Doctor Who’S Rogue Explained: Everything We Know About Jonathan Groff’S Character


Jonathan Groff’s long-awaited appearance on Doctor Who introduced a new, mysterious character who could appear on a recurring basis. Every actor who has played the Doctor has met some people who would make good companions if the timing were different but who are unable to join the Doctor in their adventures for one reason or another. Rogue was one such character, as he spent most of the episode interacting with the Doctor one-on-one.

Groff’s character had been rumored to be a replacement for Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). Jack Harkness was a popular character who was omnisexual and often flirted with the Doctor when they met. After reports alleging improper behavior by Barrowman on the set, it was unlikely he would be invited to return as a Doctor Who companion. Some similarities suggest Rogue might be intended to be a stand-in for Jack. However, Doctor Who set up Rogue as a dynamic character who may recur throughout Ncuti Gatwa’s run.

Rogue Is A Bounty Hunter In Doctor Who

He Came to London In 1813 In Search of Shapeshifting Aliens

When the Doctor first met Rogue, Rogue was surveying the ball from a balcony, looking for signs of unusual activity. Rogue soon revealed himself as a bounty hunter; he didn’t explain who he was working for, but he did tell the Doctor that he would be paid handsomely for catching and killing the Chuldur, the shape-shifting alien species that had infiltrated the ball. This posed a problem for the Doctor, as Rogue initially believed the Doctor was the shapeshifter he was hunting and prepared to transport him to an incinerator to get rid of him.

As a bounty hunter in time and space, Rogue has similar abilities to time travel as the Doctor; neither one of them was from 1813. It is unclear how old Rogue is or whether he is human or a human-like species. However, he likely comes from a technologically advanced society, as he had a ship that he used a cloaking device to hide and the ability to scan the Doctor for evidence that he was a shapeshifter, as well as a device that could trap the object of his search and transport them to an area of his choosing.

Why Jonathan Groff’s Character Is Called “Rogue”

His Name Is A Reference To Dungeons And Dragons

While trapped in Rogue’s ship, The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to explore his surroundings and learns that Rogue enjoys Dungeons and Dragons after seeing dice associated with the game in Rogue’s console. Dungeons and Dragons is a roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of elves, goblins, and other fantastical creatures. Rogue’s name is likely a tribute to the game he enjoys; in Dungeons and Dragons, a Rogue is a class of fantastical characters that rely on stealth, skill, and their ability to exploit their enemies’ weaknesses to gain the upper hand over them.

These qualities describe who Rogue is as a bounty hunter, as he has to blend in with his surroundings and use his intelligence, technological skills, and ability to think strategically to outmaneuver his prey. He also must exploit weaknesses — for example, he exploits the Doctor’s obvious attraction to him to lure him outside toward the housekeeper’s body so that he can capture him. However, the fact that he has chosen his name from a roleplaying game is ironic, considering that the Chuldur were killing people in order to cosplay as them at the ball.

Doctor Who Implies Rogue’s Tragic Backstory Mirrors The Doctor’s Own Past

Rogue Admitted He Had Lost Someone Important To Him Too

While talking to Rogue in the TARDIS, the Doctor mentions he’s aware that Rogue lost someone important to him. Rogue eventually admitted this was the case, though he didn’t elaborate beyond stating that he had been traveling with someone who had died. The 2005 reboot established that the Doctor lost his entire people during the Time War, and he has also lost many companions over the years, so this shared sense of grief was part of what made it possible for Doctor Who’s Rogue to be a romantic partner for the Doctor.

Rogue’s backstory also sets up a new mystery. He didn’t explain precisely who he lost or what the circumstances were. Thus, if the Doctor encounters Rogue again, it may be in the context of a story involving that loss. Additionally, it’s possible that Rogue’s backstory will play into the mystery of who Ruby Sunday’s birth parents are, as the Doctor met Rogue while visiting 1813 with Ruby. Ruby seems drawn to places where there are abandoned people in need of love.

Rogue Appears To Belong To The Same Doctor Who Organization As The Meep

His Future Appearances Could Tie In With “Star Beast” As Well As With Ruby’s Origin Story

While scanning the Doctor as part of his attempt to capture him and get his reward, Rogue remarked offhandedly that there has been a lot of paperwork since getting “the new boss.” This could have been a throwaway line or an attempt to sound like Captain Jack, who also spoke like that. However, the line was likely teasing that Doctor Who’s Rogue is connected to the Meep. If so, this could be a major hint as to the reveals planned for the end of season 14.