Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in the Doctor Who season 14 finale

Yes, ‘Doctor Who’s Ruby Sunday Mom Reveal Was Much Better Than Its ‘Star Wars’ Inspiration

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies confirmed that Ruby Sunday’s (Millie Gibson) mom reveal in the season’s finale was partially inspired by Star Wars’ reveal of Rey’s parentage, and I’m inclined to agree with him that Doctor Who’s reveal was the “better story” of the two.

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Much of Doctor Who’s 14th season was spent teasing the origin of the Doctor’s (Ncuti Gatwa) new companion, Ruby. The 2023 Christmas special revealed Ruby was a foundling, having been left outside a Church on Ruby Road on Christmas Eve as an infant. As an adult, she searched for her birth mother but was frustrated to find there was surprisingly no trace of her anywhere. Once she began traveling with the Doctor, viewers began to speculate there was something supernatural about Ruby’s parentage, which would explain her unique ability to make it snow and why the Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon) feared her. Many viewers speculated that she was connected to the Doctor’s long-lost granddaughter, Susan.

The Doctor Who season 14 finally revealed Ruby’s mom was Louise Miller (Faye McKeever) and that she was … no one special? She’s not the Doctor’s granddaughter, a Time Lord, or the daughter of the god of death. Instead, she was just a 15-year-old human girl caught in a bad situation. She wanted to do right by her newborn daughter and had such strong willpower not to be found that she confounded both the Doctor and Sutekh (Gabriel Woolf).

How Star Wars inspired Doctor Who’s Louise Miller reveal

Daisy Ridley as Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

In the commentary for Doctor Who’s latest season finale, “Empire of Death,” Davies explained how the Star Wars sequel trilogy inspired the final reveal of Ruby’s mother. He pointed out how, earlier in the trilogy, Daisy Ridley’s Rey “was nothing special” and “there was nothing special about her parentage.” That storyline was soon retconned with the reveal that she was actually the granddaughter of Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) or, as Davies put it, “this child of the emperor.” However, the showrunner realized he preferred “the version where she wasn’t special.”

As a result, he used the storyline for Louise and stuck to the version where she’s no one special. He stated, “She’s not the daughter of Sutekh. She’s not the daughter of the Time Lords or Rassilon or something like that. Her mum is Louise Miller, who was 15 years old and pregnant, from a dangerous home, abusive home, and left her child on the doorstep.” Davies concluded that he thinks his version is “a better story.”

Why Russell T. Davies is right that Doctor Who is the better story

The final reveal of Ruby’s mother in Doctor Who garnered some mixed reactions from viewers. Many felt underwhelmed or frustrated with the reveal, claiming it was anticlimactic and disappointing. However, I personally think that Davies is right that Ruby’s mother’s reveal was better than Star Wars’ reveal. After all, when Rey was suddenly revealed to be Palpatine’s granddaughter, the fandom had some criticism. Some argued that the sudden retcon didn’t make sense and wasn’t adequately foreshadowed. It was like the trilogy just felt it had to connect her to someone, so it threw in the random Palpatine ties at the last minute.

Doctor Who could’ve done the same thing as Star Wars. It could’ve gone through its long history, pulled up some old Time Lord, companion, or god, and declared the random past character was now somehow Ruby’s mother. It’s kind of surprising how many viewers wanted Louise to be someone from the Doctor’s history. Don’t they ever get tired of franchises pulling the same, tired trick where every new character is somehow secretly and unconvincing tied to some character from the past? I certainly think Doctor Who has pulled the “this new character is actually the Master” trick far too many times. Louise feels refreshing because she’s one of those few characters who’s actually allowed to be herself and be wholly original and new.

On top of that, the show did a good job explaining how Louise did the impossible. The Doctor pointed out that she became so powerful because so many people invested significance in her because they believed she was important. It’s funny to see Doctor Who viewers scoff at this explanation, even though they did the same thing. There was really little evidence that she was a Time Lord since Ruby was confirmed to be fully human. Yet, viewers decided she was Susan, arguably the most important absent character in the entire franchise. They believed she was important, so they made her important.

Finally, Doctor Who’s story is more inspiring because it’s about an ordinary person doing the extraordinary. In Star Wars, Rey had to be related to Palpatine to be an extraordinary Force user. However, Louise didn’t need any powerful ties or abilities to explain her extraordinary acts. She was simply a woman with so much willpower and strength that she seemingly did the impossible. It’s nice to think that sometimes women are just plain powerful and exceptional without needing to draw that power from anyone else.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.