Everybody knew this was probably how they’d explain it, but it doesn’t make it any less awesome! The first of a reported two Doctor Who minisodes which will set the scene for “The Day of the Doctor” on Saturday the 23rd shows us exactly how the John Hurt Doctor came to be, and did it with someone who hasn’t been onscreen as the character in 17 years.
That’s right, Paul McGann! The Eighth Doctor, who only appeared in the 1996 TV movie, is now officially part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, as he arrives aboard a crashing warship to save Cass, a young, naive pilot. He tries to take her aboard the TARDIS, but she hates Time Lords nearly as much as Daleks. I guess it makes sense, given how the two races have nearly torn the universe apart with their blasted Time War.
After the ship crashes on the planet Karn, the Sisterhood of Karn (references to “The Brain of Morbius“! I love it!) retrieve him from the wreckage and tells him they can make him regenerate into anything he wants through their elixir of life. The Doctor, who evidently wanted nothing to do with the Time War until now, knows that he is the only one who can stop it, but his anti-war stance makes that difficult. He elects to change into “a warrior” instead of the Doctor. He drinks the potion and his reflection is that of a young John Hurt, meaning Hurt was the War Doctor a very long time, given his current age and grizzledness.
Could this be any better?! It’s Paul McGann actually getting to be the Doctor on screen again. How marvelous! And he even references all the companions he’s had in spinoff material, which is a nice and particularly fannish touch. Plus, I think it’s genius to work in “The Brain of Morbius” to this, because in that story we see images of possible past or alternate Doctors. What better setting than that to show us the newest alternate?
If you hadn’t guessed, I’m super excited. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!