In its beginnings, TARVIS began as a puppet, relying on puppeteers for movement and voice actors for speech. TARVIS, especially the first one, wasn't particularly bright. It would frequently get caught on sets and crewmembers, prompting The Inspector to create the now famous command of "Follow, Tarvis." Soon thereafter, the production team added a response for the robot: "Tarvis, following." It began to repeat any command with its own name first, followed by the command. This anthropomorphication of its character, prompted writers to write its name as a person ("Tarvis") instead of a robot ("TARVIS"). In some tongue-in-cheek moments, even Associates would mock Tarvis, to indicate their feelings of being patronized by The Inspector. When Associates are separated from The Inspector, they are frequently told that they only need to "follow Tarvis" back to The Inspector. Tarvis has no gender, and especially with fans, is just as easily one gender as opposed to the other, though not commonly considered an "it."
Had Tarvis been considered a "true" Associate, it would have been the Associate to work with the most Inspectors. As of the early Eleventh Inspector's era, there have been seven known incarnations of TARVIS. Tarvis naming conventions end in a manner of royalty. Tarvis "bodies" can be clearly differentiated by their color patterns in pictures, or else their voices and attitudes within episodes.
Tarvis (the First) sacrificed itself to save the Associate, Jeffrey, from an accident he foolishly created.
Tarvis (the Second) was destroyed by Circuit Chaps, discovered scouting their base for The Inspector.
Tarvis (the Third) was retired to live with an Associate (episode reference required).
Tarvis (the Fourth) never lived. The Inspector cannibalized its parts to repair the Optic Pocketknife and The BOOTH.
Tarvis (the Fifth) is trapped in an intergalactic circus while working undercover. It is unclear if The Inspector is aware of this. In the season finale, the Inspector ran by a circus poster advertising an act by "Tarvis The Rich." It is often assumed that this is the stage name of the Fifth Tarvis.
Tarvis (the Sixth) was forgotten on Theta Sigma Seven as the Ninth Inspector left in a rush. As of yet, nothing is known of what it's been up to. Rumors are that it made it to Earth, and now contributes to the internet community and independent projects.
Tarvis (the Seventh) has only been seen in a box. The Tenth Inspector pulled the box out of storage and smiled.
Cultural ReferencesEditThanks to the unauthorised pressing in Japan by Pioneer of "Lockpick of Space," there is a large cult following of The Inspector, and even moreso for Tarvis. Tarvis has become so popular in Japan, that there is an "unofficial" full-body pajama suit (known as "Kigurumi") for the world's most famous flying squirrel.
Pictured to the right, is a Japanese fan proudly displaying her Tarvis (the Third) Kigurumi. Tarvis The Third is (the most) popular in Japan, because of the romance story in its farewell episode.
Fans are also known to make their own stuffed animals of Tarvis, since the studio continues to refuse to make any of their own.Both of these pieces show the love that fans have for one of the most underrated, unsung heroes of The Inspector's travels.
Yuuhi, a major TV corporation in Japan, is already famous with its superhero-themed TV shows. It fought for years for the rights to air a Tarvis anime or live-action series, but the studio continues to decline such requests. The rumors are untrue that the studio issued a "cease and desist" order against YTV.