Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Animus
Video - The Web Planet
The Web Planet
 Name: The Animus, AKA Lloigor

 Format: Television Show and Book

 Time of Origin: Originally from the universe prior to this one; the precise dates of its encounters with The Doctor are unknown as they never occurred on a planet inhabited by or in contact with humans.

 Appearances: "The Web Planet" and "Twilight of the Gods"

 Doctors: First Doctor and Second Doctor

 Companions: Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton, Vicki, Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield

 History: Although it appeared in the television series only once, the Animus has gone on to acquire a significant popularity among fans, mainly due to the fact that The Doctor has always faced it aided by aliens, with his only human allies when confronting it being his current companions. The Animus is one of the Great Old Ones, beings from the universe that existed before this one who had escaped the destruction of that universe by temporarily transferring themselves into another universe that ended a few seconds after their one before returning to this universe, subsequently acquiring incredible gravity-manipulating powers due to the new laws of physics in this reality as opposed to the universe that it had lived in before.

 After several centuries of presumably aimless wandering while it waited for worlds to be created that it could use, the Animus eventually settled on the distant planet Vortis - populated by the butterfly-like Menoptera and the ant-like Zarbi -, Vortis having been created as part of a scientific experiment by highly advanced beings (Ironically, these beings were so advanced that Vortis was created only by a couple of students rather than ‘adult’ members of the species in question).

 Having been introduced to the experiment in the form of forbidden organic matter stolen from a teacher by a student who had a long-time rivalry with Vortis’s original ‘creators’, the Animus went on to become a powerful force on Vortis, although it was never clear if even it was aware of the true nature of the world it inhabited. Learning how to absorb and manipulate isocryte - a rare element normally created in conditions of extreme atomic stress such as collapsing stars, capable of generating counter-gravitic waves when artificially stimulated while also granting the Menoptera their ability to fly despite their size after they ingested food that had been exposed to isocryte -, the Animus used isocryte to draw spaceships and other orbital bodies to it as part of its search for organic matter that it could use as a slave labour force, relying on the more primitive Zarbi to keep the Menoptera under control as it was able to control them through contact with gold.

The Animus’s domination over Vortis continued until its use of isocryte drew the TARDIS down to Vortis, resulting in the First Doctor, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton and Vicki becoming involved in Vortis’s affairs ("The Web Planet"). While The Doctor and Ian searched for the source of the distortion that had pulled them to Vortis, Barbara fell under the Animus’s influence due to a gold bracelet she had recently acquired in Rome ("The Romans"), subsequently joining the Zarbi slaves in ‘feeding’ the Animus while the TARDIS was taken to the Animus. Although The Doctor and Ian were able to track down the TARDIS - with Vicki still inside the ship -, The Doctor was captured by the Animus, leaving Ian to escape and rally the Menoptera against the Zarbi and the Animus.

 Realising that the Animus used gold as a focusing agent for its control of others, The Doctor was able to device a means of counteracting this force using his ring, allowing him to take control of one of the Zarbi and escape with Vicki, reuniting with Barbara after she shook off the Animus’s influence. While The Doctor and Vicki confronted the Animus directly, Ian, Barbara and the Menoptera sneaked up on it from outside and underneath, Barbara destroying the Animus in a supreme effort of will despite its mental powers using the Isop-trop device, a weapon devised by the Menoptera over a prolonged period that generated radiation deadly to the core of the Animus. With the Animus gone, The Doctor and his companions departed, confident that peace would now return to Vortis.

 Although the Animus appeared to have been destroyed during this confrontation, a tendril of it was recovered by The Doctor's former friend The Master and the Ninth Doctor's renegade ex-companion Adam Mitchell ("The Long Game"), who used it as part of their plan against The Doctor. With Adam and The Master having created a portal to London in 1868, the surviving tendril was able to establish a 'nest' in the London Underground, subsequently gathering its forces by abducting students of biologist Thomas Huxley just as The Doctor was visiting one of his lectures ("Prisoners of Time"). Although the Animus was able to take control of Barbara and Vicki, along with most of Huxley's students, The Doctor, Ian and Huxley escaped its control, The Doctor distracting the Animus fragment long enough for Ian to find a disused train and ram it into the Animus before sending the Zarbi back to Vortis through the portal (Although the Animus still fulfilled Adam and The Master's intended purpose by allowing them to abduct Ian, Barbara and Vicki while The Doctor was distracted pondering how it had come to Earth in the first place, requiring him to join forces with his future selves to save his friends).

Book - Twilight of the Gods
Twilight of the Gods
(Christopher Bulis)
 The Doctor eventually returned to Vortis in his second incarnation, where he discovered that Vortis had drifted into the Rhumon solar system, becoming a battleground for the current civil war between two Rhumon forces in the form of the Imperial and Republican forces - the Imperials worshiping the god Omnimon and ruled by an emperor and aristocratic society while the Republicans were a communist-based society based on elected leaders -, each side seeking control of the planet for symbolic purposes, only for the ships sent by both sides to crash-land on Vortis, subsequently being plagued by strange occurrences as bodies began to vanish from the battlefields and the ‘ghosts’ of deceased soldiers seemed to appear to both sides. Having arrived on the planet, The Doctor swiftly became outraged at the Rhumons’ use of the Menoptera as slaves, resolving to help them against the invaders while the Menoptera were pleasantly surprised at the return of The Doctor, whose previous aid in the fight against the Animus had now become legend on Vortis.

Although The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria were able to convince the leaders of both sides to recognise the pointlessness of their current struggle - Jamie scored a particular victory when he forced some Rhumon soldiers to try and justify their actions to a group of Menopteran children -, matters became complicated when deceased Rhumon apparently rose from their graves to lead their people to a distant island, the Imperial priest and the Republican Morale and Discipline Officer seeing them as proof of their respective faiths as they forced their people to dig up the isocryte in the soil… only for the island to be revealed as the ‘resting place’ for a new Animus. Prior to its destruction at Barbara’s hands, the original Animus had created a ‘seed’ of itself that retained all of its predecessor’s memories even up to the moment of death, this ‘seed’ remaining dormant for centuries until it was able to use the buried Rhumon bodies - the Menoptera burned their dead - as agents to gather the isocryte it needed. Taking advantage of the priest’s regular prayers in front of a gold statue dedicated to his god, and the Morale Officer’s habit of regularly caressing confiscated gold medals because it gave her pleasure, the Animus was able to take control of them and influence them to provide it with the last of the isocryte to restore itself to full power.

Although The Doctor was able to deduce the Animus’s plan, he wasn’t in time for it to absorb enough isocryte to manifest itself on a large scale once again, although the Menopterans were able to rescue The Doctor and the Rhumon forces before the Animus could absorb them. Taking advantage of the Animus’s use of isocryte, The Doctor was able to take the TARDIS almost directly to its core by disabling the temporal circuits - the isocryte causing a distortion in hyperspace that the TARDIS would be drawn to automatically - accompanied by Jamie, Shallavar - the head of the Imperial faction on Vortis -, Draga - the commander of the Republican forces - and Kristas - a leader among the Menoptera -, with the intention of arming a nuclear warhead and leaving it at the core of the Animus. However, instead of materialising at the core of the Animus the TARDIS was instead drawn to a control chamber at the core of Vortis itself, where The Doctor learned the truth about Vortis, briefly devastating Kristas at the false nature of his gods before he was reassured that the idea of the gods remained even if they weren’t what he had believed they were.

 Although the ‘students’ who created Vortis were unable to defeat the now-divided Animus - their teacher being forced to retreat when it attempted to battle the Animus directly -, with The Doctor’s attempt to use the control chamber to trigger volcanoes simply encouraging the Animus to master flight, he was able to devise a means of destroying the Animus by using the communications unit devised by the students. Since the communicator operated by generating images with tactile force, The Doctor was able to generate giant-sized ‘illusions’ of Jamie, Kristas, Shallvar and Draga, the illusions possessing enough physical force to literally tear the Animus apart, destroying it at last. As the teacher and its students departed, leaving Vortis with enough energy to survive on its own, The Doctor and his companions left as well, confident that Rhumon and Menoptera would continue to grow and learn about themselves and the universe together after collaborating against such a powerful foe.

 It was recently stated that the Animus perished for good in the Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks as its Carsenome Walls fell into dust, but given the Animus’s previously -displayed ability to escape destruction - particularly when assuming that it was able to resurrect itself once again after the events of "Twilight of the Gods" in order for it to die in the Time War in the first place -, it is uncertain whether this means it is dead for good or if the potential still exists for it to return in future.
A Zarbi
A Zarbi
The Doctor Talking to the Animus
The Doctor Talking to the Animus
The Animus
The Animus
A Menoptera
A Menoptera
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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