'Doctor Who' 50th Anniversary: New Photos, Update on Christopher Eccleston, Ben Wheatley to Direct

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Though we've still yet to see the 'Doctor Who' 50th anniversary special trailer from Comic-Con 2013 find its way online, a few new goodies from the coming celebration have emerged. Not only have new photos surfaced of Matt Smith, David Tennant and guest star John Hurt in action, but we've also learned why Christopher Eccleston declined to appear, and what coming episodes acclaimed UK director Ben Wheatley will helm!

While DoctorWhoTV has a few new scans of an upcoming issue to feature photos from the November 23 anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor," we've learned that series showrunner Steven Moffat recently opened up to SFX about the attempt to get former star Christopher Eccleston ('Thor: The Dark World') to reprise his role as the ninth Doctor. Far from any of the rumors we might have heard, Eccleston's decline proved far more polite and reasonable, in spite of past controversies working with 'Doctor Who':

I had an initial contact with Chris and, in a very amiable and gentlemanly way, he didn't feel that he could come back to it. There wasn't any big fuss about it -- I had a couple of meetings with him, and he was perfectly pleasant, and indeed quite enthused about the show, but he just doesn't do that, it's just not him.

While that might prove a bitter pill to swallow for 'Doctor Who' fans, the future is all but assured for darkly comic UK director Ben Wheatley to helm the first two installments of series 8, the first to officially feature Peter Capaldi taking over the title role from actor Matt Smith.

“I am very excited and honored to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of 'Doctor Who.' I’ve been a fan since childhood (Tom Baker is my Doctor if you are asking),” Wheatley told ScreenDaily. “I’ve been watching the current run of 'Doctor Who' with my son and have discovered it all over again. The work that has been done is amazing. I’m really looking forward to working with Peter Capaldi and finding out where Steven Moffat is planning to take the new Doctor."

We'll keep you posted on the latest to emerge from 'Doctor Who''s forthcoming anniversary special, but what say you? Are you disappointed to learn why Eccleston ultimately opted not to return? What do you want to see from season 8 in 2014?

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