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The Night of the Doctor – Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Theory Continued (Part 5)

The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann). Photo: BBC
The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann).
Photo: BBC

Today the BBC premiered the seven-minute mini Doctor Who episode called “The Night of the Doctor” which works as a prequel to the 50th anniversary premiering next week.

So for today’s blog I thought it would be the perfect time to analyze said minisode to see if and/or how it may connect to our Impossible Theory for the 50th Anniversary. Autumn and I have been formulating this theory for months and months, and while she has written out the first four parts, I thought I’d take over and write part 5 since we’ve actually come up with the theory together.

Before you read on, if you haven’t actually read our theory yet, make sure you read parts 1-4 first. Everything I’m about to say will make a lot more sense.





The Night of the Doctor

And now that you’ve finished reading the theories, make sure to watch (or re-watch) the mini prequel episode before continuing.

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Doctor Who?

After all of the speculation about who is going to be in the 50th anniversary episode, one actor claiming to not be a part was Eighth Doctor Paul McGann. It turns out he wasn’t lying….He just wasn’t telling the full truth. While he won’t (unless we see him in some sort of flashback) be in the episode, he is in fact in the prequel mini episode.

The episode begins with a girl, Cass, sending out a distress signal because her ship is crashing. But there’s no one to help her. Her ship tries to diagnose the problem as if she’s in need of a Doctor. And then out of nowhere, we hear a voice. But who’s voice?

Out of the shadows appears the Eighth Doctor as played by Paul McGann.

The Eighth Doctor Returns. Photo: BBC
The Eighth Doctor Returns.
Photo: BBC

“I’m a Doctor, but probably not the one you’re expecting.”

“I’m a Doctor, but probably not the one you’re expecting.”

His quote perhaps a reflection or even a reaction of many people watching. We knew from spoilers that one Doctor between David Tennant, Matt Smith and John Hurt would be in the episode. But another? I don’t know about anyone else, but was I was very excited he made a surprise appearance, even if the speculation for said appearance has been going around. That said, to be honest, it made me sad we don’t get at least a whole season of him as the Doctor because he’s really very good. He needed more time than just a movie, some audio episodes and a minisode. But such is life!

As the episode continues, it seems as if Cass is going to be a new companion. She wants to see the universe, she’s plucky and intelligent, and not to mention the Doctor has just swooped in to save the day. But trouble is afoot for the Doctor and his new “maybe” companion. She knows exactly who Time Lords are and what a TARDIS is. Once she discovers he’s a Time Lord she refuses to jump ship onto his which would save her. Why? Simply because he’s a Time Lord and she hates them. This doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture of Time Lords and only confirms what the 10th Doctor in the “End of Time” said about what they had become. The Doctor pleads with her: “I’m not part of the war. I swear to you, I never was… I’m a Time Lord, but I’m one of the nice ones. Look on the bright side, I’m not a Dalek.”

“I’m not part of the war. I swear to you, I never was… I’m a Time Lord, but I’m one of the nice ones. Look on the bright side, I’m not a Dalek.”

He pleads with Cass to let him save her. Photo: BBC
He pleads with Cass to let him save her.
Photo: BBC

But according to her, who can tell the difference anymore? She locks herself inside her crashing ship so the Doctor can’t help her. She’s thrilled that they will die together. She has that much hatred for Time Lords.

Cass locks herself in the crashing ship. Photo: BBC
Cass locks herself in the crashing ship.
Photo: BBC

The Doctor then crashes into a mysterious place. And he dies! He’s returned to Karn, another surprise (even if theorized based on some promotional images). The Sisterhood of Karn (a group last seen in Classic Who as well as some audio adventures) restores the Doctor back to life, but it’s only a temporary solution. The leader informs him that he only has four minutes to live.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, Moffat gives a quick summary in the dialogue to fill in the missing pieces. Basically they are the “keepers of the flame,” of “eternal life.” They bring him back to life for one purpose: To have him regenerate in an attempt to stop the Time War.

“Our elixir can trigger your regeneration. Bring you back. Time Lord Science is elevated here on Karn. The change doesn’t have to be random…The war between the Daleks and the Time Lords threatens all of reality. You are the only hope left.”

The Eighth Doctor appears kind, heroic, peaceful… He’s not a soldier. He’s a healer. He’s good. “Not my war. I will have no part of it,” he emphasizes. He longs to remain neutral, to ignore the war. He helps where he can but he will not fight. But as the leader points out, he can’t ignore it forever. Whether or not he wants to be, he IS a part of the war. If he does nothing, how many will die?

“The Universe stands on the brink. Will you let it fall?” She questions. Seeing the dead body of the girl he couldn’t save (simply because of her hatred for Time Lords and this War) he finally decides to regenerate. But into what? Into who?

The leader of the Sisterhood of the Karn brings the Doctor the elixir to help him regenerate. Photo: BBC
The leader of the Sisterhood of the Karn brings the Doctor the elixir to help him regenerate.
Photo: BBC

“Warrior…I don’t suppose there’s any need for a Doctor anymore. Make me a warrior now.” He drinks the elixir saying, “Physician heal thyself.”

The 8th Doctor regenerates. Photo: BBC
The 8th Doctor regenerates.
Photo: BBC

The episode ends with a dramatic regeneration. The Eighth Doctor regenerates into a new Doctor: the War Doctor. And then you hear the voice of this new Doctor… “Doctor no more.”

John Hurt’s Doctor

But what does all this mean? First of all, let’s look at the Eighth Doctor and his regeneration. After a lot of speculation, John Hurt’s Doctor is who many of us thought he would be: AKA the Doctor between Eight and Nine. In other words, this will be the Doctor who ends the Time War. Also, John Hurt’s quote from the trailer now makes more sense, “Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.” In relation to the Sisterhood of Karn (and the Sacred Flame) in context, this quote has greater meaning. So what does this mean in relation to our impossible (now very possible) theory?

The Time War

We’ve been speculating for a long time that the special would be about the Time War. At this point that fact is impossible to ignore. The special WILL be about the Time War in some capacity. We now know John Hurt’s Doctor is literally connected to it. He was regenerated into a Warrior so he could end the war.

But there is one surprising part to all of this. John Hurt’s Doctor is not introduced as he is now (as we see in the trailers with grey hair), but rather as he was with dark hair. He’s a young warrior, or at least younger. The fact that he’s young connects back AGAIN to our ideas of “A Christmas Carol.”

The War Doctor (John Hurt). Photo: BBC
The War Doctor (John Hurt).
Photo: BBC

Let’s take a look at the Official Synopsis once more:

“In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London’s National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. All of reality is at stake as the Doctor’s own dangerous past comes back to haunt him.”

The ancient battle can now be confirmed to be the Time War as we saw in this minisode which confirms our earlier speculation. Also, the Doctor’s dangerous past more than likely will be about John Hurt’s Doctor. As he ages, will we see the aged War Doctor being contemplative about his past, present and future like Scrooge and Kazran? The words are very specific in the synopsis but the words “past” and “haunt” stand out if one considers how those words connect to Dickens’s story, or even to Moffat’s own Christmas story.

This theme of “A Christmas Carol” keeps popping up and it will be interesting to see how the structure of the story is used when the special airs. What may have been “impossible” in our earlier theories seems to be very close to the truth now.

Rose Tyler’s Place in All of This

Rose Tyler in the 50th Anniversary Photo: BBC
Rose Tyler in the 50th Anniversary
Photo: BBC

In the trailer, Rose almost always appears alone or with the War Doctor. Why? Now that we know what story the War Doctor is connected to, we can theorize a bit more. The synopsis has three parts which then intersect at some point.

  1. Something terrible is awakening in London’s National Gallery: This will be Eleven and Clara’s story, most likely connected to the Zygons and the Brigadier’s daughter. We see Eleven and Clara looking at paintings in the trailer, as well as the short clip which confirms this to be their story.
  2. A murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England. This story will be Ten’s adventure with Queen Elizabeth. We know they married and that he was disgusted by it. We also know that later she wants his head chopped off. Maybe we’ll learn exactly why, other than the bad marriage he refers to. (Maybe she’ll see him run off with Rose, haha!)
  3. The ancient battle. This will be the Time War and John Hurt’s story and the ending of the Time War. The other two Doctors have some sort of companion with them. Eleven has Clara while Ten has Elizabeth. So what about the War Doctor? That’s where Rose comes in.

I have a few theories as to how this will work. But before I can theorize how Rose is in this story at all, I want to focus on the actual story and what could be going on.

Theory One: All Three Doctors End the Time War Together

In this theory, Rose will find a way to bring all three doctors together (or they will find their own way and Rose somehow enters to help) so they can end the Time War and put the Time Lock in place because reality is falling apart. She gets to the War Doctor first and then guides him to the others. Together they will have to face their darkest day.

Three different Doctors (Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt) Photo: BBC
Three different Doctors (Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt)
Photo: BBC

Theory Two: All Three Doctors End a New War Together

This particular theory plays on the idea that three different stories will intersect to create a new one, a fourth story. What three Doctors would be needed to end another war similar to the Time War? First of all, you would definitely want the War Doctor. So Rose (or something or someone) brings all three of them out of their own individual stories (or somehow they connect) to fight a new battle.

I think there’s a clue in these episode names. One is “The Night of the Doctor” which refers to the minisode and the 8th Doctor’s regeneration into the War Doctor. The special is called “The Day of the Doctor” which we’ve already discussed in detail and could connect to a few different things (including the end of the Time War by his own hand). But what if there’s still yet more to it? Could the night refer to the past, the Time War and the Day actually refer to the future, as in a future war? Just something to point out. (Though it’s still more likely that “Night” refers to the “eve” of the battle and the “Day” will actually be the day of his people’s destruction).

Which brings us back to Rose. If Rose is in a parallel universe with the human Doctor how is she in this story? So let’s explore the possibilities.

  1. Is Rose an older Rose Tyler from the parallel universe who has somehow re-entered this universe and timeline thanks to the collapsing reality? Perhaps with the help of the human Timelord and/or a vortex manipulator?
  2. Is she Bad Wolf?
  3. Is she Rose Tyler from a past timeline and she ultimately forgets this adventure?
  4. Is there more than one Rose Tyler in this story? (Bad Wolf and present day Rose for instance…)

In our past posts on our theories, we cover Bad Wolf and Rose pretty extensively, so I don’t want to repeat too much of it. But there are new ideas or extensions of past ideas I want to explore. The one I find to be the most compelling is the first possibility mixed with a little bit of the second.

Before, we mentioned that it could be Bad Wolf from “Parting of the Ways” who brings a future Rose back into the Time War. I still think this is possible. It makes sense for Rose to connect with the War Doctor because Rose as a character has always been the companion connected to the Doctor in relation to the Time War. Right after he regenerates from the Time War, he meets Rose who helps make him better. Later, when the Human Doctor kills all of the Daleks AGAIN, she leaves with that Doctor to comfort and make him better. Perhaps the War Doctor is in need of Rose Tyler and Bad Wolf knew it.

Rose with The War Doctor Photo: BBC
Rose with The War Doctor
Photo: BBC

That said it’s also very possible that the walls are again collapsing because reality is falling apart. (Could part of this reason be due to the fact that since “Time Lord Victorious” made his appearance he has repeatedly been breaking his own rules, which according to himself in the past cause reality to break apart? Look at how much he even breaks his own rules in “A Christmas Carol” even.) If that’s the case, it’s possible that Rose will enter the Time War OR the future war in this way.

The biggest clue is her outfit. One, she’s not wearing the red sweater that defines her as Bad Wolf. She’s wearing a stylish version of a war-torn, ripped outfit with messy hair. This also supports the idea that either she will be connected to this ancient battle, the third story, OR she will be from a future war.

Rose Tyler's outfit in the 50th Anniversary Special. Photo: BBC
Rose Tyler’s outfit in the 50th Anniversary Special.
Photo: BBC

Also, what about that contraption on her wrist as seen in the trailer? Is that a vortex manipulator? That actually makes sense as to how she’s able to pop around at will in the episode. Not to mention in different times. Most of the time her eyes look quite normal and aren’t lit up like Bad Wolf, so if she’s only human without any kind of superpowers she will need something like a Vortex Manipulator. Not only that, we know Moffat LOVES to use vortex manipulators. He used them with Captain Jack Harkness, with River Song, etc…Many times they have been used as major tools in his stories. It’s logical to think he would use one again.

Is that a vortex manipulator? Photo: BBC
Is that a vortex manipulator?
Photo: BBC

That begs the question though…if Rose Tyler has a vortex manipulator, how did she get one? We know they come from Time Agents. Perhaps she infiltrated the Time Agency to get one, or maybe she’s using Jack’s. It’s hard to say. But if that is a manipulator on her wrist, she must have gotten it in some way or another.

The Glowing Eyes

Will Rose become Bad Wolf once more? Photo: BBC
Will Rose become Bad Wolf once more?
Photo: BBC

One can’t ignore that she looks like Bad Wolf here. She just does. Perhaps to help end the war (whatever war that will turn out to be) she will need to once again become Bad Wolf. We already discussed this theory before, so I just want to say that I don’t think this will be Bad Wolf from “Parting of the Ways” in this image. Again, I think it’s simply because her outfit doesn’t match it. But I suppose it’s always possible that Rose will age like Amy in “The Girl Who Waited” and they will go back in time, and the other version of herself in the red sweater will return as she dies because both of them can’t exist at the same time. That would be very Moffat, so never say never!

Putting it All Together

Based on this new minisode that confirms the Time War and also confirms that John Hurt’s Doctor is the one between Eight and Nine and the fact that Rose’s scenes connect to John Hurt in the trailer, I theorize that Rose Tyler (not Bad Wolf) will once again connect to the Time War and/or a future war and she will once again become Bad Wolf (though it’s possible past Bad Wolf will also play a part). Not only that, because of the light colors of her outfit, she could symbolize the ghosts who guide Scrooge, now the Doctors. Another question rises then. Will she die in battle as “Satan” predicted all those years ago?

Some Extra, Crazy, Impossible Theories to Throw Out There

With the somewhat surprise appearance of Paul McGann, that begs the question. What other lies have been told? And what other surprises are in store? Is it possible we’ll see the War Doctor regenerate into Nine with Christopher Eccleston making a cameo appearance? Or what about other Doctors showing up or even other characters? At this point anything is possible.

Rose (Billie Piper) and the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) in season 1. Photo: BBC
Rose (Billie Piper) and the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) in season 1.
Photo: BBC

There’s one theory about Rose that we haven’t talked about as of yet. And that connects to how her story in the special begins. This one seems too impossible to actually believe, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway. Rose Tyler is the one companion who changed it all. Love her. Hate her. Whatever the case may be for you, her character changed the show and its direction. Season one was her story. She was the protagonist. It was through her eyes we meet the Doctor. Moffat has said that he’s a fan of this change and believes that Rose is actually “iconic.” Since Rose is the character who introduced new fans to Doctor Who, what if she becomes the companion who connects us to the story of the 50th anniversary special?

Like Rose, the special could start with the normal life of Rose Tyler as it is now, whether it’s peaceful, happy or frightening I don’t know. So like any good blockbuster film or quest we see where she is before she’s pulled into the story. She’s called to action if you will. So basically this particular, extra theory is that Rose will be the first character we see in the anniversary special as a way to pay homage to how the series returned and her important role in that return of Doctor Who.

My other “out there” theory is one story that I would be shocked to see in the 50th Anniversary, even though in my opinion it would make perfect sense. Honestly it’s so impossible it’s more of a wish theory than anything else and it’s all about Captain Jack.

Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) Photo: BBC
Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
Photo: BBC

Captain Jack Harkness is a character with many mysteries, many of which have been solved on Doctor Who and Torchwood. But there’s one that remains a mystery. And it’s the mystery introduced in “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” written by Moffat. Why does Jack have two missing years of his life? And what was he doing that caused him to forget? I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see those two years connect to the Time War or even the theorized future war? Just imagine him with his vortex manipulator on fighting the Daleks (didn’t he recognize them in season one?), he crosses paths with Rose Tyler in the war (also supporting her torn outfit), but somehow his memory is lost. It would make sense if by remembering it would create a paradox so the Doctor or “Bad Wolf” even removes his memories. Jack has always been impossible and that impossibility has always come from Bad Wolf.

Well whatever the case, we only have a little more than a week for the 50th Anniversary Special to air! It’s been fun theorizing, so we’ll see how possible our impossible theories turn out to be.


UPDATE: Check out the FINAL part  HERE along with also an introduction to our new Column: Doctor Who Diaries.


What are your theories for the 50th Anniversary Episode? Do think our ideas are possible? Sound off below…



Check out the other Doctor Who Diaries, a regular blog feature.

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By on November 14th, 2013

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a writer and digital publisher full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

More posts by this author.

4 thoughts on “The Night of the Doctor – Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Theory Continued (Part 5)”

  1. I’ve been wondering the exact same thing about the prediction “Satan” made about Rose dying in battle. And then there is also the prediction of Dalek Caan who said that “one will still die” referring to the Doctor’s “precious children of time” (referring to his companions). Everyone always assumed it was Donna’s metaphorical “death”, but I wondered if it could also be a prediction of Rose. Though if it’s true, that makes me VERY sad!!! 🙁

    Also, it’s possible that Moffat could be toying with us with the glowing Rose eyes. It could very well just be a reflection of an explosion in her eyes. If you watch the trailer very carefully, you can see that at the beginning of that scene her eyes aren’t as bright, and then they get brighter. Kind of like an explosion. Plus her eyes also had more of a glowiness around them in The Parting of the Ways. This new picture with her eyes glowing doesn’t look the same.

    • I hope the Satan prediction is wrong…but it would be an interesting way to tie the show into the past.

      And, I suppose it is possible with an explosion but I doubt it considering that the words “Bad Wolf” are displayed in the official poster. Bad Wolf has to come into play somehow or why else include it? It is possible that Rose as Bad Wolf will be different than the Bad Wolf from before and that is why the eyes look different. Perhaps Bad Wolf never left Rose and there is a small part left that has remained dormant until now. We could go back to “Tooth and Claw” when the werewolf told Rose there was something of the wolf about her. That would make sense too. Personally, I can’t wait to see how it plays out!


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