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Characters / Doctor Who Sontarans

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Sontarans (Third, Fourth, Sixth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors)
Played by: Kevin Lindsay (1973–75), Stuart Fell and Derek Deadman (1978), Tim Raynham and Clinton Greyn (1985), Christopher Ryan (2008, 2010),note  Dan Starkey (2008, 2010–2014)note 

"Sontar HA! Sontar HA! Sontar HA!"

A race of the ultimate soldiers, the Sontarans are a clone race that live for war. Humanoid in appearance, the Sontarans are short, stocky, and insanely strong. They also look somewhat like potatoes, for some reason. If they show up, the plot is usually somehow tied to their never ending war against the Rutans (a race of... intergalactic jellyfish).

  • Affably Evil/Faux Affably Evil: For all their violent, militaristic ways, they are unfailingly well-mannered among themselves and to anyone they aren't currently engaged in killing.
    • General Staal compliments a UNIT Red Shirt's deductive skills, notes that he's pretty smart for a human, and apologizes for disabling his legs... since killing him honorably would be preferable, of course.
    • Strax from "A Good Man Goes to War" is much more affable than most of his species, partly because of his time spent as a medic having made him less single minded and Axe-Crazy than the others.
      • Before Strax, IDW Comics had the Sontaran diplomat Stomm, who is one of the Doctor's allies during the story and is trying to attend peace talks (although it is pointed out the Sontarans want the Galaxy more peaceful so they can concentrate against the Rutans).
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    • The Big Finish audio adventure "Heroes of Sontar" pushes them into Affably Evil territory. Yes, they fight wars, but they're of the opinion that the ends justify the means, and if one part of the world has to die in order for them to overcome another, it's just a sacrifice, it's not For the Evulz.
  • Alien Blood: They have green blood.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Those in power? They fought their way up there.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The "probic vent" on the back of a Sontaran's neck is their only weakness. The Sontarans, characteristically, don't consider it a weakness since it forces them to always face their enemies.
  • Author Appeal: Their entire creation was to appeal to author Robert Holmes and his distaste of militarism and colonialism. Also a bit of a Take That! against America at times, according to some people.
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  • Badass Boast: They tend to do this.
  • Bald of Awesome/Bald of Evil: In equal amounts.
  • Blood Knight: Unlike the Daleks, who want to destroy everything out of a sense of racial supremacy, the Sontarans just love to fight and need no particular motivation beyond that. They actually wanted to fight in the Time War but were forbidden to do so.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Their values system resembles that of Ancient Sparta. To wit: "I hope someday to meet you in the glory of battle, where I shall crush the life from your worthless human form" is apparently a high compliment.
  • Child Soldiers: Twelve is considered a ripe old age for Sontarans.
  • Clone Army: The existence of different "batches" is used to explain why they're not 100% identical.
  • Combat Medic: Considered a Fate Worse than Death by them for obvious reasons. (That's not to say they can't be good at it, though.)
  • Defeat Means Respect: Part of their Asskicking Equals Authority mindset: the Daleks or the Cybermen hate and fear the Doctor for repeatedly foiling their plans. The Sontarans (such as in ["The Sontaran Stratagem") have actually come to respect him as one of the most brilliant military strategists in the universe — he doesn't even need to lead his own armies, he just stumbles into situations and comes up on-the-fly with brilliant plans to defeat them. Verges on Your Approval Fills Me with Shame, as the Doctor doesn't like to think of himself as a military leader.
  • Ditto Aliens: They are clones, after all.
    Rattigan: How do you tell each other apart?
    Stahl: We say the same of humans.
  • Forever War: Their never ending war with the Rutans. Last time we heard, it wasn't going in the Sontarans' favour.
  • Genius Bruiser: They don't posses the raw intelligence or knowledge of the Daleks or Cybermen, but underestimate their cunning at your own peril — they're quite subtle and farsighted if need be.
  • Heavy Worlder: Mentioned in "The Time Warrior" as an explanation for their strength.
  • Honour Before Reason:
    • As they don't see death on the battlefield as a particularly bad outcome, they aren't opposed to giving their enemies a sporting chance... usually.
    • They admire this trait in humans, going by Commander Skorr's final word ("Wonderful..."), after Colonel Mace challenges him in the corridor ("You will face me, sir!"), before shooting him.
  • Large Ham: They are well known for their bombastic speeches and "come at me, bro" attitude, which accounts for much of their popularity.
  • Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid: Played utterly straight in that if you challenge a Sontaran to a contest... any contest... they have to take that challenge. This weakness has actually made them a favourite of many authors.
    • Subverted in "The Two Doctors", when a Sontaran tells the Doctor that he doesn't need to accept his challenge to an honourable duel because the Doctor isn't a Sontaran, and is thus below him.
  • Literal-Minded: Sontarans don't have the best grip on human colloquialisms. Staal was confused by Luke Rattigan saying something was cool, and Strax didn't understand the difference between bringing the morning newspaper up to Clara and throwing it at her head.
  • The Magnificent: High-ranking Sontarans tend to carry such epithets, e.g. General Staal the Undefeated, Commander Skorr the Bloodbringer, etc.
  • Martyrdom Culture: When a Sontaran is killed in battle, they're pretty happy. Commander Skorr's last word, upon being fatally shot in the front by Colonel Mace, is "Wonderful..."
  • One-Gender Race:
    • To the point that the first Sontaran we meet mistakes Sarah Jane for a member of a different species to male humans. They are a clone race with their progenitor being a very militaristic general with a huge ego.
    • Becomes something of a running gag with Strax, who similarly has trouble with the concept of two genders and refers to most women as "Boy", even after being repeatedly told otherwise.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Sontarans are tiny guys, barely poking fast 5 feet on average. But being clones bred for combat, they pack a wallop in a small package.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Their entire society is apparently focused on and drive by war. A declaration by a Sontaran that he will "crush the life from your worthless (human) form for the glory of the Sontaran Empire" is a compliment because is means the recipient is designated a Worthy Opponent.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: They live for war. They die for war. God help you if you get in their way or fight back.
    • Subverted in "A Good Man Goes to War" by Strax the Combat Medic — the "sociopath" side of this trope is apparently not a fixed racial trait, but something resulting from a lack of perspective. Even so, Strax frequently wishes his patients a speedy recovery and expresses the desire to one day kill them for the glory of the Sontaran Empire.
      Strax: [cheerfully] I hope someday to meet you in glory of battle, where I will crush the life from your worthless human form. Try and get some rest.
    • Stomm (see above) says farewell to the Doctor in a similar manner.
  • Spheroid Dropship: Almost all their ships are plain spheres.
  • Staff of Authority: The Sontaran baton is a device carried by certain high ranking officers of the Sontaran Empire, symbolizing rank as well as being a functional weapon.
  • Super Soldier: Their entire shtick. Bred for combat and war, and pretty good at it.
  • Violent Glaswegian: In "The Name of the Doctor", it is revealed that Strax, having discovered the concept of the "weekend off", has taken to traveling up to Glasgow on vacation, in order to get into bar fights with the only people in the universe able to equal the Sontarans for sheer bloody-minded aggression.
  • Younger Than They Look: We eventually learn, 38 years after their initial appearance, that due to being war-happy clones, they consider 12 years to be a pretty good.


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