With just a few months to go before the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary premieres, the BBC has finally revealed the name and runtime of the highly-anticipated team-up of the Tenth (David Tennant) and Eleventh (Matt Smith) Doctors with the Valeyard (John Hurt), who represents the Doctor’s darker side.
The title, appropriately enough, is “The Day of the Doctor.” As far as runtime goes: The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary will come in at 75 minutes, which is 30 minutes longer than a typical episode, or 17 minutes longer than the Doctor Who Christmas specials. So what, exactly, can we expect to see in this extended tribute to one of television’s greatest shows? That still remains the question – though we do have some ideas.
With the title being “The Day of the Doctor,” it’s clear that the focus of the Anniversary will very much be about the Doctor and his various iterations. The Doctor(s) will be facing off against the Zygons and the Daleks, and there is someone referred to as the Curator who will be collecting “paintings” from the Doctor’s adventures. As of now, the theory is that the “paintings” refer to people from the Doctor’s past. (No Torchwood or classic Doctor Appearances will be made, though.)
To help fight off the attack, UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce), the international organization created to combat extraterrestrial threat to Earth, will be making its return with Kate Stewart now in charge. The Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS will be returning, and Clara will (somehow) be involved, as she’s the Impossible Girl.
But aside from the typical confusion that comes from trying to figure out what Moffat has in store for Doctor Who fans, it’s the Valeyard’s appearance that brings the most questions. After the Doctor Who season 7 finale, the BBC released a video in which Tennant and Smith spoke very briefly about working together and the upcoming 50th anniversary. In the video, both Tennant and Smith allude to the fact that the Valeyard, who is supposed to be the dark side of the Doctor, gets along quite well with his former selves.
And then Moffat had to go and say this to io9:
“I never quite understood, in ‘Trial of a Time Lord,’ what he was meant to be. I never understood if he was a real Doctor, or [something else]. But in a story where we are hinting that the Doctor has a hidden chapter to his life, it was irresistible to mention the Valeyard. But you know, he’ll only ever get so dark, let’s be honest. He’s the Doctor. I think a man who worries about going bad is never really going to go bad. Maybe not…”
Since Moffat doesn’t have much of a “maybe not…” personality, it’s very likely that the Valeyard isn’t nearly as dark has the Doctor believes him to be. Or is he? Considering that fact the Doctor has been traveling through time for centuries with a core set of rules and beliefs, it’s possible that the Valeyard simply represents a version of the Doctor who has given up said beliefs, which in turn would frighten the Doctor enough to consider the Valeyard his darkest secret. Then again, as Moffat said: “Maybe not…”
Whatever does happen in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, fans will have 75 minutes of it to enjoy. And with the return of Ten, as well as Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), fans will be able to once again return to the characters which helped kick the new series off. And no matter what, at least we know that Eleven and Clara will at least make it through the Anniversary alive and go on to star in the Christmas special. Who makes it out of that alive? Now that’s another question. Spoilers!
UPDATE: Check out the official poster for the The Day of the Doctor:
[Click for Full-Sized Version]
Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Premieres November 23 on BBC & BBC America