Doctor Who 'Rogue': Who is the eponymous Rogue?

A scene from Doctor Who episode 6 "Rogue."
(Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

In "Rogue," the latest episode of "Doctor Who," the Doctor and Ruby Sunday travel to the 19th century to enjoy the delights of Regency England. The dancing and high society romance are all very "Bridgerton" — or, for the benefit of older viewers, Jane Austen — but there's something amiss at the Duchess of Pemberton (Indira Varma)'s party. 

A group of alien cosplayers are playing a lethal game of dress-up, and the only people standing in their way are the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa), Ruby (Millie Gibson) and a mysterious bounty hunter known simply as Rogue — a man who develops an unexpectedly deep connection with the last of the Time Lords. 

Here's a look at just who this roguish Rogue might be, and if you're a bit lost in time and space and need a refresher on all things Who, check out our Doctor Who streaming guide for how to watch the Fifteenth Doctor's first season. 

Disney Plus

Disney Plus is now the international home of "Doctor Who." That means that viewers outside the U.K. can watch new "Doctor Who" episodes on the streamer — as well as the three David Tennant-starring 60th anniversary episodes, and Ncuti Gatwa's first full outing as the Time Lord, "The Church on Ruby Road". 

Episodes debut on Disney Plus at the same time they appear on BBC iPlayer.

Why is Rogue hanging out in Regency England?

Jonathan Groff is Rogue in Doctor Who's season 1 episode 6 of the same name. But what's his deal? (Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

This space-faring bounty hunter (played by "Frozen" and "The Matrix Resurrections" star Jonathan Groff) has made the trip to 19th century England to capture a group of Chuldur cosplaying "Bridgerton." Groff has said he was trying to channel Han Solo into the character, who also shares similarities with the Doctor's former travelling companion — and "Torchwood" lead — Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

Once Rogue has rounded up the shapeshifting aliens, he plans to use the Triform device located on his old asteroid hopper to transport them to an incinerator.

Why are the Chuldur so dangerous?

The bird-like Chuldur take over the bodies of Regency era elite to live their best "Bridgerton" life in Doctor Who's "Rogue." (Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

They take dressing up as their heroes to the next level. Rather than simply wearing a costume, these bird-like creatures literally inhabit the body of their subject, killing the original version in the process — think Tenth Doctor villains the "Family of Blood" with more fannish tendencies and rather more feathers.

The Chuldur have no intention of ending their cosplay adventure at the Duchess's soiree, either, promising to take their quest for "the gossip, the romance, the scandal" of the Regency era to London and beyond. Maybe they'll even start a few wars with "everyone who doesn't look British". 

It's strongly hinted that the Chuldur have been drawn to Earth by broadcasts of "Bridgerton" beamed out into space. This echoes the Thermians building their culture around a "Star Trek"-like TV show in "Galaxy Quest," or the residents of Omicron Persei 8 travelling to Earth to demand the reinstatement of hit show "Single Female Lawyer" in "Futurama."

Where does Rogue come from?

The Chuldur explore Regency England in Doctor Who's episode 6 "Rogue." (Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

That's not entirely clear, but — looking at the technology on his spaceship — it's safe to say that he's from the future. He also has some knowledge of Earth's pop culture, seeing as he named himself after a player class in "Dungeons & Dragons", and has Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" at the top of his playlist. 

Although Rogue currently works alone, he once shared the ship with the partner he lost in tragic circumstances. He's not self-employed, though, and moans about the amount of paperwork demanded by his boss.

How do the Doctor and Rogue hit it off?

The Doctor and Rogue hit it off in the season 1 episode 6 "Rogue." (Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

It's that classic old tale of Time Lord and interstellar bounty hunter impressing each other with their respective spaceships as they vow to "argue across the stars." 

But in the tradition of all the best romantic comedies, the course of true love doesn't run entirely smoothly. In fact, there's plenty of antagonism between the pair when they first meet, the Doctor mocking the bounty hunter's brooding demeanor, while Rogue dismisses his new acquaintance as a "court jester." 

Moments later, that antipathy is maxed out, as each man accuses the other of being a fugitive Chuldur. Rogue is just a few short vexils away from having the Doctor incinerated, until the sight of the Time Lord's previous incarnations (including  — in an intriguing twist — the Richard E. Grant version from animated episode "Scream of the Shalka") grants him a stay of execution.

Of course, as soon as the two men realize they're on the same side, the sparks really start to fly.

"This is a chance for the Doctor to sizzle," says showrunner Russell T Davies on "Doctor Who: Unleashed". "First of all they're enemies, then they're friends, that classic rom-com structure, the meet-cute and the arguing, and the falling out, then the coming together."

"I guess [the queer romance] was always like the center of it for us, the heart of the story," adds co-writer Kate Herron. "Ncuti's interpretation [of the Doctor] is so extroverted, so we were like, well, let's make [Rogue] a bit more of an introvert, because that will just be fun, and opposites attract."

Has the Doctor fallen in love before?

Has the Doctor found a new love interest in Rogue for the first season of Doctor Who's Fifteenth Doctor? (Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

Although we knew the Doctor had a granddaughter, implying a relationship somewhere in his past, the Time Lord didn't really do romance in the classic series — to the extent that the kiss the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) shared with Dr. Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) in the 1996 TV movie proved incredibly controversial among the fanbase. 

Since the show's return in 2005, however, the Doctor's kissed a fair number of people, including Amy Pond (Karen Gillian), the aforementioned Captain Jack, and River Song (Alex Kingston). A duplicate of the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) even settled down with Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) in a parallel universe. 

Nonetheless, it's debatable whether the Doctor has ever had any screen moments quite as passionate as the dance and the kiss he shares with Rogue. He's certainly come a long way since Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor told the Countess Scarlioni (in classic serial "City of Death"), "You're a beautiful woman, probably."

What happens to Rogue at the end?

The Doctor and Rogue form a close bond in Doctor Who episode 6 "Rogue." (Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

With Ruby seemingly a cosplay victim, and a transport gate set to dispatch the Chuldur to a random barren dimension — "no one to hurt, no way back" — the Doctor seems ready to push the button to vanquish his enemies. Then it turns out that the Ruby stuck to the Triform is the real deal, paralyzing the Doctor with grief. 

Step forward Rogue, who nobly sacrifices himself, stepping onto the Triform to save Ruby and the whole of planet Earth – while banishing himself to parts unknown.

Will Rogue return?

Rogue holds a glowing device in Doctor Who episode 6. (Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

The Doctor points out that there are "as many dimensions as there are atoms in the universe" — and that he doesn't even know Rogue's real name — so it's going to be a long shot. But there's definitely unfinished business between the two men, and "Doctor Who" tends to find a way to bring back its most popular characters.

At the very least, the actor playing the Doctor's new love interest is keen. "I hope we see Rogue again," says Groff. "Rogue tells the Doctor at the end of the episode to find him, so it's totally up to the Doctor. The ball is in his court, so to speak."

"Doctor Who" streams on BBC iPlayer in the UK and Disney Plus elsewhere in the world. New episodes debut at 7pm ET/4pm PT on Fridays, and midnight on Saturdays in the UK. Our guide to watching new "Doctor Who" episodes explains more.

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Richard Edwards Contributor

Richard's love affair with outer space started when he saw the original "Star Wars" on TV aged four, and he spent much of the ’90s watching "Star Trek”, "Babylon 5” and “The X-Files" with his mum. After studying physics at university, he became a journalist, swapped science fact for science fiction, and hit the jackpot when he joined the team at SFX, the UK's biggest sci-fi and fantasy magazine. He liked it so much he stayed there for 12 years, four of them as editor. 

He's since gone freelance and passes his time writing about "Star Wars", "Star Trek" and superheroes for the likes of SFX, Total Film, TechRadar and GamesRadar+. He has met five Doctors, two Starfleet captains and one Luke Skywalker, and once sat in the cockpit of "Red Dwarf"'s Starbug.  

  • Erny_Module
    Who cares? It's all irrelevant nonsense. The writing is fractally bad - bad at any resolution. Omnibad - bad from any angle. Utterly appalling tripe. I thought 'Foundation' was bad until I discovered Dr. Who and The Accolyte.
    So that's how far down the bar can be set.