Doctor Who's Russell T. Davies Discusses How A Star Wars Film Inspired Ruby Sunday's Story

 Ruby Sunday at the time window in Doctor Who.
Credit: Disney+

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Doctor Who episode "Empire of Death." Watch it with a Disney+ subscription, and read at your own risk!

Disney+'s first season of Doctor Who closed by solving the big mystery of Ruby Sunday, albeit maybe not in the way fans expected. The show explained just about every wild coincidence that kept occurring, and while we still don't know who Mrs. Flood is, we do know the identity of Ruby Sunday's mother. Amidst conversations about the reveal, showrunner Russell T. Davies explained a Star Wars movie was why he chose to have Ruby's mother be just an ordinary woman.

The reveal that Ruby's mother was some average woman, rather than River Song or Jodie Whittaker's iteration of The Doctor, confused some Doctor Who viewers. Davies explained in a commentary track for the episode "Empire Of Death," however, that he was inspired to tell that story after watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi and disliking the retcon of the significance of Rey's parents:

This is kind of my reaction to – bear with me now – the Star Wars films. I can't remember their titles but in the last trilogy, the second film said that Daisy Ridley [Rey] was nothing special. There was nothing special about her parentage. That she just got the Force...and ordinary person with the Force. And then in the next one they changed it all so that she was this child of the Emperor...and I really loved the version where she wasn't special.

Sci-fi fans may recall that Star Wars: The Last Jedi saw pushback from fans over the reveal, they felt let down that Rey's lineage wasn't significant in any way. The Rise Of Skywalker then changed it so that she ended up being the child of a clone of Emperor Palpatine and, therefore, imbued with his powers of the Force.

Audiences were as divided on the Rey decision as critics were on The Rise Of Skywalker, so perhaps Doctor Who fans should remember that after feeling let down by the reveal. Russell T. Davies has no regrets about his decision, as he talked about the possibilities for Ruby's parents and why he landed on the decision he did:

She's not the daughter of Sutekh. She's not the daughter of the Time Lords or Rassilon or something like that. Her mum is Louise Miller who was 15 years old and pregnant, from a dangerous home, an abusive home, and left her child on the doorstep. That's my reaction to it because I think that's a better story.

At the end of the season, Ruby stayed behind in her time period to catch up with her birth mother and prepare to meet her birth father in the coming days. The Doctor was left to travel alone, though I believe he will explore his origins and seek out his family in coming adventures.

As for Ruby Sunday, we do know that Millie Gibson will return next season despite The Doctor getting another new companion. Varada Sethu will also join the series after making a surprise appearance in the episode "Boom." It remains to be seen if that was just some coincidence where an actor is welcomed onto the cast ahead of landing a bigger role, but I'm sure we'll know for sure next season. For now, let's just be happy that some of our biggest questions about this season were answered, even if a few are still unanswered.

Doctor Who will return with another new episode on the 2024 TV schedule for the Christmas special, and hopefully, by then, we'll have an idea of when the next season may debut. I'm excited for more adventures with Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor and for more answers about the gods of the Pantheon as we continue.