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Was Donna meant to die in the Stolen Earth/The Journey End? There were several cases of foreshadowing her death, and Dalek Cann explicitly said "One will die". She could easily have died from brain overclocking, and she was written out of the show (ok, wiki tells me she shows up for a cameo later, but that was probably not planned this far in advance). Yet, she lived. No companions of the 9th or 10th doctor actually died, either; I was thinking we were probably due for an important character death. Was this executive meddling or a last-minute decision? Or was it always meant to be a metaphorical "death"?

In other words, was there at some point plans to kill off Donna entirely that got changed into the current scenario instead?

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The 10th Doctor died. Maybe Dalek Cann foreshadowed that. –  Xantec Feb 20 '13 at 18:22
    
I took it as being the metaphorical death. The new, more mature, more adult Donna died, and she went back to being the boorish, petulant, superficial person she was before meeting The Doctor. –  eidylon Feb 20 '13 at 18:28
    
It seems to me that if somebody had decided that Donna shouldn't die, a change that would have required a substantial amount of extra scriptwriting and shooting, they would also have taken the trouble to fix any inconsistencies in the script elsewhere. –  DJClayworth Feb 20 '13 at 18:38
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3 Answers

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I always understood it to be metaphorical. After all, in The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, the Beast foretold Rose "dying" shortly before she was written out. She asked the Doctor what it mean and the Doctor tried to dismiss it as a lie, but he looked as though he didn't entirely believe it. And then he lost her. I assumed this was another similar case.

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The Donna-Doctor did die, in the sense that everything that made her what she was as a Time-Lord merged Donna was lost. So, while that does make it more metaphorical it could be applied either way.

He also said that one of the Children of Time would die. Perhaps it was foreshadowing the Master's death or the 10th Doctor's death later on. Although that's probably a big stretch.

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Yes, I've heard that explanation, but what I'm wondering is: was it always meant to be that metaphorical or did they plan to kill Donna off entirely and back away from that into this metaphorical "the Doctor-donna died" concept? –  Yamikuronue Feb 20 '13 at 18:32
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The doctor lost Donna forever after he erased the Doctor Donna. That could be seen as a metaphorical death. And may even be that Caan wasn't speaking the entire thing, just like he did with Davros (by not telling him of the fall of the Daleks)

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