Warning: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder.
The ripples in time caused by the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble’s (Catherine Tate) brief meeting with Isaac Newton (Nathaniel Curtis) in Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder hit Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, as the 2013 movie’s title received a Whoniverse rename. The second of the sci-fi series’ 60th-anniversary specials saw the TARDIS team stranded on a ghost ship on the edge of the universe, stalked by an unknowable horror. Cuaron’s sci-fi thriller saw Sandra Bullock and George Clooney portray a pair of astronauts caught in a catastrophic field of space debris that leaves them stranded in a fight for survival in Earth’s orbit.
With Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder‘s meeting with Newton accidentally changing Earth’s history, Richard Skelham on Twitter imagines a surprising crossover with 2013’s Gravity that envisioned the implications of the figure mishearing the Doctor and Donna’s pun.
— Richard Skelham (@R_SkeL) December 3, 2023
In his post, the poster for Gravity is reimagined with the TARDIS as the subject, as the vessel is caught in the artwork’s depiction of the movie’s Explorer disaster. However, the title has also been adjusted to be “Mavity“, implying the far-reaching ripples of the show’s current leading duo’s simple joke.
Will Doctor Who Turn “Mavity” into A Running Gag?
Doctor Who didn’t just limit the cold-open joke to the pre-title sequence, as despite the episode focusing on the Doctor and Donna’s encounters with twisted doppelgangers at the edge of the universe, the moment was felt throughout the episode despite Newton being limited to the early scene. When speaking about the scientific side of their situation, both the Doctor and Donna said “Mavity” instead of “Gravity“, implying that their small action permanently changed history, even if at first the Doctor was briefly confused. While a small part of the tense episode, the gag is a fun play on Doctor Who‘s time-travel mechanics.
However, it is currently unclear whether this will be a permanent status quo for Doctor Who, or if an off-screen adventure could see some TARDIS team smooth over the mistake. On one hand, returning showrunner Russell T Davies is no stranger to not only weaving longrunning plots throughout multiple seasons, but also having multiple gags including the Tenth Doctor’s disproval of companions going too far when trying to fit in with historical settings, showing he is more than willing to commit to a reoccurring bit. Despite this, with the show’s many exposition-heavy moments involving scientific terminology and the upcoming Ncuti Gatwa-led season 14 being treated as a jumping-on point, perhaps extending the joke beyond the special could be an obstacle for unfamiliar or new audiences.
The “Mavity” gag was a much-needed source of levity in a tense, unsettling Doctor Who episode. With uncanny body horror and psychological distress plaguing the Doctor and Donna, the mentions of “mavity” offered brief interludes from the episode’s scarier moments, helping it be both terrifying and fun. While audiences never saw the wider implications of the slip-up, Skelham’s piece is a fun play on what could be in the Whoniverse.