“And now it’s time for one last bow, like all your other selves. Eleven’s hour is over now, the clock is striking Twelve’s.” The trailer for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, The Time of the Doctor, is here, and it’s packed full of baddies and foreboding. For seasons now the Doctor’s been warned that his end will come on the planet Trenzalore, and that there’s nothing he can do about it. Now it seems his enemies are gathering, and the Doctor’s appointment with fate is looking awfully damn nigh.
If nothing else, it looks like the Eleventh Doctor will be going out in style, taking on an army of Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, and Silence, not to mention some human-looking military forces seemingly led by the mysterious woman known as Tasha Lem (Orla Brady). But in case anyone was worried that Eleven might shy away from the end of his run, he’s instead digging his heels in and declaring, “If you want my life, come and get it!”
In case you’ve missed it, here’s the official synopsis for The Time of the Doctor, which premieres on Christmas Day:
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.
SPOILERS AND SPECULATION BELOW!
Of course, all this hint of finality is undercut by the knowledge that Peter Capaldi is already lined up as the next Doctor, and Matt Smith will regenerate into him at the end of Time.
But the scuttlebutt has it that this will be a different situation than the Doctor’s standard change of face. In fact, showrunner Steven Moffat had been hinting that we’d miscounted the Doctor’s regenerations over the years, and when you factor in the addition of John Hurt’s War Doctor, well, it seems the Doctor’s number is up. Moffat recently told Radio Times:
We’ll find out [in the Christmas special] that Matt Smith is actually the 13th Doctor. Although everyone knows that the Doctor can only regenerate 12 times. That 12 times limit is a central part of Doctor Who mythology — and science fiction is all about rules, right? So if the Doctor can never change again, what’s Peter Capaldi doing in the Christmas Special?
That’d all be very ominous except it basically just means Moffat is indeed doing what many had speculated he was lining up for a while now — addressing the regeneration limit head on, finding a clever way around it, and thus securing the future of the show for another 12-plus Doctors. It should be fun.
In the mean time, you can check out a screencap gallery from the trailer below.