Following the smash success of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, it's still hard to imagine that fans will be saying goodbye to Matt Smith's 11th (now 13th) Doctor during the 2013 Christmas Special. Titled, "The Time of the Doctor," the episode will see the prophesied "fall of the 11th" and the rise of actor Peter Capaldi as the 12th (or is it 14th) iteration of the two-hearted alien time-traveler. No doubt, fans of the series are eager (or anxious) to see what Capaldi brings to the role, especially since he's the oldest actor to ever begin portraying the character (not including John Hurt's appearance in "The Day of the Doctor") as well as how showrunner Steven Moffat intends to address the show's regeneration limit.
Nevertheless, as Moffat recently mentioned, the Christmas Special isn't about introducing Capaldi, it's about saying goodbye to Smith with one final adventure. A recent trailer for "The Time of the Doctor" gave a brief glimpse at what fans can expect from the upcoming special and now BBC has released an extended look at the episode - with nearly twice as much footage and a clearer hint at the larger storyline.
We've previously reported on the multi-villain plot, a fitting end for the 11th, in the 2013 Christmas Special but in case you missed our prior coverage, check out the official BBC synopsis below:
"Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe's deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars. And amongst them -- the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe."
As depicted in the trailer above, as well as the sneak peek images from the episode, The Doctor and Clara will be facing a host of familiar enemies including the Silence, Daleks, Cybermen, and Weeping Angels (among others) - as well as the potential corruption of a former friend, Tasha Lem (portrayed by actress Orla Bray).
While the Doctor made a trip to Trenzalore and visited his own grave in the season 7 finale, "The Name of the Doctor," it looks as though, given the "siege of Trenzalore" line, that Moffat intends to make good on the fall of the Silence, which according to prophecy, would occur:
"On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a Question will be asked, a question that must never, ever be answered."
Yet, the most intriguing reveal comes in the form of a callback to the season 6, episode eleven episode "The God Complex," which showed the Doctor peering into a hotel room containing his greatest fear. The same door way, number 11, is shown in the new trailer - but what is the Doctor's greatest fear? We won't know for sure until the episode airs on Christmas Day but fans are already stirring at the prospect of an actual face to face encounter between Capaldi and Smith - should The Doctor's greatest fear turn out to be his own death (embodied by his next regeneration). It would be a cool twist on the old format of only revealing a new Doctor post-regeneration by allowing Smith to actually see the man he will become. Nevertheless, as is usually the case with Doctor Who, there are infinite of other possibilities.
Even though "The Time of the Doctor" has yet to air, BBC is already preparing the at-home release - announcing that fans can pick-up the Christmas Special Blu-ray on March 4th 2014. The episode should be included (along with "The Day of the Doctor" Anniversary Special) in a season 8 set but, given the lengthy hiatus until Capaldi's first season premieres in autumn 2014, it will (very likely) be 2015 before BBC releases the next complete season on Blu-ray.
Viewers who splurge for the standalone "Time of the Doctor" Blu-ray ($19.98) or DVD ($14.98) will also receive a few cool special features to help pass the time until new Doctor Who is on the air.
Check out the special features for "The Time of the Doctor" home release below:
- “The Time of the Doctor – Behind the Lens” - It's Christmas! A time for peace and goodwill to all. But hang on, its Doctor Who, surely it can't be that simple? We take a peek behind the lens on this cracker of a Christmas special. The tinsel is out at the Oswald's and we meet a familiar enemy in a new form. The Doctor comes face to face with the enigmatic Tasha Lem and makes a new friend. With Matt Smith, Orla Brady, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, Danny Hargreaves, Jack Hollington, Sheila Reid, James Buller and Elizabeth Rider.
- “Farewell to Matt Smith” - Narrated by Alex Kingston (River Song), This compelling, hour-long special looks back at Matt Smith’s extraordinary tenure as the Eleventh Doctor, featuring highlights from the show and copious interview footage with Matt, his cast-mates, writers, producers, guest stars and celebrity Doctor Who fans.
- “Tales from the TARDIS” - A look back at the full, 50-year history of this iconic series. Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and past Doctors David Tennant, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison and Tom Baker tell what it was like to be the Doctor, how they got the job and how it changed their lives. With companions Jenna Coleman, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, and more, this truly insightful special offers a unique insight into the world’s longest running sci-fi series.
We’ll keep you updated with a review of the Doctor Who 2013 Christmas Special, along with a full breakdown of any especially interesting revelations, shortly after the episode airs. In the meantime, check out our Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List.
Matt Smith will return as Doctor Who for the 2013 Christmas Special on December 25th.
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