By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol
11:42 AM CST, November 22, 2013
The Eighth Doctor finally gets his regeneration scene in Steven Moffat's "Doctor Who" minisode, "The Night of the Doctor"--thus ending a 17-year wait for a complete set of regeneration scenes.
The minisode offers tantalizing clues about the upcoming 50th anniversary special and answers the question of who John Hurt is playing in "The Day of the Doctor." He's the War Doctor, who may not be a Doctor at all. Unfortunately, Doctor No. 9 Christopher Eccleston declined to be part of the minisode.
Paul McGann, who played No. 8 only once in the 1996 "Doctor Who" TV movie, regenerates into a younger version of Hurt's War Doctor in the minisode, which you can watch above.
Update with anniversary special spoilers: In "The Day of the Doctor," we get to see the War Doctor begin his regeneration (shown below), presumably into Christopher Eccleston's (formerly) Ninth Doctor, courtesy of Mr. Doctor Who UK on Youtube.
Here's the description from BBC about the minisode, which helps bridge the gap between No.s 8 and 9 but also fills us in on the Time War and other "Doctor Who" lore.
On the eve of his most terrible battle, the Time Lord is faced with a choice that will change the course of his life. The darkest of days are about to begin.
During the Time War, the Eighth Doctor attempts to rescue a pilot, Cass, whose spacecraft is crashing into the planet Karn. When Cass realises that the Doctor is a Time Lord, she refuses his aid, ignoring his claims that he has never taken part in the devastating Time War. The Doctor refuses to abandon Cass. Both are killed when the ship crashes.
On the planet, the Doctor is taken in by the Sisterhood of Karn, who revive him temporarily; Cass, however, is beyond their help. The Sisterhood offer the Doctor a selection of potions which, if consumed before he expires, will regenerate him into a form of his choice. They convince the Doctor that he must take action and end the Time War.
To complete the set of regenerations, I've included a compilation video Brian Rimmer posted on his YouTube page a few years ago. I used this version because the Regeneration Playlist on the Doctor Who Youtube site doesn't allow U.S. folks to see the Seventh Doctor's regeneration into No. 8—McGann. So thanks Brian!
Tune in this December for Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith's regeneration into No. 12, Peter Capaldi in this year's Christmas special.
Before that, BBC America will show "The Day of the Doctor" as part of a global simulcast at 1:50 p.m. CST Nov. 23. Check the related items to the left of this post for 50th anniversary galleries and more. Click here for a schedule of other "Doctor Who" programming this week.
Doctor Who regenerations
The War Doctor regenerates
Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC