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Evolution of the Cybermen: Then and Now

Ah, the Cybermen. Those steel silvery soldiers who have combated the Daleks for the title of fan favourite monster since 1966 have now reached their gold anniversary (awkward). How about we take a look at how much the original 1966 design differs from the modern design, and more importantly what stayed the same…?
What did we lose in the past 5 decades? Perhaps most notably, the exterior chest unit now seems to have integrated with the actual body of the suit to become an interior chest unit. Pipes and accordion be gone! The staple handle bars now culminate into a part at the top of the helmet, as opposed to the lamp of their 1966 days and the material of the suit has also changed to be less of a pilot suit, and more of an Iron Man suit. This suit is also more robotic in that it covers more of the body, whereas the original design kept some semblance of humanity – visible eyes, cloth concealing a face, and creepy human hands. “You will become like us” now means an even further departure from our visages.
So what’s on the Nightmare in Silver design that not on its Tenth Planet counterpart? The iconic Cybermen teardrops are present here, and they originated from 1968’s Wheel in Space. Unique to the 21st Century incarnations of the Cybermen is the evolution of holding guns to in-built arm-mounted guns, with the 2013 design having a much more prominent gun than the Cybus Industries version.
Furthermore, new abilities have been added then seemingly ditched. That one Cyberman’s super speed in Nightmare in Silver added to the story’s portrayal of the race as invincible, but when the hordes approached Natty Longshoe’s Comical Castle, they didn’t seem in any sort of rush. Then in Death in Heaven, allusions to Iron Man were more prominent as they suddenly took to the skies, something which Nightmare in Silver categorically said they couldn’t do.
The next important question is, what stayed the same? And the answer is just enough that when you put those two pictures, set 50 years apart, side-by-side, you can still tell they’re supposed to be the same thing. The handle bars, the prominent eyes with the cold undead stare, the stomping boots: these few bits and pieces makes the overall design the same, even after major remodelling.
Which version of the Cybermen is your favourite, the 1966 or the 2013? Or is your heart set on another form? The Moonbase maybe? Silver Nemesis? Perhaps you’re still fawning over that one picture of the ill-fated Dark Dimension incarnation? Let us know!

David Power

Evolution of the Cybermen: Then and Now

by David Power time to read: 2 min
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