Sat
Nov 9 2013 2:50pm

Bad Wolf? Captain Jack? The Master? Dissecting the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Trailer

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Now that we’ve finally gotten our first footage from the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, let’s see if we can suss out what might be going on aside from the appearance of the mysterious John Hurt Time War Doctor.

There’s a good number of hints strewn about the trailers, some callbacks to the classic series, and one still that is hiding something totally baffling. (The Dalek fleet also makes an impressive desktop wallpaper, just saying!) Join me for some spoilers and speculation!

Update! The BBC released a second trailer this evening, so I’ve updated the post with screencaps and speculation from that. (You can watch them both here.) Click any of the below photos to enlarge them.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

This is most likely the opening of the episode. Clara is on her motorbike speeding along towards Eleven’s TARDIS.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Huggggs! Oh, also Doctor something is up in modern day London at the National Gallery.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

But maybe don’t fall out of the TARDIS while trying to get there?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Since when does the TARDIS need a helicopter to bring it anywhere? Something has possibly happened to the ol’ girl while in flight. Or maybe U.N.I.T. picked it up via helicopter in the first place?

(All that aside, this is a really nicely composed shot. Both the foreground and background statues appear as if they’re sitting in judgment. Flying the copter to get that precise an angle shot must have been extremely difficult.)

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

This amuses me so much more than it should. Shortly after this must be the scene where the Doctor and Clara are shown the Time War painting from Queen Elizabeth the I’s collection by the woman wearing the huge scarf. (We’ll find out her motives a little later on in this post.)

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, Eleven, and Clara being shown something in the basement of the Gallery.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Kate, Eleven, and Clara enter a nondescript room containing...an opening into the Time Vortex, perhaps? Eleven tosses his fez at it. “I remember this. Almost remember.” Possibly he recalls being the Tenth Doctor and seeing a fez falling out of a hole in time and space.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Which brings us to a terrified Queen Elizabeth the 1st running through the woods in the year 1562. But why is she scared?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Zygons! Set photos spotted Zygon costumes during the filming of the Elizabeth and Tenth Doctor scenes so it seems likely they’re menacing the British monarchy during the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign. If only someone who previously regretted that his televised adventures didn’t include Zygons would come to the rescue!

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

On a horse, even! It’s blurry, but you can make out the Tenth Doctor running out of the TARDIS on a white horse. Does this episode take place after “The Girl in the Fireplace”? Or does he go back and get Arthur?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

However the Zygon situation is resolved, this is where Eleven finds the Tenth Doctor. “Hello, Doctor. I’m the Doctor,” Eleven presumably says. Ten asks him to prove it and the screwdrivers come out.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

While Queen Elizabeth watches.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

En garde?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Because it’s not weird enough, the John Hurt Doctor chooses that moment to also seek out his other selves.

“You’ve certainly come to the right place...” Ten and Eleven look very worried and oh you just want to give them a hug because this John Hurt guy...he is TROUBLE.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

I mean, look at him. He could be saying, “No Mr. Bond...I expect you to DIE.” so easily here.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Oh wait, before we head over to U.N.I.T. we need to check in with the Mutual Admiration of Spectacles Society.

With three Doctors present most likely Eleven has some explaining to do in regards to just what is going on. Eleven reveals U.N.I.T. put him on to the two of them and Ten probably remembers that they go to U.N.I.T. since he has John Hurt’s memories. But John Hurt doesn’t know that yet and probably there’s some wacky predestination stuff happening that Ten and Eleven don’t want to mess with so off they go to have U.N.I.T. explain what two-thirds of them already know.

They might also choose to just take one TARDIS to avoid having three of the same TARDIS in one spot. Which would make this scene next:

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

“You’ve redecorated! I don’t like it.”

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

ANYWAY.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Ten and Eleven confront Kate Stewart...times 2? And what’s that on the corkboard there? More information being correlated about the Doctor? (Also, interesting that there’s an alien gun with a spotlight on it and a timer on the back wall that isn’t moving.)

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Whatever’s going on with U.N.I.T.’s involvement, the Doctors don’t look happy. Did anyone call the That Was Unwise Brigade? Because they’re here.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

The HQ of present day U.N.I.T. Double Kate Stewart is present here as well and the actress we’ve previously seen with Eleven and Clara in the National Gallery is in the background on the right. Since she’s with U.N.I.T., she might be sporting the Fourth Doctor’s actual scarf. (He might have left one behind, we don’t know!) It’s also likely that she is U.N.I.T.’s resident Doctor expert/historian and that she may have been the one to first recognize the significance of the painting of Gallifrey found in the National Gallery’s collection.

U.N.I.T. is being attacked in this brief clip, too. Is this the doing of the Doctors, or something else? Whatever’s going on, it seems like the Doctors have gotten all the pieces of the puzzle that they need. We’re off to the Time War!

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

A massive Dalek fleet attacks Gallifrey.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

The Gallifreyan citadel, previously seen in “Gridlock,” “The End of Time,” and “The Name of the Doctor,” under bombardment from the Dalek fleet.

This attack could possibly be taking place before the events of “The End of Time,” since those previous episodes show Dalek ships in ruins outside of the city and the Time Lords already know that the Doctor has “The Moment.”

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Time Lords hustling through some green lasers, with support from Gallifreyan troops.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Presumably an attack on the city surrounding the citadel. [io9’s analysis theorizes this may be the Fall of Arcadia.] There’s a billboard visible in the middle there and for some reason it’s really weird to consider Gallifrey as having advertising.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

A Gallifreyan trooper battles Dalek ground forces as refugees escape.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

A wide overhead shot of the street the refugees are on. Note the Gallifreyan wall symbols in the top right. A Dalek is about to explode in front of that.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Dalek asplode!

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

DID ANYBODY CALL FOR A DOCTOR OR PERHAPS A COLLECTION OF DOCTORS? Not sure which Doctor’s TARDIS is smashing through a wall and decapitating Daleks here. It’s possible that all three Doctors head back to their respective phone boxes and use their combined power to punch through into the Time War.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Here’s the John Hurt Doctor inside of his TARDIS! It’s an interesting mix of the white of the classic series TARDIS interiors and the new series. You can see the coral circling the classic platform.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Close-up of the panel of John Hurt’s TARDIS.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

“Allons-y!” It’s good to hear that again. I’m probably going to name my first child that.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

“Geronimo!”

We’re seeing Eleven do this on someone else’s screen—note the white semi-circles on the top right and bottom left of the screen, with the colored indicator dots. As pointed out in the comments below, this is most likely Ten communicating with Eleven TARDIS to TARDIS so they can synch up their jump into the Time War.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Looks like they made it. Eleven, John Hurt, and Ten on Gallifreyan ground during the Time War.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

“The Moment is coming.” Rose talking to the John Hurt Doctor. She might mean “moment” in lower case but that seems doubtful considering how The Moment has been hinted at as an ultimate weapon capable of stopping the Time War.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

A very banged-up TARDIS and a single set of boot prints trailing away from it. As we'll see, they belong to the John Hurt Doctor.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

The John Hurt Doctor facing a lone house in a desert on Gallifrey, his boot prints behind him. Is this where the Doctor grew up with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru? Is this near the Untempered Schism?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

The John Hurt Doctor inside the desert house amidst ruined playground equipment. (Is that a tire swing on the right there?) He's facing The Moment. Guess who can’t resist a great. big. RED. button?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

THAT GUY.

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Time to back-pedal a bit and consider Rose’s role in “The Day of the Doctor.” In this screencap she appears to still possess her Bad Wolf abilities and is in the same desert house that John Hurt and The Moment are. How does she know about The Moment? What is Rose’s agenda here?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Here’s a shot of Rose on the same set, waving happily. Not sure if the ring signifies anything in-episode. It might just be Billie Piper’s own wedding ring? (On her index finger, though?)

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Here's Rose for a third time in the same desert house set, but darker and with a TARDIS parked inside of it. Rose is a definite wild card in this plot and the fact that we don’t see her with Ten is worrying. Is this a remnant of Rose left over from her Bad Wolf experience? Is she essentially only there in spirit? Does she only exist in that house?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

If that's the case, where is she in this screencap?

 

Other theories:

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Clara seems to be sporting the same kind of vortex manipulator that Captain Jack and River Song use. Does she get it from one of them? Will we get a surprise appearance from either of them? Maybe she just stole it from U.N.I.T.?

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor

Quite aside from all the hullaboo about the Time War and the show’s 50th anniversary is the fact that only one month later we’ll be saying goodbye to Eleven and hello to Twelve. (Or goodbye to Twelve and hello to Thirteen, as the case seems to be.)

It seems likely that Eleven’s final episode will wrap up the lingering Fall of the Eleventh/Silence arc but after that we don’t know what Moffat has in store for Capaldi. (Aside from rumors that his debut will be a Dalek two-parter and Jenna Coleman staying on as Clara.) Now that we’ve seen footage from the 50th anniversary special, however, it’s possible that Steven Moffat is using “The Day of the Doctor” to create a backdoor that would allow the show to easily bring back some old enemies.

Take The Master, for example. The last time we saw him was as he re-entered the Time War along with Rassilon during “The End of Time.” As stated in that episode, Gallifrey jumped out of time during the final day of the Time War, so it stands to reason that this is where it jumped back to, now with John Simm’s Master in tow.

“The Day of the Doctor” most likely takes place before that jump, since it depicts the Doctor obtaining “The Moment” spoken of in “The End of Time.” But we don’t know how or when the events of “The Day of the Doctor” end, and we don’t know how Ten and Eleven escape back out of the Time War. It’s quite possible that John Hurt shoos his future incarnations away just before he Pushes The Button.

And if that’s the case, then Ten and Eleven may depart Gallifrey after John Simm’s Master has been deposited there. And if The Master happens to spot a familiar phone box? Well, the Eleventh Doctor might find he has a very interesting stowaway. And wouldn’t that be one hell of a cliffhanger to end the 50th anniversary special on?

The Master isn’t the only one hanging around the Time War, either. Ten did admit to trying to save Davros during the war...

 

Only two weeks until we see for sure!


Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com, resident Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recapper, and sometimes Doctor Who writer. You could bother him on Twitter if he could remember what his username was.

42 comments
Mordicai Knode
1. mordicai
I mostly wonder if there is some long bend in which Rose & River are the same person.
Christopher Bennett
2. ChristopherLBennett
I think those screen graphics in the last image are like those we've seen on the TARDIS console room's display screen, so I'm betting that Ten and Eleven are communicating between TARDISes via their monitors. Note that in the previous screencap, Ten's monitor is positioned right in front of him. Doesn't prove they're from the same scene, but they could be.
Lynne Stringer
3. Lynne Stringer
I can't imagine that Rose and River would be the same person, especially since we did see River die in Forests of the Dead.
Ursula L
4. Ursula
Rose and River the same person? Wouldn't that make Amy and Jackie Tyler the same person as well?

I don't see it happening. River being Amy and Rory's daughter worked well as part of the special relationship the Doctor developed with the extended Pond family. I don't see much, emotionally, in tying River and Rose together, and combining Eleven's protective relationship with the Pond family with Nine and Ten's obsession with Rose.
Alan Brown
5. AlanBrown
Best part of this special is that my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter have been catching up on Who, and we are all going to watch the 50th as a family.
Christopher Bennett
6. ChristopherLBennett
The point of Rose was that she was an ordinary person who was given an opportunity to do extraordinary things. She wasn't not some superhuman, exotic entity disguised as a girl, she was just a girl. She came from completely ordinary origins, but wasn't willing to let that limit or define her. And thus the ordinary shop girl from the council flats ended up elevated by her travels with the Doctor and became involved in cosmic-level events. It would strip the meaning from it if she were retconned into something more unearthly in origin.
Shelly wb
7. shellywb
I will enjoy this as a special, but when I see 50th anniversary and nary a hint of anything past the last 5 years, I am sad.
James Goetsch
8. Jedikalos
Totally agree with you there, shellywb. But maybe they will still surprise us with something (I hope).
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
@7 & 8: You don't consider the Fourth Doctor's scarf and the Zygons to constitute "a hint of anything past the last five years?" And "You've redecorated. I don't like it" is a paraphrase of a Second Doctor line from "The Three Doctors." Plus there are glimpses of what look like Gallifreyan guards in uniforms similar to those they wore in the original series (and a shot at 0:18 in the second, longer trailer of someone in a high, ornate Time Lord-ish collar).

Naturally this special's going to focus mainly on elements from the modern series, because that's all that the vast majority of the show's audience is familiar with, but I'm sure there will be elements from the past seeded about, at least as Easter eggs. I'm not convinced that all the paraphernalia we glimpsed in the teaser trailer was restored or recreated solely for that trailer. I think a lot of it may actually feature in the episode.
F Shelley
10. FSS
@9 - And "You've redecorated. I don't like it" is a paraphrase of a Second Doctor line from "The Three Doctors."

It's also a direct quote of Sarah Jane Smith from the Series 2 show "School Reunion"...
Christopher Bennett
11. ChristopherLBennett
@10: In other words, it's a running gag. But definitely one that's much more than five years old. (In fact it's forty years old, come to think of it, since that was the tenth-anniversary special.)
Ursula L
12. Ursula
In the last screencap of Rose, she has a dark cuff on her left wrist. Could that be another vortex manipulator?

I also find it interesting that the clothes Rose is wearing don't really resemble the clothes she wore during her main run on the show. The colors seem wrong (I tend to think of Rose as wearing bluejeans, and some sort of pink somewhere in her outfit) and the style is definately not the working-class young adult that she was. They look like better-quality clothes that have been worn to rags.
Jan Kafka
13. JanKafka
I'm guessing the ring on Billie's finger is hers - worn loosely on her index finger for quick removal when shooting the scene (which is very sweet!) It's wonderful to see these photos and screen caps, and read the possible analyses. Really looking forward to seeing the episode!
Edit: Thought it was a still photo, not a screencap - the ring must belong in the scene.
Lynne Stringer
14. BringBackDonna
Bring back Donna Noble!!!!
James Goetsch
15. Jedikalos
@9: Point taken! But I suppose I was thinking more of actual earlier Doctors instead of their artifacts and such as easter eggs . . .
Mordicai Knode
16. mordicai
6. ChristopherLBennett

I guess I was more musing in reverse; Rose being River, not River being Rose, if that makes sense? I agree completely with your statement that the "point" of Rose is to be a regular, fantastic person, because people are wonderful, or what have you. I just, you know, know there are parallel dimensions & time travel & all kinds of shenanigans, but you are almost certainly right.
Mordicai Knode
17. mordicai
3. Lynne Stringer

Oh dying is exactly the sort of thing I'd expect River to be able to escape.
Shelly wb
18. shellywb
@9. Sorry there are *tiny* hints. Wow. 4's scarf. I hope Tom Baker feels honored.

Perhaps I should have said that they're completely ignoring the other actors who went before. It's *not* natural that they're focusing on the new doctors. This is the 50th anniversary. That means a celebration of all 50 years. All the people who've worked on the show. All the fans. All the doctors. It doesn't mean a celebration of 10 and 11 because that's all the newest fans know.
Lynne Stringer
19. w00master
@18 Some of us don't want Dimensions in Time.
Thomas Thatcher
20. StrongDreams
When John Hurt pops up at the end of "The Name of the Doctor" and says "What I did, I did without choice... in the name of peace and sanity" (and assuming that refers to ending the Time War and destroying Gallifrey), then the events here occur after that event (because he remembers them). So either the Big Red Button is from a flashback, or someone is trying to travel back to interfere in that event, or the Big Red Button is something else entirely.
Ursula L
21. Ursula
So either the Big Red Button is from a flashback, or someone is trying to travel back to interfere in that event, or the Big Red Button is something else entirely.
It's a time travel show. The Big Red Button could be something that the Hurt-Doctor did, but which Ten and Eleven are involved with in some way, so the event occurs at several points in the Doctor's timeline. Not a flashback in the context of what we're shown on screen, but a more complex interaction with the Doctor's life.

Sort of like the way that the trip to Utah occured, for the Doctor, both when he was ~900 and when he was ~1100. Neither part of the event is a "flashback" in the episode "The Impossible Astronaut."
Tom Smith
23. phuzz
I keep forgetting that it's less than a month until this airs, woo!
Keith DeCandido
25. krad
"the mysterious John Hurt Time War Doctor"

I love the way people are just assuming that John Hurt is playing the Time War Doctor as if that's a given.

It really really isn't.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Christopher Bennett
26. ChristopherLBennett
@25: I dunno, I think all the shots in this trailer of Gallifrey and the Daleks, and the lines from Hurt about "what I did," and the line "the Moment is coming," and the released plot description mentioning a vast war taking place out in space, all do seem to be adding up to this being the story of the Time War at last. And if it's also the story of the Hurt incarnation of the Doctor, that does seem to be pointing in the direction of him being the Time War Doctor. It's not a given, no, but there's an increasing amount of evidence supporting the hypothesis.
Lynne Stringer
27. SeeingI
@Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser Button, you fool!
Abraham Song
28. w00master
I don't think Rose is Rose. I believe she is Bad Wolf fully "realised." Look at her clothes - nothing like the Rose we all know.

Also curious about what everyone calls "The Moment," doesn't it look like it's in the shape of a rose? (Look at the whole thing, gold petals and all with the red ruby/jewel on top). Coincidence?
Keith DeCandido
29. krad
I'm not saying the Time War isn't part of it. But I'm saying that doesn't mean that the John Hurt Doctor is the one who fought in the Time War. In fact, the evidence we have to date suggests that it isn't that one.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Christopher Bennett
30. ChristopherLBennett
@29: I'm not sure what evidence you're referring to, since the evidence I'm seeing suggests the opposite to me. But then, we'll actually know for sure in a bit over 11 days.
Jan Kafka
31. JanKafka
In any case, I wish we were seeing something of the Paul McGann's Doctor's fate...I believe he should have been the War Doctor?
Lynne Stringer
32. charming.quark
I've been thinking of John Hurt as Doctor 8-1/2.

And pure speculation - what if Rose is The Nightmare Child?
yo sil
33. catperson
I have a question that I don't think was asked yet - What do the Zygons have to do with all this? It seems that there are Zygons both in 2013 at UNIT, and also in Elizabethean times. What are they doing? Are they connected to the JH Doctor? Maybe the Zygons were participating in the Time War, secretly egging on both sides?
Lee Anderson
34. DSNiner
There's some compelling evidence that John Hurt is playing the Time War Doctor.

Don't punch the air too hard or you'll hurt yourself.
Christopher Bennett
35. ChristopherLBennett
@34: Yeah, my estimate of when we'd know was off by about nine and a half days...
Lynne Stringer
36. BrookerJ
Guys, I hate to admit it but we already have a continuity error:

Look at Tennant's sonic screwdriver: it's the yellowy one, which would suggest that he's from in between the Runaway Bride and Smith and Jones, as in Smith and Jones that sonic got destroyed and his new one was a grey colour.

HOWEVER

In the Shakespeare Code (Post Smith and Jones), when Queen Elizabeth confronts him he says he hasn't met her yet; we are also led to believe that he didn't meet her until the period between the Waters of Mars and the End of Time when he was avoiding his regeration.

Can we agree that something's gone wrong here?
Christopher Bennett
37. ChristopherLBennett
@36: It's Doctor Who. Continuity has never been a major concern.
Alan Brown
38. AlanBrown
Just chalk it up to wibbley wobbley timey wimey stuff...
Lynne Stringer
39. JosephHooper
So I'm mainly keying in on the ending from the Bad Wolf arc in my observation, hopefully I'm not mixing in different characters comments. When Rose gains all of that power she goes on a power trip of sorts about how all of time and space are hers to command. Tie that into the fact that she is the "conscious" of the "ultimate weapon" and it sparks my inquiry. Since she could see everything, and as the only companion old or new that truly had that "human" love connection with the Dr., it is quite possible that out of her love and affection she saw what he did and in turn changed his timeline completely to give him a way of escaping the hurt and pain that the destruction of his people caused. Which is hinted at multiple times like when the conscious "chose" bad wolf and had her little pause while saying it and when the war Dr. is so ecstatic about how that bad wolf girl made the moment possible and 10 and 11 both have that quizzical yet comprehending look On their faces. So maybe Rose forced herself into the biggest moment in his life and empowered the Dr. to be his own savior, all 13 Dr.'s at once in an impossible and amazing crossing of time streams that should have destroyed all of time itself yet something/someone guarding against that also.
Lynne Stringer
40. crowtower
@36 I was just rewatching the 'Smith and Jones' ep and noticed the Doctor's sonic screwdriver get destroyed.

If it is meant to be the same software but different casing on the screwdriver (as mentioned in the 50th) then surely this one getting destroyed would halt the calculations needed to destroy the door in the 50th? That is, after the 'Smith and Jones' episode, it's no longer the same screwdriver as he literally throws it away!
Christopher Bennett
41. ChristopherLBennett
@40: But software isn't necessarily limited to a single platform. We saw that when the Eleventh Doctor got a new sonic screwdriver, it emerged from a slot in the console. If it's the TARDIS that makes the screwdrivers, then it stands to reason that the software is installed in the TARDIS computer itself, and is uploaded into each successive screwdriver in turn. Maybe the screwdriver is wi-fi networked with the TARDIS. Why not? The companions' brains are, since it translates languages for them. And it makes sense that the screwdriver has telepathic circuits, otherwise how else does the Doctor "read" its scan results when it has no visual display of any kind?
Lynne Stringer
42. crowtower
@41 thank you! Pedantic nerd brain appeased - all is still right in the Doctor-verse

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