We continue our look at the 50th Anniversary trailer and already the many options available to us present a way to tie everything together.
The 3rd Doctor
Here we have the 3rd Doctor in a sword fight with the Master around the console of the TARDIS. This is an exciting image and would be a great scene for an adventure. Just how did we get into this situation?
If the TARDIS is in-flight we can presume that this takes place post ‘The Three Doctors’. If it takes place before possibly the Doctor was working with the Master to try to escape his exile.
It could also be that if there is threat to time the two might have allied. The Master would have no interest in letting the universe be destroyed before he has had a chance to rule over it.
Possibly the Master was able to smuggle himself on board or land his own TARDIS inside the Doctor’s (as he did in ‘Logopolis’). Has he allied himself with whatever force is targeting the Doctor?
The sword fight could be a result of the Master betraying the Doctor but we’ve seen in ‘The Five Doctors’ that the 3rd Doctor doesn’t trust him. The Master could legitimately be trying to help the Doctor only for his old foe to draw his sword.
The fact that they are in the TARDIS means that they can be on their way from and to anywhere you want in your adventure. At any moment the 3rd Doctor’s TARDIS might appear near the PCs.
Another powerful image in this sequence is Sarah Jane watching the conflict in a crystal ball. Considering that she is accompanied by K9 it is likely that this is at a point in her life where she has already witnessed the 3rd Doctor transform into the 4th Doctor. This would therefore be a sweet reunion.
Yet she looks younger than she appeared in ‘K9 and Company’ so this could just another mix of two different eras. This could be a chance to have her meet the 4th Doctor before ‘Planet of The Spiders’.
Either sequence could allow Sarah Jane to pass along information to the 3rd Doctor about what his future incarnation looks like, explaining his reaction in ‘The Five Doctors’.
The crystal ball is another intriguing element. What is it and how is it showing the 3rd Doctor? We know that the Great Intelligence makes use of spheres and he could be using a device such as this to spy on his enemy, particularly as the 1st and 2nd Doctor suggest his involvement. Sarah Jane just happens to have found it.
Having such a crystal ball can be important when events are happening in different locations and time zones. If the PCs have it they can check in to find out what is happening with the others. It can also make a good transition, allowing the players to indicate when they want to change focus to another group of characters.
The 4th Doctor
How did he get here?
Could it be that he was thrown into space? That the TARDIS dematerialised around him while travelling through the void? Did the Time Ring send him here between ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’?
While it possible the 4th Doctor might be able to get himself out of this situation (possibly by using his scarf to snare the sonic screwdriver) it could be the goal of the PCs to save him. Maybe they use the same crystal ball that Sarah Jane has to learn that he is in trouble and rush to his rescue.
Just as the 4th Doctor became trapped in vortex during ‘The Five Doctors’ something similar might have happened here. It could be that this particular incarnation is very difficult to time scoop. If this is the case there might be something special about this version of the Doctor (possibly linked to the existence of the Curator).
The presence of K9 with Sarah Jane could indicate that the 4th Doctor has already met her (maybe reunited after ‘The Invisible Enemy’ from the Doctor’s perspective). He could have left K9 to protect her.
Linking to the larger plot if the Key to Time is an important part of what is happening it is the 4th Doctor that spent a whole season collecting it. It could be due to his experience with the artefact that someone took the extreme step of depositing him in deep space.
Once the 4th Doctor had assembled the Key to Time in ‘The Armageddon Factor’ he briefly frightened Romana by pretending he’d gone power mad. Is it possible that in that brief moment, with the power to control all of existence, that he did use the Key to Time?
This then might be the cause of the chaos. Either deliberately or by accident the Doctor destabilises time and endangers his other selves. It could be that he has a well meaning agenda but realised that his other incarnations would try to stop him (including the earlier 4th incarnation) and either tried to eliminate them or imprison them.
During ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ he does try to commit genocide. It is is not unimaginable that the frequently unstable 4th Doctor might try to eliminate his enemies again. This could cause them to join forces against him. This could explain the army of the Doctor’s various enemies.
This could present an interesting enemy for a multi-Doctor adventure, with all his incarnations battling a power mad 4th Doctor. If you don’t wish the Doctor to be truly evil you can always suggest that the Key to Time has corrupted him in some way.
Eventually everything could be reset, using the Key to Time. This could even be a function of the artefact, just as the Moment gave the War Doctor a vision of his future. Here the Key to Time shows the 4th Doctor what would happen if he misused its power, in only a few seconds.