Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rebel Flesh - Mondas?

So, are we seeing the genesis of the Cybermen in the two-parter The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People?

I think so.

The clues:
  • "Early technology"
  • the design of the acid suit

  • the planet is in our solar system

  • and it looks like Earth

Mondas (according to Wikipedia):

"Mondas is Earth's twin planet, identical down to even the size and shapes of its continents. Millions of years ago, it was the tenth planet of the Solar System, until somehow it drifted out of its orbit and journeyed into deep space. In Mondas' first appearance in the 1966 serial The Tenth Planet, it is stated that "Mondas" is another name for Earth in one of the ancient languages (compare mundo).

What exactly moved Mondas out of its orbit is not known. According to the book Cybermen by Davis Banks it was the arrival of the Moon in orbit around Earth, but the canonicity of this is uncertain. According to the Cybermen themselves, the Mondasians were once exactly like human beings, but to remove various weaknesses such as a decreasing lifespan, their scientists designed cybernetic spare parts to replace the organs of the human body. They also considered emotions a weakness, and removed those from their brains as well, becoming extremely powerful and long-lived while at the cost of becoming cold, logical and machine-like in their ruthlessness. It is unclear if this conversion process arose because of environmental necessity after Mondas left its orbit or for other reasons."

In a comment on an earlier post Matthew Celestis said...
You did not even mention The World Shapers strip, in which Mondas turns out to be Marinus (the planet with the acid sea) and the original Cybermen, the Voord in their acid suits.
You knew The World Shapers was by Grant Morrison, so I thought you knew that already.

Of course, I don't think Grant Morrison had actually watched The Keys of Marinus before writing The World Shapers, as the only thing from that story he references is the Voord and the name of the planet.

It does make a lot of sense. A computer governing people, blokes with handlebars on their helmets, a very earth-like planet (apart from the acid sea) and the peculiar fact that the old bloke at the beginning seems to have lived quite a long time (partially cybernised).

Lance Parkin considers Mondas as Marinus to be canonical. Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles dismiss The World Shapers as a bit silly.
So, perhaps, at last, we are going to find out what moved Mondas out of its orbit.

(Though I can't work out why Dusty Springfield would be playing on Mondas, not unless its peoples were identical).

1 comment:

liminalD said...

Interesting, but I'm not convinced.

I think the Flesh is the stuff the Sontarans use to clone themselves and others - it looks very much like the stuff seen in The Sontaran Stratagem and prior to the solar storm/Gamma strike it's controlled in much the same way as the Martha clone - requiring a person to be strapped into a harness to maintain an intellectual link and imbue the clone with a personality.

The design of the acid suits DOES suggest the Cybermen, but also vaguely resembles the Sontaran silhouette, so I'm inclined to think that both are laying a trap for the Doctor here... press releases have said there's a trap in store, the Flesh scanned the Doctor and made him touch it to create a duplicate and on-set photos and the trailer for the series have shown confirmed Sontarans and Cybermen for this series.

As for Dusty Springfield, I think that's the best piece of evidence that this is in fact future Earth, not Mondas, as the idea that another planet would produce an identical piece of art is somewhat ridiculous... unless this is the parallel Earth of the Cybus Cybermen, which is conceivable. Most stories in this season so far have had little reminders of the existence of parallel worlds, from the appearances of the lady with the eyepatch to the Siren's ship and the bubble universe inhabited by Idris and the House.

The song also seems to have some thematic significance, in that its lyrics bear some resemblance to the sort of things the Gangers say throughout the episode to assert that they are in fact REAL people.

Just my thoughts - not long til we find out one way or another :)


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