Home : Archive : TSV 1-10 : TSV 3 : Feature

Cyberman History

A Theory of Evolution for the Cybermen

By Michael Mayo

Many writers have written articles in the past whereby they try to provide an explanation of how all the Dalek or Cybermen stories fit together time-wise. That is, one story may be made after another, but be set in a time period prior to the first one, such as Genesis of the Daleks, which came before The Daleks, but was made about a decade later. Like the Dalek Early Developmental History in TSV 1, this is one of those articles, dedicated this time to the Cybermen.

Since there are fewer Cyberman stories than Dalek stories, there are fewer continuity errors. Most of them are with the Cyberman designs. For instance, in The Invasion, Cybermen invade Earth in the year 1968. The Cybermen designs in this story are far more advanced than the ones that invade the Moonbase in 2070, and still more advanced than the ones who came from Mondas in 1986. Mondas was obviously still in existence in 1968, so when the more evolved Cybermen invaded Earth back then, something was obviously wrong. This article will try to explain this and other small errors that have occurred, by giving one version of the evolution of the Cybermen.

Firstly, the facts we already know: a) Mondas was the home planet of the Cybermen; b) Mondas was the twin planet of Earth, and c) the Cybermen were once emotional humans like ourselves. Therefore, it is all right to assume that life on Mondas evolved very similar to life on Earth, because even the continents of that planet were exactly the same as Earth's. Surely by the time Mondas had reached the point in evolution that we are now at, there must have been at least two opposing countries, much the same as on Earth: East and West. Like today, both could have been on the same technological level, racing to beat each other with some new invention, etc. Eventually, they must have realised that cybernetics was not only the key to en extended lifespan, but also to overpowering the opposition. So both side 'A' and side 'B' began to semi-cybernize their citizens. This probably went on for a while, until everyone on Mondas was cybernetic.

In order to account for the varying designs of Cybermen that we have seen, like the case of The Invasion, I think that one of the sides must have gained the upper hand, let's say side 'A', and driven side 'B' off the planet. Much time passed, and while 'A' developed the first Cybermen seen in The Tenth Planet 'B' would have colonised some other world. It is my guess that side 'B' sent spies back to Mondas, and they discovered not only the blueprints for the new Cybermen, but the plans to invade Mondas' twin planet, Earth. Consequently, side 'B' created and added to the original Cyberman designs advancing it so much that 'A' Cybermen looked very primitive by comparison. These were the Cybermen that invaded Earth in The Invasion in 1968. The 'B' Cybermen wanted to get hold of our planet before the 'A' Cybermen did, but they failed.

Eighteen years later, in 1986, the Cybermen from Mondas launched their invasion. Whereas the 'B' Cybermen had been adapted to living on various planets and in space, the 'A' Cybermen were very primitive. In fact, they were the only Cybermen to still have noses and be called by names.

Once Mondas had been destroyed at the conclusion of The Tenth Planet, some Cybermen survived and rebuilt themselves more like the 'B' Cybermen, who had turned their attention away from Earth. The 'A' Cybermen were still primitive compared to the 'B' race, but they realised that in order to survive they needed Earth, since it was so much like Mondas. So they attempted to invade it again twice: once in the year 2070 in The Moonbase, and again a short time later in The Wheel in Space.

Finally, with the Cyberman population dwindling, the remainder built a base on the planet Telos, where they stayed for centuries in hibernation. Only once were they disturbed, in The Tomb of the Cybermen.

Meanwhile, the other group of Cybermen wreaked havoc in space and built a giant empire. This was the dominant force in the galaxy for a millennium, but it was crushed during the Cyberwars when rebels discovered the Cybermen's only weakness; gold. The Cybermen were almost totally eliminated, but a few escaped the destruction and made a last effort to destroy Voga, the planet of gold. They failed miserably, as seen in Revenge of the Cybermen.

Soon after this, Earth became central in the galaxy, and the remaining Cyberleaders rebuilt their army. They plotted and planned for a long time, end eventually decided to attack Earth, something they had not done since 1968. This invasion was more organised than the one on Voga, and they almost succeeded except for the invention of the Dector.

Perhaps some Cybermen survived after Earthshock and went to Telos to seek help, because the Cybermen that emerge from the tomb in Attack of the Cybermen are of the ultra-modem design of the 'B' race. At the end of this story, however, the Cybermen are sealed forever in the tomb by tons and tons of rubble...

Editor's Comments

By Paul Scoones

There are some very interesting theories raised in this article and I am sure many readers will have different views. I would like to raise a few points myself.

Earthshock definitely took place in the year 2526, and at the very earliest, Revenge of the Cybermen is dated as 2900, the other way around to how they appear above. Indeed, it is very strongly hinted that the Revenge Cybermen were the very last remnants of the Cyber-race, much like we saw the final destruction of the Dalek race in The Evil of the Daleks. The 'peak' of the Cyber Empire came at the outbreak of the Great Cyberwars, which broke out soon after the formation of the Galactic Alliance on Earth which was what the Cybermen in Earthshock were trying to prevent occurring.

Voga, the asteroid central to Revenge of the Cybermen, was all that was left of the planet of gold after the Cybermen tried to destroy it during the Cyberwars to prevent the Alliance using the abundant supplies of gold against them. I wonder if the Doctor precipitated the discovery that gold was such an effective weapon, as he told the crew of the freighter of this advantage, and they lived to pass on such valuable information to the Alliance.

The small army of Cybermen concealed in the hold of the freighter also escaped, and it seems likely that this army was the one that ended up on Gallifrey, kidnapped by Rassilon's timescoop, in The Five Doctors, as they recognised Peter Davison's Doctor.

Also, The Wheel in Space must take place prior to The Moonbase, because whilst the latter, as is correctly pointed out above, is set in 2070, the former is set in the year 2000, determined by Zoe's comments in The Mind Robber.

Which brings me to Attack of the Cybermen. The first half of this story takes place in 1985 or 1986, with the Cybermen lurking in their base in London's sewers, left over from the 1968 invasion. In the eighteen-year wait, they have had ample time to redesign themselves, hence the Earthshock-style costumes. By Michael Mayo's theory, these are type 'B' Cybermen, and in Attack of the Cybermen they are undeniably more interested in the fate of Mondas than that of Earth.

The action then moves to Telos for the second half of the story, and here I must dispel the theory that the Cyberbase in Attack of the Cybermen with the tombs below are the same ones as in The Tomb of the Cybermen. They most certainly are not. Not only is the design and layout of the tombs different, but the Cyberdesign is different as well. The tomb in Attack of the Cybermen, I contend, is on a totally different part of the planet Telos from that in The Tomb of the Cybermen. Another piece of evidence to support this theory is that there were no Cryons in The Tomb of the Cybermen.

The Cybermen in Attack of the Cybermen would have to be 'B' type, so their interest in preventing the destruction of Mondas using a stolen time machine must mean that they did not wish the elimination of their rivals, the 'A' type Cybermen. As for being superior to the 'A' type Cyberman, I would dispute this, because while they certainly look "ultra-modern", they are far more vulnerable to attack that they have ever been before. Witness the ineffectiveness of a machine gun against them in The Tenth Planet, the UNIT bazookas needed to destroy them in The Invasion and the lack of effect blasters had on them in Revenge of the Cybermen. Even in Earthshock, it was only after Tegan used one of their own weapons against the Cybermen that destroying them became easy. Yet in Attack of the Cybermen, Commander Lytton and his men blow them away with mere revolvers. Perhaps a regression rather than evolution? If it weren't for this vulnerability factor, I would say the CyberController sent out the Cybermen in Earthshock from the base on Telos.

This item appeared in TSV 3 (October 1987).