To anyone who has played the Mass Effect games, the alien that appears about 25 seconds into the new Doctor Who trailer will look very familiar. It looks surprisingly similar to Garrus Vakarian, a Mass Effect character from the Turian race.
Screenshot via BBC/YouTube
Screenshot via Mass Effect Wiki
As you can see, the two characters bear more than a slight resemblance to each other, a fact that has already been picked up on by several fans. Details like the shape of the head, the mandible-like jawline and the glowing, sunken eyes are particularly noticeable, even at a glance.
— Michael Loffet (@michael_loffet) July 13, 2014
— Az’ (@roseverafter) July 13, 2014
Now, there are a few explanations for this. A case of actual plagiarism seems pretty unlikely, although it’s possible that whoever designed the new Doctor Who alien was casually aware of Mass Effect, and no one higher up the food chain was familiar enough with the game to catch the mistake.
Pure coincidence is another possibility. Also, it may be the case that this two-second clip isn’t enough to tell us what the character really looks like. From another angle it might look completely different, or the “head” might actually be a helmet. We also have no idea what its body looks like, so perhaps only the alien’s head looks like Garrus.
But all that aside, it’s still very difficult to look at that trailer and not see the resemblance.