With the release of the short prequel to the 50th Anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor, we find ourselves in the middle of the Last Great Time War and a few rumors are now fact. Or are they?
The thing we need to be careful of is anticipating just what Steven Moffat has up his sleeve. In the previous episode, The Name of the Doctor, Clara roots around in his timestream and she only glimpses John Hurt's incarnation as the Doctor comes to rescue her. She knows the other 11 faces of the Doctor, even so far as to have suggested which Tardis the Doctor should take in the first place, but she doesn't know Hurt's Doctor.
We are dealing with a Time War. That is not just a normal war, it involves time travel, time is changed and rewritten and what was once true may no longer be. We now know that the Eighth Doctor was caught up in the Time War, but refused to participate, instead he was up to his usually thing of rescuing others and getting into trouble himself. In the prequel (and if you haven't seen it yet, you really should before you read another word) we see the birth of Hurt's Doctor, now dubbed the War Doctor.
The question now is what happens from there. I feel confident that what we are going to see in The Day of the Doctor is the War Doctor's solution to the Time War. Everything will Burn, as the 9th Doctor has said. But what will the War Doctor's actions do to time itself. The Time War is locked. The Eighth Doctor went in, the Ninth Doctor came out, but what lies in between. Do we now have 13 (with the regeneration due in this year's Christmas Special) successive incarnations of the same Timelord, or is Hurt's War Doctor a side branch, lost in the Time War. Will it count toward his 13 total incarnations. And with the regeneration aided by the Sisterhood of Karn (not to mention River Song's regeneration energy), is the Doctor limited to 12 regenerations (giving us 13 incarnations). I feel sure we will get those answers in The Day of the Doctor, but I have no clue what those answers might be.
One thing to consider is how long this television series can last. It can't go on forever, as much as we all want it to. We have seen the Doctor's grave on Trenzalor. How many more incarnations lie between now and then. After the Day of the Doctor we might have a better clue. What better way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary than to answer this question, at least in part. That is assuming that the Doctor is a normal Timelord. He's always seemed to be, though hints were dropped here and there that he isn't.
I can't wait to see what Moffat has come up with for us.