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The second most recurring alien race in Doctor Who (after the Daleks), the Cybermen are a "race" of formally organic beings that began replacing their organs with mechanical constructs to the point that they're more machine than man. The process drives the organic insane resulting in them cutting out their emotions and causing them to view this as an "upgrade" that it is their duty to bestow on other beings.

The Cybermen are an example of parallel evolution[1] having many origin stories across the franchise's history. As the Twelfth Doctor says, they emerge wherever there's people and technology.

Their most famous origin is coming from, Mondas, the tenth planet of the Earth's solar system ("Earth's long-lost twin planet"). [2] Fittingly, they first appeared in "The Tenth Planet" in 1966.

In General

You belong to us. You shall be like us.

  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: They spoke like this in their first appearance, giving their voices a rather unSETTling sINg-song quality.
  • Adaptive Ability: "Upgrade in progress."
  • Arch Enemy: They were the most recurring enemy of the Second Doctor's era.
  • Assimilation Plot
  • Body Horror: Part and parcel of who they are. Played up by the original design, which had medical cloth surrounding their heads and ordinary human hands.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: They never honour any agreement they make and backstab their partners at the earliest possible moment.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Justified. A single Cyberman can use all the processing power of the Cyberiad making them much smarter and more powerful. When more Cybermen pop up, the processing power is spread thinner and thinner making them little more than foot soldiers.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Twelfth Doctor calls the Cybermen the ultimate form of "parallel evolution" (wherein similar evolutionary traits pop up in unrelated environments) appearing whenever the inhabitants are desperate to survive their harsh environment. Despite this, all the many sub-species and factions have the same designs before being assimilated into the larger whole.
  • Creepy Monotone / Machine Monotone: All Cybermen talk in a mechanical, computer-like voice, though they shift in and out of this in their Earthshock appearance.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul
  • Determinator: When the universe is in its death throes, they'll be one of three races still around. The other two are humans and Time Lords. Not even the Daleks lasted as long as the Cybermen did.
  • Depending on the Writer: "The Doctor Falls" justifies this by explaining the Cybermen as parallel evolution. Not every group is identical to the other in operations.
    • The Cybermen from Mondas were more the Well-Intentioned Extremist type and retained their individuality.
    • In the era of the Second Doctor, they're more Killer Robots.
    • In the coloured era of the Classic Series, they act like rather generic '80s villains, almost like Space Pirates.
  • The Dreaded: Following the Cyber-Wars, human law states that if you find a Cyberman that you can't instantly destroy, you destroy the planet you're standing on. The Time Lords are also dedicated to making sure the Cybermen never master time travel because then they'd become too powerful to fight. And keep in mind that Dalek time travel technology is roughly on par with that of the Time Lords.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Excepting the Daleks, the Cybermen are this. Not even the Master, Rassilon and the Borg can compete with them.
  • Flanderization: Their gold weakness became much more prominent as the classic series went on. Come "Silver Nemesis" and a gold coin could kill them.
  • From a Single Cell: The Twelfth Doctor says that any one particle of one Cyberman has the blueprints to make more Cybermen meaning only one piece of their technology has to survive and the race can rebuild.
  • Great Offscreen War: How they seem to pass the time between appearances.
  • Hero-Killer: They've twice caused the Doctor to regenerate.
  • Joker Immunity: Too iconic to ever kill off. Given some justification by the parallel evolution. One faction dies and another will pop up.
  • Large Ham: 1980s Cybermen, particularly their Cyber-Leaders. "EXCELLLEEENT!!!"
  • Machine Worship: How the Mondas Cybermen got started, before deciding that everyone else should be like them too.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Their logo design in the 60s and more recently in Blood Of The Cybermen.
  • Near Villain Victory: In Supremacy of the Cybermen, they nearly rewrote all of reality.
  • No Sell: Owing to their metallic armor, they're immune to Borg assimilation.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Space Commies in many regards.
  • Straw Vulcan: Depending on the Writer the emotionless qualities of the Cybermen would be dropped if convenient.
  • Took a Level In Badass: After the Cyber-Wars, the Cybermen gained the ability to upgrade non-humans meaning if you're organic, you're on their menu. In an aborted timeline when they teamed up with Rassilon, they grew powerful enough to assimilate the Daleks, Sontarans, Silurians, Humans and Time Lords. It got to the point that the War Doctor was considering destroying the whole galaxy if it meant that they would be stopped.
  • Uncanny Valley: The original design of the Cybermen seriously invoked this.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: In at least a couple episodes, forced conversion to Cybermen was announced as the fate for those captives who were "worthy" of the "honor"; particularly the Doctor. Most notably in The Tomb of the Cybermen, where this fate was intended for all of the expedition team, as a "reward" for having re-awakened them.
  • Vestigial Empire: By the time of Series 12.
  • Villain Team-Up:
  • Was Once a Man
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • Gold. Until a software patch was made.
    • Regeneration energy.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The original purpose of the Mondasian Cybermen was to survive at the cost of their humanity, which they genuinely believe to be the right thing. The Twelfth Doctor even says that he's not opposed to the idea of the Cybermen in general (using cybernetic implants to make oneself stronger) but it's the whole "assimilate all life in the universe" thing that he can't look past.
    • Word of God is that if Cybermen could experience surprise, then they would do so at the prospect of people who do not want to become Cybermen.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: Coupled with the Unwilling Roboticisation trope.

 Cybus Cybermen

 YOU WILL BE DEL-E-TED

 Voiced by: Nicholas Briggs (2006-08), Tracy-Ann Oberman (2006)

The New Series's Parallel Earth Cybermen (or Cybus Cybermen or Cybusmen, after the evil corporation that created them). These Cybermen come from a parallel universe. Have been around for a while, first appearing in "Rise of the Cybermen" in 2006. Get sent into the Void between dimension, from where they neatly spill over into the regular timeline.

Individual Cybermen

Cyber-Leader

Cyber-Controller

Cyber-Planner

Mr. Clever

A Cyber-Planner formed out of the Eleventh Doctor's personality.

Played by: Matt Smith (2013)

The Lone Cybermen

Once a humanoid named Ashad, the Lone Cyberman now seeks to rebuild the Cyber-Empire, coming into conflict with the Thirteenth Doctor.

Played by: Patrick O'Kane (2020)

  • Ambiguous Situation: It's not clear if his emotions are the result of his only being partially cyber-converted or simple battle damage.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Gets the Cyberium and heads back to the future to rebuild his race.
  • Jerkass: Well and truly one of the vilest individuals that the Doctor has ever come across.
  • Last of His Kind: Well it's right there in the name isn't?
  • Offing the Offspring: After being upgraded, he killed his children.

Allies

Tobias Vaughun

The Logicians

John Lumic

  • Expy: Essentially a Cyberman version of Davros.

Notes

  1. Similar traits popping up in separate environments.
  2. Both the airdate, and the year the story was set in, was before IAU redefinition of what a planet is, so Pluto was still a planet then.
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