Steven Moffat talked to Doctor Who Magazine about what would have happened if Christopher Eccleston had returned for the 50th anniversary. Doctor Who TV shared some of the details:
It’s no secret that Christopher Eccleston was initially approached about returning for The Day of the Doctor. Of course he ended up turning it down.
In the latest DWM, Moffat confirms that Eccleston would have filled what became John Hurt’s role: “Yes, but I was pretty certain Chris wouldn’t do it, although he did agree to a couple of meetings. So instead we had the challenge and excitement of introducing a BBC audience to a brand new Doctor.”
Asked if it would have been Eccleston ending the Time War instead: “Yes, but do you know, I was always nervous of that one, because it doesn’t fit with [2005’s] Rose at all.
“[Eccleston] is a brand new Doctor in Rose, he’s absolutely, definitely new. It couldn’t have been is who pushed the button in the Time War, cos that’s a new man, very explicitly, in that episode. I also had trouble, I have to be honest, imagining it being Paul McGann’s Doctor.
“So all of this led me to the idea that if you’re going to sell to the Not-We audience a Doctor who essentially they haven’t seen before, then you have a freer hand than saying it has to be one of the ones you’ve already had. And it was predicated in getting an enormous star to be able to do it. We got John Hurt, so that was cool! Think of the fuss it’s created for us!”