (2010)
Out of all the guest appearances mentioned here, Timothy Dalton’s is the most blatant case of stunt casting. But it’s also one of the most inspired guest appearances in DW lore, casting an ex-007 as a legendary ass-kicking Lord President of the Time Lords. Dalton’s Time Lord was just one of the many highlights of David Tennant’s last episode as the Doctor.
Scotty Beams the Doctor up to the 500th Floor “The Long Game” (2005)
Simon Pegg’s baddie The Editor was a second-in-command despot on a gigantic satellite that kept humanity in line through manipulating the media (insert Rupert Murdoch joke here.) But even though The Editor looked like he shared makeup tips with Schwarzenegger’s Mr.Freeze, he was much creepier than the Bat-villian, accompanied by a horde of mindless corpses and a gigantic alien hanging out on the ceiling. Bonus: Pegg got to play a convincing and charismatic baddie – something we haven’t get to see him do much in geek staples like Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Star Trek.
(PopCultureZoo claims no ownership of the photos used in this piece. They are the intellectual property of BBC, and were taken from the Tardis Index File [Anthony Head], digitalspy.com [Andrew Garfield], Doctor Who Image Archive [Simon Pegg], io9.com [Timothy Dalton] and a promo photo from BBC One [Michael Gambon].)