There’s something so iconic about Doctor Who‘s race of Time Lords, that either knowingly or not, countless storytellers have embedded Time Lord qualities into their characters. Today, there are secret Time Lords hiding throughout literature and film — you need only look a little closer to see them for what they really are.
Don’t believe me? Here are ten famous characters who seem to secretly be Time Lords. Just look at the evidence.
So little is known about Mary Poppins — her true identity and origins are a mystery. (Seriously, what’s her story? Is she a witch? A genie? An angel? What is she?) She routinely does impossible things, floats around on clouds, always knows more about what’s going on than anyone else, has a knack for showing up when and where she’s most needed, and tends to whisk her companions off to whimsical places. Plus, she owns a carpet bag that’s way, way bigger on the inside. She even favors bow ties, funny hats, and carries a peculiar umbrella. This popular theory has been going around for years, but it endures because it’s a perfect explanation for a delightfully mischievous character.
St. Nick is thousands of years old, but he doesn’t look a day over 60. He carries a magical sack that holds millions of toys for kids all over the world, which by definition means it has to be bigger on the inside. But most importantly, Father Christmas somehow visits the home of every child on Earth in a single night. How else could such a feat be accomplished than by time travel?
That’s right, the Dark Knight himself. Hear me out on this. Bruce Wayne is known to fans as being probably the most prominent “non-powered” superhero there is. But there’s a lot more to this man than his exceptional wealth. Consider his brilliance, his ability to intelligently solve crimes. He hasn’t been called the “World’s Greatest Detective” for nothing. Throughout the years of tellings and retellings of Batman’s story, he’s lived numerous other “Elseworld” lives, including that of a pirate, a priest, a vampire, a mad scientist, and many more. We all assumed the Elseworld stories were outside of DC continuity, but what if they were Bruce Wayne’s past regenerations? And then there’s that famous utility belt that carries his many, many gadgets. Is it bigger on the inside? Got to be.
Tom Hiddleston is largely responsible for this age-old character’s recent surge in popularity. (Ironically, Hiddleston himself was rumored to be under consideration to become the 12th Doctor.) But what if we’ve had Loki’s origins wrong all along? The Norse god of mischief is a trickster who outwits everyone around him and enjoys shaking things up, stirring the pot. Loki also manages to always stay three steps ahead of everyone around him. He plays a long game, planning his actions so far in advance, no one else even knows what the game is until it’s too late. Remind you of anyone? I think his true identity is pretty darn obvious: Loki is a past or future regeneration of the Master!
The eccentric school teacher at Walkerville Elementary uses her can-be-anything-and-go-anywhere Magic School Bus to teach kids about science and history. Ms. Frizzle is a fearless adventurer who regularly escorts her class into wildly dangerous situations while enjoying herself immensely and cracking plenty of jokes. She wears kooky outfits and shares a close bond with or affection for her bus. Could it be a TARDIS? It reacts to her needs and wishes the way the Doctor’s TARDIS does. In one book, she actually wore a dress covered in question marks. Some fans have speculated that this fiery redhead is not just any Time Lord — she could even be an incarnation of Melody Pond, aka River Song.
What is the Doctor if not a wizard? He carries a wand that causes magical things to happen, thanks to a “point-and-think” mental connection. Every wizard from Merlin to Gandalf to Harry Potter has used a wand, staff, or sonic screwdriver to do things that should be impossible. Time Lords can manipulate any part of time and space they choose. Sounds like a mighty powerful wizard to me.
The candy-making genius at the heart of Roald Dahl’s two most popular stories is no ordinary man. He uses highly advanced technology to power his chocolate factory and craft his delightfully whimsical candies. He’s both lonely (as the only human in the factory) and never really alone (thanks to his omnipresent worker bees, the Oompa-Loompas). He can’t abide the mundane, always looking for suspense and thrills. He has his own phone booth, er Great Glass Elevator, that can go anywhere — even traveling into space, as it does in Dahl’s second book. Willy Wonka is like your batty uncle who tells great stories of his own adventures and enjoys having fun at the expense of others.
Okay, this is a bit of a gimme, but there’s more to it than you think. Marty McFly’s mad scientist friend in Back to the Future is an aging genius who travels back and forth in time. Sometimes he returns from his travels with a more youthful appearance than when he left. He has a wicked cool time machine that may not be bigger on the inside, but it’s got a design and sense of style that was iconic from the moment it debuted. “Doc” Emmett Brown always manages to find himself in crazy situations that can only be resolved with some serious scientific ingenuity.
Lost‘s resident know-it-all is part scientist, part soothsayer. Her prescience and mystique are never really explained (or even addressed) on the show, but the character makes up for her ambiguity with the ever-present twinkle in her eye. Mrs. Hawking is something of a self-appointed protector of time, standing guard over history to ensure that “fixed points” stay on track and unfold as they’re meant to. I don’t know where she keeps her TARDIS, but she’s got all the qualities of a Time Lord: brilliant, mysterious, knowledgeable about things that no one else understands, and willing to lie whenever necessary.
This fan-favorite character from Rugrats (and later, All Grown Up!), embodies many of the traits of our favorite Time Lord, even though he’s a child: he’s a natural leader, he’s smart, brave, kind, he despises bullies, he never gives up, and he loves adventures. He carries a screwdriver at all times, which he uses to fix just about any problem that arises. He often leads the show’s other kids on adventures, and he wore a suit jacket and bow tie in at least one episode. He also sported a variety of headgear over the years, including a cowboy hat and a fez! All the similarities should come as no surprise since in recent years, the creators of Rugrats have confessed to being major fans of Doctor Who.