I’ve just been rewatching a couple of S4 preview trailers. Thoughts (speculative/spoilery):
This one’s interesting. We’ve not heard or seen this footage and the way Donna talks about it suggests it’s after, rather than before, the events of S4 to me. How else would she know about the darkness and the creatues she’s seen?
There’s an interesting shift of tone about her script as well. Although she says the Doctor will return to save the universe, she’s speaking as an equal to him. “Next time, we’ll be ready…and then, we’ll be gone.” He looks like a darker, more alien version of the Doctor (some have even speculated Valeyard from the close-up).
So, given the hints about Donna being more than just human, I’ve a feeling she might not die, but remain as a permanent aspect of the Doctor’s existence. Maybe she’ll continue a human existance of some kind, but with a residual awareness of her travels and her destiny that would allow her to grow into something more, and of course be a flexible format for future spin-offs?
I could see this being the final scene of JE, particularly if the split-Doctor rumours turn out to be correct. One version of the Doctor goes into the other universe to live out a human lifespan with Rose, the other remains with Donna as a more epic, Time Lord character, the kind Stephen Moffatt seems to prefer writing about.
And, possibly, he’s the one that gets to meet River Song. It all fits rather well.
Another thing that strikes me about this particular solution, which in fact I rather like. It seems rather typical of a gay writer to me. We get hints of the Doctor having to reconcile a hidden softness and humanity with the expectations of him as a Time Lord, an inner battle he obviously finds deeply painful at times. The solution is for him to feminise and draw himself out of the mainstream into an alternative society with the partner of his choice. And this reverses a traditional fantasy trope, most recently seen in LOTR – the immortal woman becomes human to take a mortal partner. That’s a delightfully subversive happy ending.
We might even get an Alt!World of Rose telling their children a bedtime story about a wonderful man who travelled in a blue box, as a humanized Doctor at peace looks on lovingly from the bedroom doorway. After all, the Moff did it first. And in the end DW is for children, for their hopes, fears and fantasies. If RTD does not deliver a happy ending I’ll feel let down very badly, not least on their behalf, because every kid who’s seen Mum and Dad fight and break up, Dad struggle to integrate a new partner into family life and the longing to see your parents back together and in love, was running down that street with the Doctor and Rose. And I happen to be old-fashioned enough to believe that children need hope.