The British drama has largely taken in a fresh start for this new era to make room for new viewers on Disney+. Although the show has continued to reference its long 60-year/873-episode history of characters, stories, and sci-fi concepts.
Doctor Who's 'Flux' Reference Explained
During a conversation between The Doctor and Donna Noble in Doctor Who's 2023 Special 2, "Wild Blue Yonder," the pair discussed some of the major events the Time Lord has lived through in the years since they last met.
Referring to the events Donna saw in her head during the last episode's climactic events, she mentioned an event from last season, "the Flux," which the Doctor stated "destroyed half the universe because of [him]:"
Donna: "I saw it, in my head... the Flux"
Doctor: "It destroyed half the universe because of me. We stand here on the edge of creation, a creation which I devastated. So yes, I keep running."
Doctor Who Season 13 explored the mystery of the Flux before finally revealing in the finale it was created to destroy the 13th Doctor by the Division, a shadowy organization of early Time Lords on Gallifrey (the Doctor's home planet).
As the Division set course to relocate to the next universe, leader Tecteun ordered the Flux to be unleashed to wipe out the universe and kill the Doctor after she discovered her true origins, her past as a Division agent, and how her memories of that past were removed by the shady group.
In terms of what the Flux actually is, the destructive wave was largely made of anti-matter from outside the universe, having been described as a "hurricane ripping through the structure of this universe."
Two Flux events took place in the season, the first of which tore through half the universe and left the rest as a contested territory between various aliens.
The second and final planned Flux event was aborted after two Ravager aliens, Swarm and Azure, took control of the Division and killed Tecteun.
Clearly, The Doctor feels a sense of responsibility now for the Flux destroying half the universe as it was created with the sole intent to kill him.
Will the Doctor's Confusing Past Be Important to Doctor Who's Future?
With six decades and over 800 episodes of Doctor Who canon now in existence, the British sci-fi drama is no easy one to explore in its entirety. That said, every few years, usually when a new showrunner comes in, the series makes a point of creating something of an accessible jumping-on point for new viewers.
Doctor Who is currently in the midst of another one of those just now as the show's arrival on Disney+ outside the U.K. & Ireland welcomes a host of newcomers.
But even though Doctor Who is now making an effort to push itself to a bigger audience than ever, that doesn't mean it has left behind the past. The 60th-anniversary specials have been filled with returning favorites and callbacks to the past, and fans should by no means expect those to stop anytime soon.
For those unfamiliar with past seasons, something like the Flux is simply a tragic event in the Doctor's past for which he was in some way responsible and had a great impact on the Time Lord.
The show's modern revival in 2005 after decades off the air had something similar through mentions of the traumatic Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks, which was never pictured on-screen for many more years to come.
Doctor Who's first two 60th anniversary specials are streaming now on Disney+ in most territories and exclusively on BBC iPlayer in the U.K. & Ireland.