Gaiman on Upgrading the Cybermen
Writer Neil Gaiman has explained why he “upgraded” the Cybermen for Nightmare in Silver.
He told SFX: “For me the absolute joy of bringing back the Cybermen was coming up with a weird rationalisation: in the Tom Baker universe the Cybermen pretty much died out. They were incredibly unsuccessful and clunky. And then you get the Cybus Cybermen. My theory is the Cybus Cybermen were sent to Victorian days and zapped off into time and space at the end of “The Next Doctor”. They met a bunch of the Mondasian/Telosian Cybermen, and there was some cross-breeding and interchange of technology, which is why you then get the ones that look like, but actually aren’t, the Cybus Cybermen.
“And then I thought well, they’re going to keep upgrading themselves – my computer doesn’t look like it did five or ten years ago, definitely not 15 years ago. It’s going to be faster and it’s going to be better. So let’s make the Cybermen faster and slicker and better. And with their faces let’s try and go back to something that felt a little creepier. I looked at the “Moonbase” ones and they have this weird, impassive, uncanny valley thing of just the two eyes and the mouth, in the position they would be on a human face. It’s just really unsettling, and I wanted that.”
He added: “I definitely felt like the last few times we’ve seen them they are incredibly easy to defeat, plus they make so much noise moving around that you could just run away. If you hear something going hissy-hissy-clunk-clunk-clunk you can always go somewhere else. So there was definitely an early draft in which I changed that. I tend to do expensive things in early drafts and then they go away, so there was a scene where I had a hundred Cybermen coming up out of the sea on somewhere like Brighton Beach, which is all pebbles, and then moving completely silently over the pebbles. One human is running away from them and you can hear the crunchy-crunchy-crunchy-crunchy of the pebbles – but they’re completely silent, which I really liked, the idea that you can’t hear them coming at all.”