UPDATED 12/19/2013: BBC America has released a new trailer which gives a better sense of the story of “Time of the Doctor.” It has been embedded at the bottom of this article.
There was something unintentionally funny about the ending of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special “Day of the Doctor.” We end on a note of optimism, with Matt Smith’s Doctor joining all prior Doctors as they stand in a v-shaped line and look skyward at their destination, Gallifrey. A voiceover from Smith re-inforces this image, informing us that our great aimless wonder, The Doctor, finally has a direction and goal: home. As writer-producer Steven Moffat has copped to in follow-up interviews, the decision to bring back Gallifrey was largely dictated by the need for a better-defined story structure for the show. Instead of a mysterious man in the box attempting to solve the mysteries of his impossible female companions there is now an end goal for the show to work toward in its writing, specifically the Doctor discovering Gallifrey. Once that is reached, the actual Gallifrey will present all sorts of new story opportunities.
The funny part comes in where we as fans know in the back of our minds that Matt Smith is going to have absolutely no part in this new saga of the Doctor’s life because he’s already left the show, his last episode (“The Time of the Doctor”) filmed long ago and set to air on Christmas day. So, basically, it’s like his Doctor stuck around just long enough to find a sense of direction, and now he’s to be replaced by Peter Capaldi. Before we get to Gallifrey we’ve got to kill off Matt Smith first.
Today, the BBC and BBC America released their respective trailers for “Time of the Doctor.” It expands upon what the earlier 8 second teaser had hinted, which is this story will take place on Trenzalore and feature the Doctor battling an all-star team of enemies, Daleks, Cybermen, The Silence, etc.
Here’s the BBC America trailer:
Here’s the pretty much identical BBC One trailer:
Elsewhere, Steven Moffat has sent the internet into a tizzy by confirming that after “Day of the Doctor” we have to officially consider John Hurt’s war Doctor the real 9th Doctor. Plus, as the curator of the show he is officially considering David Tennant’s partial regeneration in “The Journey’s End” from the revived show’s fourth season as the Doctor using up one of his regenerations. As a result, Eccleston is now the 10th Doctor, David Tennant the 11th but he used up an additional regeneration in “The Journey’s End” meaning Matt Smith is technically the 13th regeneration of the Doctor.
“We’ll find out [in the Christmas special] that Matt Smith is actually the 13th Doctor. Although everyone knows that the Doctor can only regenerate 12 times.
You can check out GeeksofDoom‘s rather detailed reactions to this news. We could choose to barrel headlong into this news which is turning into the geekiest of geeky debates, as one must call upon 50 years of show history and point to things like the Valeyard and what have you to give this conversation justice. And we love ourselves some geeky debates. But, frankly, we think Moffat is making this more confusing than he needs to, and we simply don’t care enough because it all distracts from the bigger issue: this is Matt Smith’s last ever episode of Doctor Who.
We are still not ready to say goodbye to Matt Smith. If the past is any indication, we will not be able to move on until the moment of the forthcoming 8th season where Peter Capaldi first does something as the Doctor that we have to admit Smith couldn’t have done just as well or better. Yeah, but the 8th season probably won’t even premiere for another 7-10 months. So, regardless of this being Matt Smith’s last/Capaldi’s first episode of Doctor Who it’s going to be the last we see from this show for a while. Dang. Now I’m doubly sad.
UPDATED: BBC America has released an additional trailer which reveals more of the plot. Enjoy!:
Matt Smith’s final appearance will be airing in the US on BBC America on December 25 at 9pm/8pm Central.