Dalek Caan was one of four Daleks in the Cult of Skaro. Like the other members of the Cult, he was tasked to think creatively, like the Daleks' enemies, to find new ways of defeating them. (TV: Doomsday)
After two defeats by the Tenth Doctor, Caan was thought to be the only Dalek remaining in existence. To create a new Dalek empire, he accomplished what was thought to be impossible: he breached the time-locked situation of the Last Great Time War and extracted Davros, the creator of the Daleks. This action cost Caan his mind but allowed him to see into the future and manipulate timelines. (TV: The Stolen Earth, Journey's End) Caan was presumably killed, along with virtually the entire New Dalek Empire which he founded, when he betrayed his own kind. (TV: Journey's End)
Dalek Caan was a bronze Dalek and the Attack Squad Leader of the Thirteenth Assault Group and was chosen to be part of the Cult of Skaro. The Cult was a secret order established by the Dalek Emperor prior to the Last Great Time War. (PROSE: Birth of a Legend) Its four members "dared to have names." According to the Tenth Doctor, who initially believed them to be a legend, "Their job was to imagine, think as the enemy thinks... all to find new ways of killing," none of which was denied by the Cult. (TV: Doomsday)
Last Great Time War
During the Time War, the Cult, including Caan, avoided the front lines of battle and instead stole the Genesis Ark, a prison ship similar to a TARDIS that was constructed by the Time Lords to imprison millions of Daleks. The Cult took the Genesis Ark and fled the war by escaping into the Void by using a unique and extremely advanced Void Ship. Their plan was to free their imprisoned brethren from the Ark and re-establish the Dalek Empire on Earth. (TV: Doomsday)
Battle of Canary Wharf
Dalek Caan and the other three Cult members emerged from the Void with the Genesis Ark in London in 2007. There, they sought to find a time traveller whom they could trick or force to open the Genesis Ark for them.
The Daleks scanned Dr Singh's brain and learned another species, the Cybermen, had invaded Earth. The Cyber-Leader declared war while the Cult declared "pest control". Dalek Caan took part in the Battle of Canary Wharf, in which the Genesis Ark released a very large number of Daleks onto Earth. Because they had been through the void, they were covered in void stuff. The Tenth Doctor opened the rift the Cybermen had come through and reversed it, sucking in all beings covered in "Void stuff". As all the newly freed Daleks were sucked into the Void, Dalek Caan and the three other Cult members activated an emergency temporal shift and escaped. (TV: Army of Ghosts/Doomsday)
The Final Experiment
The Cult ended up in New York City in 1930. They recruited Mr Diagoras, the head of construction for the Empire State Building. He kidnapped people for their research and for the "Final Experiment". Dalek Caan served as the Cult's liaison with Diagoras. Caan took him to their leader, Dalek Sec, who assimilated Diagoras in his casing to become the first Dalek-human hybrid. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan)
After Dalek Sec became a Dalek-human, he decided that their creator, Davros, was wrong about removing emotions. He even came to understand that the recent killings of humans at Hooverville were wrong. However, Dalek Caan and the other members decided the plan Sec had for the new Daleks was unacceptable; it would change everything that made a Dalek a Dalek and they would no longer be supreme. Daleks Caan, Jast and Thay mutinied, imprisoned Sec, and poured a different gene solution into the Dalek-humans to the one Sec had wanted. The resulting force of hybrid "Dalek-humans" would have turned out exactly like Daleks, against Dalek Sec's plans, had the Doctor not intervened.
Dalek Caan made himself Dalek Controller and connected with the Dalek-human army. When Dalek Thay and Dalek Jast ordered the new Daleks to destroy the Doctor, the hybrids questioned orders. The Doctor explained that he got in the way of the gamma strike which had brought them to life. His DNA had become mixed with theirs, giving them a dose of Time Lord freedom. A battle broke out between two Cult members and the Dalek-humans. Jast and Thay were destroyed. Only Caan remained; realising that the hybrids had been tampered with, he exterminated the entire race of "Dalek-humans".
Caan was the last member of the Cult and – according to the Doctor — the last of the entire Dalek species. The Doctor confronted him and offered Caan help and compassion because he didn't want genocide. Unwilling to accept the help of the Doctor, Caan activated an emergency temporal shift and escaped. (TV: Evolution of the Daleks)
Into, and out of, the Time War
The emergency temporal shift took Dalek Caan to the first year of the Time War, making him the first being to have breached the time lock. He saved Davros from death in the jaws of the Nightmare Child, but at a great cost: Dalek Caan saw the whole of time and space, gaining the ability to see both the past, present and future with great clarity. He and Davros then created the New Dalek Empire using cells from Davros' own body. (TV: The Stolen Earth) Witnessing the whole of time and space drove Caan mad and he realised just how destructive his race was. He secretly began to plan for the Daleks to meet their end at the hands of the Doctor. He told no one about his secret plan to undermine the new empire he helped create by assisting the Doctor. (TV: Journey's End) In the presence of Davros and the new Daleks, he almost constantly chuckled from inside his wrecked battle armour and presented precognitive riddles in an almost sing-song voice. (TV: The Stolen Earth) Meanwhile, the New Dalek Empire forged forward with a plot to steal planets, align them inside the Medusa Cascade, and use them to power a reality bomb in conjunction with the Crucible energy core. (TV: Journey's End)
The Supreme Dalek of the New Empire regarded Dalek Caan as an insane "abomination", but Davros defended him and demanded respect for Caan. Neither knew that Caan was working against them all. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
Following the movement of Earth to the Medusa Cascade, Caan prophesied of the coming of a "three-fold man", of "the Doctor's soul" being revealed, that the "Children of Time would gather" and "one would die". The "three-fold man" referred to the Doctor, the "Meta-Crisis Doctor", and the "Doctor-Donna". The last two were created when Donna Noble touched the Doctor's spare hand, which had been used as a repository for the Doctor's regeneration energy. This created the Meta-Crisis Doctor. Donna subsequently received the mind of a Time Lord. The "Children of Time" were Rose Tyler, Jackie Tyler, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Captain Jack Harkness and Martha Jones, who had each travelled with the Doctor. The Doctor's soul was revealed as a man who refused to use weapons but moulded his companions into them; Jack, Sarah Jane, Mickey, Jackie and Martha each threatened destruction to stop the Daleks. Their threats were all foiled when the Supreme Dalek had them teleported to the Vault. The Meta-Crisis Doctor and Donna arrived to try and stop Davros, who incapacitated them both. However, Donna's Time Lord mind, having lain dormant, was "jump-started" by Davros' attack. Using her human ingenuity coupled with her Time Lord knowledge, she: deactivated the reality bomb by closing all of the Z-Neutrino energy relay loops by using an internalised synchronous back-feed reversal loop; disabled Davros with a bio-electric dampening field with a retrogressive arc inversion and his Daleks with a trip stitch circuit-breaker in the psycho-kinetic threshold manipulator; and locked the Daleks' weaponry in a self-replicating energy blindfold matrix through macrotransmission of a K-filter wavelength.
Davros demanded to know why Dalek Caan had not foreseen their defeat. Caan replied with mad giggling. The Doctor realised that Caan had foreseen these events, and had even manipulated the timelines, binding Donna and the Doctor together to bring events to this conclusion. Caan said he "only helped". When Davros accused Caan of betraying the Daleks, Caan replied that rather, he had witnessed the evil of his kind throughout all of time and space, and how many innocent lives were massacred by his race. Even as Davros rebuilt the Daleks, Caan privately had decreed "no more".
Dalek Caan pressured the Meta-Crisis Doctor to destroy the Daleks, which he did by blasting back the Dalekanium power feeds. Caan, being unable to move, remained aboard the exploding Crucible with Davros, reminding the Doctor before he left that "one will still die."
Apparently, the companion who "died" was DoctorDonna, whose memories of her travels with the Doctor had to be erased to save her from burning out from the Time Lord knowledge that she carried. Should Donna ever remember her travels, the knowledge would destroy her. The Doctor told her family that the Donna she had become was dead. (TV: Journey's End)
Dalek Caan had a mind of his own and thought for himself. That was part of the Cult of Skaro mandate: to imagine and think as their enemies thought. Unlike most Daleks, who always obeyed their superiors, Caan was independent and made his own decisions and disobeyed higher-ranking Daleks. However, Caan still believed in the notion of Dalek purity and supremacy, perhaps more than the other members of the Cult of Skaro, which may have influenced his betrayal of his superior, who had both disagreed with the idea and forsook his own purity. He was the first to question the Dalek Sec-hybrid and convinced Dalek Jast and Dalek Thay to overthrow him. (TV: Evolution of the Daleks)
After flying into the Time War, Dalek Caan lost his sanity and giggled madly. He foresaw the future with perfect accuracy because he had seen the whole of time and space. Davros noted that even the Supreme Dalek didn't dare to contradict Caan's prophecies. (TV: The Stolen Earth) Though Caan had never lied about the future he did not always reveal the whole truth. Though he had foreseen that the Doctor and his companions would defeat the Daleks, he made no effort to stop them. Caan made prophecies in an almost sing-song voice. Caan revealed that not only did he foresee certain things, but he manipulated the timelines to help bring them to pass by bringing the Doctor and Donna Noble together. He also pushed the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor to destroy the Daleks and thus fulfil his prophecy of their destruction.
Despite his madness, Dalek Caan was cunning enough to fool Davros throughout the War in the Medusa Cascade and betray him. In helping the Doctor defeat the Daleks, he truly thought as his enemy did: thinking like the Doctor on how to defeat the Daleks and even how to help the Doctor do it. Caan was also somewhat manipulative and the Doctor noted that he had been manipulating the timelines ever since he had rescued Davros from the Time War. However, Caan was also quite humble, at least after his change of heart, telling the Doctor that the defeat of the Daleks was inevitable and that he had only helped rather than been directly responsible for it. (TV: Journey's End)
Despite, or perhaps, from a Dalek's point of view, because of his insanity, Dalek Caan felt regret for everything the Daleks had done and decided to help the Doctor defeat them. Most Daleks were only capable of feeling hatred or fear, but Caan was an exception and felt remorse for the slaughter the Daleks had committed throughout time and space. After he returned to the Time War, Caan realised that the Daleks and their creator were evil monsters. Disgusted with them and himself for being one of them, Caan chose to put an end to the Daleks and made no effort to save himself when the Crucible exploded. Instead, he warned the Doctor one of his companions would die. (TV: Journey's End)
Caan's voice was originally the deepest of the Cult of Skaro. However, after the Cult revolted against Dalek Sec, Caan's voice changed to the same pitch as Sec's. Caan took over as leader of the cult following this. (TV:Evolution of the Daleks)
Given the Doctor and Caan's comments, like Eve and her son Adam, Caan gained the ability to manipulate timelines as well as precognition from breaking through the time lock. While he admitted to using this to bring Donna Noble and the Tenth Doctor together, he said he only helped, that the events would've happened even without him. (TV: Journey's End)
Behind the scenes
- Dalek Caan holds the record for most appearances by an individual Dalek with six episodes.
- Dalek Caan was believed by the Tenth Doctor to be the only Dalek in existence, following the events of TV: Evolution of the Daleks. At that point, the Doctor still erroneously considered the Dalek Asylum to be merely a legend. The Eleventh Doctor would learn that this "dumping ground" did exist, containing some Daleks old enough to have encountered the First Doctor.
- Dalek Caan is the first Dalek to realise the evil of his kind and turn on them completely by his own free will and without help from genetic manipulation.
- In Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks, Caan's recognition code changes between Thay's and Jast's. This is a production error. All three Daleks share the same outward appearance, minus the recognition code sections on their casings, which are relatively small and easy to overlook. It is likely that the production crews confused the Dalek builds during filming and did not catch their mistakes.
- The explanation behind Dalek Caan's change in voice is revealed in David Tennant's corresponding video diary for Evolution of the Daleks. It features a conversation with the voice of the Daleks, Nicholas Briggs, who explains he initially chose a gruff portrayal for Caan because Caan only had one line in his debut. It was hard on his voice to continue the gruff portrayal when Caan had a larger role in the series, and so he worked out a solution with executive producer Russell T Davies to have Dalek Caan's voice go up to a much higher register when he usurped Dalek Sec as the commander of the Cult of Skaro, as his personality changed with the new rank.