When you are a lead actor of a show, it’s courteous to give plenty of notice when you intend to leave. Plenty of notice. Matt Smith who played the Eleventh Doctor Who, grew weary of role and wished to move on. Understandable. An actor only has seven years to create a brand and it’s unwise to establish just one personae. As adorable as his Doctor is, instinct told Smith it was time to go before he jumped the shark. However, a year’s notice wasn’t enough to pull off what Moffat had in mind for a regeneration finale. At least I don’t think so.
The end of the Eleventh’s spell was supposed to play out over an array of three episodes with a spectacular 50th anniversary special in-between. Now the Name of the Doctor and Day of the Doctor were fine, but the Time of the Doctor was ant–climactic. I was expecting Trenzalore to be an advanced civilization that wouldn’t accept the Doctor’s help and residency given his reputation, not a Dicken’s Faire leveled by molotov cocktails. I suspect that there wasn’t enough time to build and model a proper set for advanced civilization, so the crew did the best they could.
I think Moffat had something really grad in mind. but ran out of time. A two-part story would’ve been grand. Moffat could have written a pay off on the Minotaur’s poem of the Ancient Creature and River’s scolding monologue of the fear people have of the Doctor, no matter how many civilizations he saved. Wherever the Doctor goes, even when he’s on vacation, there is trouble. He’s a portent for trouble. Poor guy.
I envision a story of the Doctor’s frustration and pain at being a bad omen. Everyone usually hugs the Doctor even after he drags them to Hel and back. Not this time and it’s not really his fault. The Tardis takes him to where he needs to be, not ever to where he wants to go, so he rarely gets a rest to prove himself otherwise. What’s more is that he relishes in the adventure of conflict. Rory said, in a moment of altruism ( laced with his usual “I wanna stay home” whining) that the Doctor by example of his prowess, asks too much of people. Or rather people do too much at their own risk to impress him. Instead on epic, what we have is Doctor Geppetto repairing toys for the local children of a populace who has no idea who he is or what he’s done before, which creates a disconnect in the story arc of the series. Thus killing the Minotaur and River’s words of warning.
Death would be a gift for the Doctor. I would’ve hated for the franchise to end, but it would’ve been justified given the story. So, now the Lonely God/Ancient Creature is 2000 years old with a new generation cycle. What kind of person is he now?
At the table reading, Matt fell apart upon reciting the eulogy for his regeneration. He commented in interviews that he didn’t know what came over him. I can guess.
#1 The eulogy is a love letter from Moffat for the effort the two poured into the Eleventh and they’ll always remember him.
#2 The regeneration story could’ve been ten times better if Matt didn’t leave so soon. For all that effort winning over the skeptics and gaining a new generation of fans, they shoot themselves in the foot with a comprised ending to a wonderful spell of the Doctor.
It’s alright Matt and Moffat. As an industry veteran of twenty years, I know how fast an actor has to work now to create himself as a brand ( as I mentioned before) and advance in the industry. If an artist doesn’t become a director in after seven years, he or she may find themselves ostracized from the industry. It happened to me before I got wise and Matt knows like the Doctor, he has to change and become another person. Good luck with your next personae, Matt and do keep us Yanks in who have fallen in love with you in touch.