The Toclafane of the Doctor Who Universe are the last descendants of humanity, living around the year 100 trillion and wandering across space just as the ‘heat death’ of the Universe began. They are notable for their last-ditch effort at survival: the invasion of Earth, circa 21st century.
In the year 100 trillion, the last remnants of Humanity were living in the planet Malcassairo. It is notable that they have reverted to their 21st century form. There they lived in large underground colonies, similar to ant colonies. Due to the “death of all the stars”, Malcassairo was in eternal night, with the colonies being the only refuge from both the cold and the Futurekind, a vicious, carnivorous race roaming the Malcassairo plains for human prey, yet is itself implied to be another human descendant.
In one level of the colony, humans placed their hopes Professor Yana, an old scientist, to find a way to leave this last refuge and go to the mythical place of Utopia, a planet known to have been safe from the impending doom. His efforts has led to the creation of a large spacecraft, resembling a giant rocket. Due to the arrival and help of the Doctor, the rocket was made active.
It turned out that Yana was in fact The Master, a renegade Time Lord who had fled to the end of the universe from the Last Great Time War. He escaped on the Doctor's TARDIS, leaving him and his companions as the Futurekind attacked the base on Malcassairo.
The humans eventually arrived the alleged location of 'Utopia', which turned out to be nothing more then another cold, dead planet. In desperation, they cannibalised themselves into floating metal spheres in their desire to outlive the universe. The Master traveled back to the end of the universe, and promised to return them to Earth in exchange for an alliance. He named them the Toclafane, after a Time Lord fairy tale monster; the Gallifreyan equivalent to humanity's boogeyman.
The Master cannibalised the TARDIS to create a Paradox Machine, which enabled the Toclafane in 21st-century Earth to murder their ancestors without affecting their own existence. They decimated and subdued the population, forcing them to build a fleet of rockets to take the Toclafane to the stars, waging war with the rest of the universe and establishing a new Time Lord empire.
However, the Doctor and his companions defeated the Master and destroyed the Paradox Machine, trapping the Toclafane at the end of the Universe and negating the damage they had inflicted.
For all intents and purposes, the Toclafane are cyborgs. From outside, they assume the appearance of a segmented, stainless steel ball with the ability to extend weaponry: from sharp spinning blades to the more modern laser.
Inside, however, is the “real” creature: a wrinkled, hairless human head, perhaps indicative of the stresses of time and space travel or perhaps simple aging. The creature is completely assimilated with the machine, and is thus completely dependent on it for communication, mobility, and nutrition. The shell also enables the creatures to breathe and travel in outer space, presumably protecting it against radiation, projectiles, and the vacuum. It is shown that they have advanced navigational and flying capabilities.
Apart from the blades, they can also have robotic arms, which can easily carry the weight of a person (they intimidate the local population by carrying them by the collar.)
There is little evidence that they could use their traditional senses, as their cyborg body includes a camera and a speaker which they use to communicate with Earth humans and each other.
While their biological “body” was quite vulnerable, the metallic shell protecting it was very tough. So tough, in fact, that only an electrical surge of 58.5 kiloamperes, transferred charge 510 megajoules precisely can bring one down. Conventional human weaponry such as bullets and rockets were ineffective against inflicting damage on the shell. During their one-year occupation of Earth, one was brought down by a lightning strike in South Africa. Martha Jones and surviving members of the Earth resistance successfully duplicated the effects, allowing them to capture the Toclafane for interrogation.
Toclafane psychology is a topic by itself. While technologically, they are superior to their 21st Century ancestors, they possess the emotional maturity of children. They are also quite cruel, using their lasers and blades quite liberally during their occupation of Earth and enjoying the sensation of killing their ancestors with a high-pitch, childlike laugh. Their limited emotional development has limited their speech into simple sentences.
- The design of the Toclafane — a head encased in a spacefaring shell used to invade other planets — is very similar to Cooler and the Big Gete Star.
Doctor Who (Episodes: Utopia (pt. 1), The Sound of Drums (pt. 2), The Last of the Time Lords (pt. 3)). By Russell T. Davies. Dir. Colin Teague. Perf. Doctor Who. BBC. 2007.
TARDIS Index File. Toclafane. 2010. 5 October 2011 <http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Toclafane>.
Toclafane. 6 October 2011 <http://doctorwho.neoseeker.com/wiki/Toclafane>.
Doctor Who for Newbies. The Toclafane. 2011. 6 October 2011 <http://dw4n.com/Enemies/Toclafane.php>.