The War Doctor Returns in a New Novel

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Allyn Gibson, May 1, 2014.

  1. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    No. Much as I adore Karen, Amy's story is told, and Karen has moved on.Not to mention Amy without Rory would never feel right.
     
  2. starsuperion

    starsuperion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This cements my theory that the War Doctor is not the same as the Valeyard, and I am hopeful we get to see that come about in Capaldi's run. That would be amazingly cool.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, that was confirmed as soon as "The Night of the Doctor" came out and showed Paul McGann regenerating into John Hurt. The Valeyard somehow emerged between the "twelfth and final" incarnations, while the War Doctor was, quite simply, the Doctor's ninth incarnation (although in retrospect the Doctor skipped over counting him).
     
  4. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    I'd be more interested in seeing Rory without Amy than Amy without Rory.

    IIRC, wasn't that the prevailing theory about Clara for a while?
     
  5. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    Was it not the other way around? The moment introduced itself as Rose Tyler but then said in this form known as Bad Wolf?
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, not quite. It didn't introduce itself that way. Well, verbatim, it did say "in this form, I'm called Bad Wolf," but actually it was projecting an image drawn from the Doctor's experience, although it got the Doctor's past and future mixed up. So it was not, in itself, Bad Wolf Rose. It was the Moment, but it chose the likeness of Bad Wolf Rose as its interface with the Doctor. Which may have been another iteration of the Bad Wolf meme seeding itself throughout time and space, but the Moment was still a distinct entity.
     
  7. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    The War Doctor just isn't interesting to me. He's so obviously a pastiche of the Ninth that was created by the absence of Eccleston. Which I respect, as I also respect the idea that the Time War should always, always be vague, abstract and just plain never definitively portrayed or showcased. Ever.

    Also, the appeal of the War Doctor in the special came from him being a definitive loner. That he's not the Doctor that we know, who travels alone and just doesn't engage in human interaction. The fact that the Ninth sort-of insists on Rose being his companion is really part of the Doctor's own desire to be himself again - to be the Doctor again. Pairing him with a companion is fan-hawkish, though to be fair, a lot of the DW novels are such.

    Overall, I just don't care for it. And I will not care for it. Period.
     
  8. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    That certainly is how he in Day of the Doctor, an Eccleston substitute. And that's one of the flaws of Day, it takes an interesting concept, a darker Doctor who renounced the name and is covered up as a repressed memory by his successors and cheapens it with "well we couldn't get the actor we wanted, so we made a new guy." Hopefully a novel all about the War Doctor can develop the character into something other than an Eccleston Substitute.

    I don't get the impression this novel is about the Time War so much as the Time War is just the setting. Kind of like how you can have a story which is set in WWII but isn't really about WWII. I'm okay with this approach to the Time War. Now if this were going to be about the Time War I would have an issue, since I agree the Time War as a whole should be left to the audience's imagination along with things like the Nightmare Child or the Could Have Been King with his Army of Meanwhiles and Never-Weres.

    Like you say, many novels, or any tie-in material of any kind have always given the Doctor guest companions in stories set during his companion-less days. Hell, after Journey's End the Tenth Doctor chose to travel alone to avoid subjecting companions to the dangers of TARDIS life, but even novel set in that time period has a guest companion for him. For that matter, so did all the 2009 episodes, and Day of the Doctor sort of did to (if you consider Queen Elizabeth I a companion). Hell, Titan's coming Tenth Doctor comic series is set in this time period and is giving him a companion for the series.

    The format to Doctor Who is always Doctor and Companion(s). Shouldn't blame this book to doing what everything DW related always does.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think the War Doctor worked much better than Eccleston would have. Even though Moffat originally planned to use Eccleston, he realized it would be difficult to reconcile the story he wanted to tell with the continuity of the Ninth Doctor and he'd have to fudge things to make it work. The clever twist of introducing a "forgotten Doctor" was a much better solution, and added an interesting new idea to the franchise -- not to mention a new character to write novels about!

    And the War Doctor is much more than an Eccleston substitute. Eccleston's personality is basically a lot like that of his two successors -- take away the angst, and they're all three just varying mixes of angry young man and hyperactive kid. Hurt's Doctor was a grouchy elder statesman with little patience for the eccentricities of his "juniors" (who were actually older than he was). It was a much better contrast.
     
  10. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, having Eccleston in Hurt's place would've been really different and I'm not sure how well it would've worked. I loved what we got instead and I say this as a huge Eccleston fan.
     
  11. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I respectfully disagree. Even before the special, it always seemed to me as if Eccleston's Ninth himself had something to do with the demise of the Time Lords and the Daleks. "I MADE it happen" carries such conviction in his tone that I'm inclined to believe that this incarnation did it. And I'm certain Moffat did. The mini-episode would obviously have the Eighth already having fought in the War for a very long time, but being unwilling to carry the final solution - the destruction of his own people. Maybe a regeneration that would do that for him would be the solution.

    Its not that hard to imagine, at all. It is the Ninth that should have been in the 50th more since he seemed to be the Doctor most directly affected by the decision since he was closest to the time and the fallout. The fact that Moffat said it'd be "difficult" is a usual ploy of him excusing his decisions (not unlike his nonsensical "explanation" of how Name of the Doctor's future in Trenzalore still happened), and not a legitimate concern of his.

    And the "forgotten Doctor" is a silly idea to retroactively explain why we didn't see Hurt in those montages before the special's time. And the reason its a silly idea, is because the Doctor himself is not only known as being the one who instigated the genocide in the first place, but he himself has admited to having done as such in the past, and without hesitation to him being the one who have done it. The idea of a scorned isn't inherently silly, however - if McGann had been the one who killed them all, it'd make meta sense, as the Eighth has often times been dismissed as a real Doctor in the canon, because of his own, seemingly inconsequential TV Movie. Moffat could have taken that and used it to his advantage, but instead he went for the stunt casting to draw in more people and also engage in an ultimately futile guessing game for an entire six months.

    Finally, what more proof do you need than having Rose/Bad Wolf there as the Moment? There's the ultimate proof.

    Personally, if they couldn't have gotten Eccleston, I honestly believe Moffat should've written the part for the Eighth Doctor. Not only would McGann have done it, but he would've been more impactful, since we'd watch a Doctor who would've been so far deteriorated from his original appearence in the TV Movie, that it would've been a relief to see him NOT destroy Gallifrey - a final and fitting act of decency for him.

    But, I guess he wanted a big star for the special, and Hurt trumps McGann in status, so...

    And thats solely because of John Hurt, one of the greatest actors who have ever and will ever live. Not on Moffat's writing. Hurt distilled his own interpretation on the material in a way that made him distinct and unique. Hurt deserves every credit for his work on the special, cause without him, it would have sorely failed.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  12. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    [YT]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoRrHTTenBw[/YT]
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except that every "incarnation" is still the same continuous individual. They aren't really different people, just the same person expressing himself in different ways, emphasizing different aspects of his outward personality and behavior but still having a continuous awareness and identity. Tennant's Doctor may have thought of his other incarnations as different people, but I think that was an overstatement.

    And I've heard a lot of people express just the opposite perception, that Eccleston was newly regenerated in the wake of the Time War. In past years, it always seemed to be taken for granted, as far as I was aware, that the Time War had been ended by the Doctor before Eccleston (which we all assumed to have been McGann) and that the end of the War precipitated his regeneration. I never heard the alternative theory, that it was Eccleston himself who fought the war, until the fan discussions in the months leading up to "The Day of the Doctor." So I'm not sure where that idea came from.


    From his comments, I'm not at all certain of that. My impression from what he said was that he expected to put Eccleston in that role because it would've been the best way to incorporate his return in the special, but he was aware that it would create significant continuity problems and require retconning some of what RTD established. So it's not something he thought was right and had to abandon when Eccleston declined; it was something he felt he'd be obligated to do despite its problems, but when Eccleston declined, it freed him up to do something that emerged more naturally from what had been established in the past.


    I think it's petty and unfair to assume a person is lying. It's also an example of the Othello Error. If you start out with the assumption that someone is dishonest, then you will see any inconsistency or anomaly as "proof" of that preconception whether it's true or not. It can easily become a paranoid spiral. That's one of the reasons why it's better to give people the benefit of the doubt.



    Well, I think it's a brilliant idea. We're so used to thinking of "the Doctor" as his identity, but Moffat recognized, quite rightly, that it's actually a title, a role he adopts in order to avoid revealing his true identity. And that creates the possibility that he could have had an incarnation that didn't use the title, that was still him but wasn't "the Doctor," at least not in his own mind. It's the kind of inspired insight that Moffat is so good at, and it opens so many new doors for storytelling.

    After all, the Doctor was originally a character surrounded by mystery and secrets. We didn't know who he was or where he came from or why he was on the run. Those answers were gradually filled in, and there were efforts to restore some of that mystery late in the original series with questionable success, but the new series was able to restore it to some extent by picking up the Doctor after a long interval, after a transformative event that we only gradually learned about in fragments. And we thought we'd gotten most of the answers filled in, but there were still many gaps, including the one question we've never had answered: what is the Doctor's real name? Who is he really beneath that assumed title? And who would he be without it? It's an inspired insight.


    What you're describing, treating a metatextual fan reaction as part of in-universe canon, would've been a much greater stunt. And I don't agree that that fan reaction even exists. Who has ever dismissed McGann as "unreal?" Where are you getting that? The movie may not have been that popular, but nobody ever blamed that on McGann as far as I know. He's always been accepted as the real Eighth Doctor, both by the BBC and by fandom, and he's gained a lot of popularity through the audiobook series he did for Big Finish, as well as the many Eighth Doctor novels and comics that were published over the years. When "The Night of the Doctor" debuted online, I didn't hear anyone say "Foul, this guy isn't the real Doctor." What I heard pretty much universally was "Squeee, at last, the Eighth Doctor gets another screen story like we've wanted forever, now when does he get his own spinoff?" So I don't think fandom would've reacted well to what you're proposing.

    And if the answer to such a "guessing game" turns out to be something that still comes as a complete surprise to the audience despite all their best efforts, that's the exact opposite of futility. Audiences aren't supposed to figure everything out in advance. Where's the fun in a story that never surprises you?


    It's proof that Billie Piper agreed to return in the anniversary special and Moffat made up an excuse for her to be there -- just as he wanted Tom Baker to return and made up an excuse for that. If Piper had declined to return, then of course the Moment would've manifested itself differently.


    No, it's very much in the writing. "Am I having a midlife crisis? Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They're scientific instruments, not water pistols." "Do you have to talk like children? What is it that makes you so ashamed of being a grown up?" And even if it were all in the acting, it's still better with the greater contrast between Hurt and the younger Doctors. The problem with the modern series (prior to Capaldi) is that the Doctors were all too similar in age and type, their contrasts a lot subtler than in the original series. Casting a grizzled veteran against these two young, virile Doctors made a much more striking and effective contrast. It showed how diverse the Doctor's identities could be better than just about anything else in the new series has done, and thus served as a good setup for the transition from Smith to Capaldi.
     
  14. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    RTD, believe it or not. :)

    RTD wanted Doctor Who Magazine to show the McGann-to-Eccleston regeneration in their comic strip. The regeneration was written, but it wasn't used because DWM wanted to pair Eccleston's Doctor with Destrii (in other words, doing a post-regeneration story and continuing from the eighth Doctor strips), but RTD vetoed that. Partly it was the "brand" -- he and Julie Gardner wanted to cement the Nine/Rose brand on an impressionable new audience. And the letter in which he explains his reasoning says some interesting things about skipping over lots of time, including a war.

    To be fair, it's possible to read that in this way -- RTD didn't specifically envision the ninth Doctor as the Time War Doctor but he was such by default since the Time War hadn't happened by the time of "The Flood." Then, of course, years later, we learned otherwise.

    I know fandom loved the theory that the eighth Doctor was the one who did the deed, but there was never any real proof of it.

    RTD, Queer As Folk -- "McGann doesn't count!" :)

    Tat Wood goes on at length in About Time 6 about whether or not McGann counts.

    It is a minority, really minority view, but it is out there -- and it has been out there since, well, all the way back to '96. :)
     
  15. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    The twist in Moffat's original treatment would've been that the Ninth was newly regenerated when he'd have stolen and triggered the Moment. It doesn't much science with that, and really, when I watched the first series myself, knowing nothing else, I always though he did it. And after watching the rest of Who, I still thought similarly to what Moffat might've thought with the special originally, though admittedly without that degree of certainty. And I'm not one of those that ascribed to the "the Ninth Doctor was newly regenerated in Rose" group - I just thought that, basically, the Eighth and Ninth fought in the War.

    You should be certain, because all indications point to the Ninth triggering the Moment early in his regeneration and then going off to Rose. And that in and of itself is not a continuity error - not when he would've been on the move all the time. And it makes sense - after centuries of the War, this incarnation had enough, and he puts a stop to it. Just like he almost did in his last story, but LIKE that last story, he ultimately wouldn't do it because he is the Doctor. In both cases, he'd have had the help of Bad Wolf - here a disguise by the Moment, and back then the entity itself. Only difference, he'd need his immediate successors to achieve this here with maximum results.

    I'm not being paranoid. Moffat has had a habit of lying, and he's admited as much. And often times his explanations for things have been ridiculous, such as how the Trenzalore future in Name of the Doctor can still happen.

    There's defending, and then there's apologizing.

    It would've been a brilliant idea if it was used for any story not pertaining to the Time War. Because at the end of the day, this incarnation is not anything special - there was no reason for him to be a secret incarnation, because what he did was no secret to anyone - least of all, the audiences watching. He's a combo of Ninth with the grumpiness of the first two Doctors, and thats about it. He's not a Valeyard-type, really evil Doctor or something. In other words, brilliant idea wasted on an Eccleston fill-in. Which he is, no matter how you look at it.

    And he really shouldn't have. Why not use the forgotten Doctor card for a Valeyard story? Or hint at one being the reason he wouldn't regenerate at Mat Smith's final story if, of course, somehow he'd get a complete new life cycle from the Time Lords?

    While the Eighth has been a fan-favorite (and rightly so), he has also been a point of content for many a fan. And I've not been a fan for a long time to know this, but for years before the 2005 reboot I've heard of how the Eighth "doesn't count" and how the TV Movie was so embarrasing that it should've been decanonized. I had no context for this back then, but I did hear about it. And even now, you can cursory look for in-depth articles of how he didn't count. I think some of those said articles have been around here, too, in some of the more in-depth threads of the forum. Interesting reads.

    And the BBC have flip-floped on the particular incarnation. Otherwise they wouldn't have allowed the release of Death Comes to Time, a Seventh Doctor animation story that depicts an alternate fate/regeneration for the Seventh Doctor.

    So yeah, in my opinion, Moffat missed a great opportunity to meta-textualize this for the special. But his thinking of how he just couldn't see the Eighth Doctor fight in the War, as his reasoning for not putting the Eighth there, is flawed, at best. The Lucie Miller/Till Death two-parter by Big Finish more than anything examplified and showcased just how far from his origins has the Eighth Doctor gone, and how tired and vengeful he got with the Daleks. He could easily have used this incarnation, and had no problem with the characterization whatsoever.

    He just chose not to. Which, to be fair, paid off well for him, and the special was good. Plus, the Hurt/War Doctor speculation really did go on for a while, long while in fact. But, luck was also on his side.

    PS: And they're audio dramas, not audiobooks (those would be the Companion Chronicles, and even then they're not quite like that). :)

    Oh come on, Day of the Doctor was entirely predictable. Well, maybe not the Tom Baker bit, for those who didn't read Baker's comments before the broadcast/release.

    Thats surprisingly stubborn of you. It is such an obvious clue to Moffat intending to reunite Eccleston with Piper, the original NuWho Doctor-Companion pairing, for the 50th anniversary of the show. Why would the Bad Wolf apparition appear to any Doctor other than the Ninth, since he's the only one who actually interacted with it?

    Of course, it works as is, because at the end of the day the War Doctor is still the Doctor, but still, lets not get carried away from the intention of the thing.

    Which is why I said that Hurt's casting was inspired. Cause aside from that visual aspect, Moffat only did cursory changes to this incarnation of the Doctor, certainly elements of the First and maybe the Second - which is all stuff that he did after he knew for certain Eccleston wasn't gonna be in it. He himself admited he had two versions of the story in mind, and obviously the one we saw was the Eccleston-lite one.

    Really, casting the wrong actor for the War Doctor would've been quite harmful for the special, and Hurt's casting ensured his presence would maximize the difference between him and Eccleston's Ninth, and for all the reasons you mentioned.
     
  16. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    FWIW, I've been enjoying the debate between Christopher and Emperor Tiberius an awful lot. I've been flip-flopping between the two of you, like a spineless politician looking at opinion polls. My attitude to the special was initially that I'd wished it had been Eccleston, then would've liked McGann as a back-up and eventually came round to the idea of Hurt as a 'lost Doctor' (though I also kinda wish that Hurt had played the Silence and Richard E. Grant the War Doctor, so as to tie it in with Scream of the Shalka).

    You both argue each side of the coin extremely well. I'm probably a little more on Tiberius' side, in that I think the special would've worked fine with Eccleston or McGann as the third Doctor (McGann is now in his 50s and while he wouldn't have been quite as different from his successors as Hurt, he would've provided some contrast), but I'll probably swing back to Christopher's view after he next posts!
     
  17. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Problem there is, supposedly it was the opportunity to play the Doctor that drew John Hurt to being on the show.
     
  18. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ That makes sense, I guess, but it's all academic, so I can dream!
     
  19. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Random House has the first two chapters of the book up on their website.

    Unsurprisingly, the narrative voice refers to Hurt's Doctor as "the Doctor."
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Although it does initially pay lip service to the idea that he doesn't really go by that name anymore.

    Interesting excerpt. I love the description of what happens to the battle TARDISes when they're destroyed. And it's nice to find out what the Skaro Degradations were.
     

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