It turns out maybe Christopher Eccleston skipping the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary, “The Day of the Doctor,” was for the better. It turns out Steven Moffat had big plans for him, should he have agreed to sign on.
According to “Doctor Who” magazine, care of DoctorWhoTV, Moffat says Eccleston would have essentially played the role John Hurt filled in the special, as the Doctor that ended the Time War. Moffat wasn’t expecting that to happen, though. “I was pretty certain Chris wouldn’t do it, although he did agree to a couple of meetings,” he says. “So instead we had the challenge and excitement of introducing a BBC audience to a brand new Doctor.”
In the end, Eccleston’s Doctor not being the one to end the war helps with the continuity of the show. “[Eccleston] is a brand new Doctor in ‘Rose,’ he’s absolutely, definitely new. It couldn’t have been him who pushed the button in the Time War, [because] that’s a new man, very explicitly, in that episode,” he explains.
Luckily Moffat and the show’s writers were able to work Hurt’s war Doctor into the show’s continuity without disrupting too much. Still, if only Eccleston would have agreed to do a day to shoot the regeneration scene.
Had Eccleston come back, allowing his Doctor to end the Time War, would that have worked?