It’s been a good six months since The Day of the Doctor, since John Hurt put his stamp on Doctor Who as the so-called “War Doctor,” the incarnation of the time lord who fought in the Time War, previously unknown and slotted in between Paul McGann’s Eight and Christopher Eccleston’s Nine. It was a clever twist on the Who mythology and set Moffat up for the even bigger changes that came in the Time of the Doctor Christmas special. But we only saw a small sliver of the War Doctor’s life, and based on his initial appearance in the Night of the Doctor webisode, it was a long life even by the Doctor’s standards. It stands to reason there’s a lot of his story left to be told. If you were hoping to learn some of those stories, mark your calendar for July, and the release of Doctor Who: Engines of War.
Author George Mann recently teased what to expect from Engines of War in Doctor Who Magazine: “A new companion! Calculating Time Lords! New Dalek paradigms! It’s a war story, at its heart, set against the backdrop of great turmoil and chaos.” Mann says that the War Doctor will be put through the wringer, and that the epic backdrop will service a very personal story, one that will explore how he came to be the weary War Doctor who found redemption — albeit exasperating redemption — with a pair of his timey-wimey future selves. (You could say it was the difference between “Night” and “Day”…)
Engines of War will get a hardcover release on July 31, 2014, although it doesn’t look like it has an American release scheduled as of yet, or at least it’s not showing up on Amazon at the moment. You can, of course, pre-order it on Amazon.co.uk. Here’s the official synopsis — the key words are “Battle TARDISes”:
‘The death of billions is as nothing to us Doctor, if it helps defeat the Daleks.’
The Great Time War has raged for centuries, ravaging the universe. Scores of human colony planets are now overrun by Dalek occupation forces. A weary, angry Doctor leads a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against the Dalek stronghold but in the midst of the carnage, the Doctor’s TARDIS crashes to a planet below: Moldox.
As the Doctor is trapped in an apocalyptic landscape, Dalek patrols roam amongst the wreckage, rounding up the remaining civilians. But why haven’t the Daleks simply killed the humans?
Searching for answers the Doctor meets ‘Cinder’, a young Dalek hunter. Their struggles to discover the Dalek plan take them from the ruins of Moldox to the halls of Gallifrey, and set in motion a chain of events that will change everything. And everyone.
An epic novel of the Great Time War featuring the War Doctor as played by John Hurt.
Seriously, though: Battle TARDISes.
Now that we’ve seen the beginning and the end of the War Doctor’s story, I’d be very surprised if the rest of his life doesn’t continue to be fleshed out in books and comics and radio dramas and so forth. That’s certainly been the case for all the other Doctors, and the War Doctor is in the same boat as McGann’s Eighth Doctor: there’s been very little revealed about him on screen, so there’s plenty of room to explore.