Doctor Who was relaunched to much acclaim back in 2005 with Christopher Eccelston in the title role. As a long-time fan of the character—going back to the Tom Baker episodes that aired on my local public television station back in the early 1980s—I was eager with anticipation for the year or so it took the new series to make it stateside. As with many old fans, I was not disappointed with Eccelston’s performance or the new series as a whole. But of course, many of us were wondering what happened since we last saw the Doctor, as played by Paul McGann in the made-for-American-TV-movie from 1996. (And, yes, I was one of the fans glued to the screen during its initial broadcast.) Obviously, the Doctor had regenerated; that was to be expected. But he kept making haunting remarks about being the last of his kind and fighting in something called the Time War.
As it happened, I found myself out of work for several months not long after I finished watching this new season of Doctor Who. With some extra time on my hands, I took it upon myself to fill in the gaps by creating a mock trailer for this so-called Time War, using footage from the previous decades of material…
Obviously, I was not (and am not still) a skilled video editor. But I had this idea in my head about the Time War being kind of a sci-fi Dirty Dozen, but with all of the different Doctors up to that point as the soldiers. The ending would be something of a self-sacrifice with the Eighth Doctor becoming the Ninth. (You can barely make out Eccelston’s face in the aftermath of the explosion at the end.)
Of course, I had no idea at the time that the Time Lords survived and there was a previously unmentioned War Doctor involved. In fact, I was under the impression that we would never actually see the Time War at all, hence my desire to put together how I envisioned it.
Fanvids go back decades, but they weren’t as common because of the equipment necessary. Now that the technology has advanced sufficiently that editing can be done on just about any commercially available computer, a great many more people are using the tools to give life to their ideas that were perhaps never put on screen. Kirk and Spock having a love affair. A Justice League movie featuring Christopher Reeve, Adam West, and Lynda Carter. Matt Smith as the Doctor meeting Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. Some are more complex, featuring advanced digital compositing using high-definition source material put together by professionally trained video editors, while others are simply a series of scenes—sometimes with source watermarks still visible—cut together in a manner different than the original.
Regardless of the level of quality, however, the intent largely remains the same: as an outlet for fans to expand upon some of the ideas they’ve had surrounding their favorite shows and movies.