Who Is Sutekh? Doctor Who 2024 Villain from Pyramids of Mars Explained

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Sutekh, Ncuti Gatwa Doctor Who

Doctor Who just brought back the classic villain Sutekh in the 2024 season finale for the first time since he debuted in 1975's "Pyramids of Mars."

Doctor Who Reveals Sutekh as 2024's Big Bad

Doctor Who, Sutekh, Pyramids of Mars
Doctor Who

Ever since the third of 2023's 60th anniversary specials, "The Giggle," Doctor Who has been brewing the mystery of The One Who Waits. The mysterious entity was first referenced by Neil Patrick Harris' Toymaker "the one player [he] didn't dare face" after battling against the universe's most fearsome.

The villain-to-be was namedropped again by Jinkx Monsoon in "The Devil's Chord" as they told how "The One Who Waits is almost here." They even teased a major reveal in that The One Who Waits may have been present on Christmas Eve 2004 as Ruby was abandoned at the church on Ruby Road.

After a season and several specials of build-up, "The Legend of Ruby Sunday" finally brought the reveal of The One Who Waits, confirming the illusive villain to be none other than Sutekh, who has some history already in Doctor Who.

Sutekh was described by Genesis Lynea's Harriet Arbinger, aka Harbinger, as the "god of all gods" along with "the god of death." He is noted to be a member of the Pantheon of Discord - the gods from outside the universe which also includes the Toymaker, the Trickster, and Maestro.

The voice of Sutekh in Doctor Who's latest chapter was offered by Gabriel Woolf, who also played the villain in 1975's "Pyramids of Mars."

Sutekh's Doctor Who History Explained

Doctor Who 2024, The Legend of Ruby Sunday, Sutekh Reveal
Doctor Who

Sutekh debuted in the four-part tale "Pyramids of Mars" as one of the Osiarans, a race of powerful and intelligent god-like beings who have been worshipped across many cultures, including in Ancient Egypt.

The villain set out to destroy all life due to his fear of anything that could challenge his dominance. This placed Sutekh into conflict with the other Osirans with whom he ruled over many civilizations across the universe.

The conflict came to a head as he was imprisoned by the Osirans in a tomb on Mars in a state of paralysis using a device called the Eye of Horus, which was reinforced with a matching device on Earth.

After Professor Marcus Scarman uncovered the pyramid on Earth in 1911, he was mind-controlled in helping Sutekh free himself. The Osiran villain used his control over various people and mummy-like robots to dismantle the device on Earth and free himself from his prison on Mars.

Once the Fourth Doctor and his companion Sarah Jane Smith uncovered what was going on, they travelled to the tomb on Mars to confront him. However, the Doctor was able to overcome Sutekh's mind control attempts and reroute him through a time corridor, leaving him stuck in an endless journey through time.

How Will Sutekh Play Into Doctor Who's Finale

Doctor Who Empire of Death, Sutekh
Doctor Who

It's unclear how Sutekh was able to escape from the Doctor's time trap or if the events of "Pyramids of Mars" will be addressed in Episode 8, "Empire of Death."

Whatever the case, Sutekh has somehow managed to latch onto the TARDIS and has been bonded with the Doctor's time machine in secret for an undetermined period before "The Legend of Ruby Sunday."

The synopsis for "Empire of Death" teases how the Doctor's "ageless enemy [Sutekh] reigns supreme" but teases how "perhaps, one woman" can stop the destruction and death raining down on all creation:

"The Doctor has lost, his ageless enemy reigns supreme, and a shadow is falling over creation. Nothing can stop the devastation... except, perhaps, one woman."

Doctor Who has left behind several contenders for who this mysteriously significant woman could be in Ruby Sunday, her unknown birth mother, Susan Triad, or perhaps the illusive Mrs. Flood who somehow foresaw Sutekh's arrival.

Regardless, the Doctor is bound to have a tough time ending Sutekh's destruction of all life as the secrets of Ruby's birth are revealed and the recurring appearances of Susan Triad are explained. And in classic Doctor Who fashion, all these mysteries will almost certainly connect in some shocking way.

Doctor Who's 2024 finale, "Empire of Death," will premiere on Friday, June 21 on Disney+ in most territories and Saturday, June 22 on BBC iPlayer in the U.K. and Ireland.

Read more about Doctor Who:

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- In This Article: Doctor Who (Series 14)
Release Date
May 10, 2024
Ncuti Gatwa
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.