Steven Moffat Feels Guilty For Changing Doctor Who's Time War

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When Doctor Who came back in 2005, the show featured a tormented Doctor who was the last of his kind and the sole survivor of an unimaginable war that had ended with the Doctor committing double genocide. Should this have remained the show’s status quo?


Talking to Doctor Who Magazine, showrunner Steven Moffat says he still feels bad about the fact that his 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” changed the outcome of the Time War so that the Doctor no longer wiped out the Time Lords as well as the Daleks. (The Daleks, of course, came back in any case.) Moffat says:

The Day of the Doctor was a success. Record ratings, awards, rave reviews. By any measure, it did alright. But two years later, I’m still haunted by the guilt.

I know some of you, including friends of mine, were upset that we reversed the outcome of the Time War. My defence, however feeble, is that given the chance, the Doctor would do exactly that. And it was his birthday, how could I deny him that chance? What could define him more? This man who always finds another way? And there he is, at every moment of his life, proving to himself – literally – that there is always a better path.

Ah, well. My heart was in the right place, at least. But in this job you always need two!

I’m of two minds about this — on the one hand, the Time War was one of the neatest things Russell T. Davies brought to the show, and the notion of the Doctor having crossed a massive line that he could never uncross made for some really powerful storytelling. I liked that there was something with weight and consequences, that the Doctor couldn’t just “timey wimey” away.

On the other hand, change is part of the show’s DNA. The real question is whether some future showrunner will be able to approach Who with a blank slate and create a version that isn’t bogged down in continuity at all. [via DoctorWhoTV]

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I know my opinion is a rare one among those who started with the 2005 revival (as I did), but I think that while the Time War was initially a neat concept it’s one that has long outlived its usefulness (and which had already grown ridiculous by the end of Tennat’s run). That, plus I think the idea of the Doctor being the only Time Lord around makes him too special. I like the idea that even though he’s amazing and powerful by human standards that he’s just kind of another of a weird eccentric by the standards of his own species... which doesn’t mean anything if his species doesn’t exist.