Daleks in the New Year. Devils in the spring. Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor sure has her work cut out for her before she regenerates.

Following the premiere of the Doctor Who New Year’s special, “Eve of the Daleks,” the BBC revealed a preview for the next special fans can look forward to. And it features some quite  unexpected – but charmingly welcome – throwback villains.

Check out the quick teaser for “Legend of the Sea Devils” below.

The short preview clip doesn’t reveal much. But it sets up the premise of the special, which will center around the aquatic villains first seen on the series in the 1970s, the Sea Devils. “Legend of the Sea Devils” will see the Doctor (Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gill), and Dan (John Bishop) traveling to 19th century China. There they find a small coastal village under threat from the pirate queen Madame Ching (Crystal Yu) and the monstrous alien force she unknowingly unleashed. 

Who are the Sea Devils, and what does their appearance mean for Doctor Who?

These aliens first appeared in the 1972 Doctor Who serial “The Sea Devils.” Back then, John Pertwee’s Third Doctor took them on, alongside his companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning). 

Now, the Sea Devils certainly never reached the iconic heights of the Daleks or the Cybermen in Doctor Who. (They last appeared on screen in 1984’s “Warriors of the Deep,” with Peter Davidson’s Fifth Doctor.) But I’m personally VERY excited to see these weird lil dudes back on screen. Besides the fact that I think they’re a cool creature design, I’m hoping Chris Chibnall will use their return to do some great callbacks to their original appearance. 

First, I would love to see the special feature a cameo appearance from Manning, who was there for the original emergence of the Sea Devils. Manning last appeared on screen in character in The Sarah Jane Adventures. But she’s still involved in the Doctor Who extended universe, lending her voice to video games and Big Finish audios. 

Next, one of the reasons “The Sea Devils” is one of my all-time favorite classic Who serials is it’s a great story for the Doctor/Master dynamic. So I’m hoping “Legend of the Sea Devils” brings back the Master (or at least builds up to his arrival in Whittaker’s final special). Also, the original serial included this truly iconic moment of the Doctor and the Master fencing:

Chibnall, PLEASE let Whittaker do a sword fight! (We already know the episode has pirates. It just makes sense!!)

Will “Legend of the Sea Devils” hit any of my special wish list items? We’ll just have to wait and see. The special plans to air sometime this Spring (the exact date remains TBA). The episode will be Whittaker’s penultimate as the Time Lord; she will officially regenerate in the subsequent Fall 2022 special.

So, are you excited to see the Sea Devils return? Are you already buzzing about what else their appearance might mean like I am? Let me know in the comments below.

Meanwhile, check back to THS for more Doctor Who updates.