As Doctor Who fans prepare to face a new era in the sci-fi series’ history, it seems only yesterday that excitement abounded over David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor meeting Matt Smith’s Eleven for the 50th anniversary special. We’d heard that Christopher Eccleston was at least approached to return as Nine, though new storyboards revealed how the three modern doctors might have all come together.

Take this all with a grain of salt, as Doctor Who anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor” underwent quite a bit of re-tooling after Eccleston declined Steven Moffat’s invitation to return, but BleedingCool uncovered some of the original storyboards drawn up by Andrew Wildman, which offer a taste of the plot. John Hurt’s “The War Doctor” obviously served as a replacement, though it doesn’t seem as if Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler had a part in the original story, which also featured a young girl following Nine:

Says Wildman:

My run on the show spanned three Christmas Specials and most of Matt’s final season including his ‘regeneration’. That was me pretty much done other than the huge privilege of being asked to work – albeit in a small way – on the 50th Anniversary special. There were going to be three Doctors in this one. The current, 11th Doctor and the previous two. Ok, so it didn’t quite work out that way in the end as we all know. Contracts are an odd thing and in the end show runner and writer supreme, Steven Moffat, had to come up with something… slightly different. At my time of working on the show however it was the three ‘modern age’ Doctors and the current assistant, Clara.

Eccleston declining the 50th anniversary (his likeness still appeared in old footage) makes it unlikely we’d ever see his Doctor again for real, but might Doctor Who have been better served celebrating the three then-most recent stars?

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