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According to How did Clara end up on Gallifrey?, it’s just the Time War that is time locked. So why does Eccelston's Doctor tell Rose:

My whole planet is gone. My people, my family, all gone. Don't you think I want to go back and save them?

Why hasn't he ever gone back to before the war?

All the other Doctors basically see Gallifrey as gone from them, and when you say the Doctor cannot go back on his own timeline, there will have been plenty of time periods he could go to; maybe to a time before they could regenerate, or maybe when Time Lords were using Tardises — as in "The Doctor's Wife" she says to Matt Smith:

I was already a museum piece when I stole you

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    I'm pretty sure you meant to link to this question instead of the one you did – Jason Baker Oct 27 '15 at 19:46
  • Yes, the "How did Clara end up on Gallifrey?" link in daniel's question doesn't actually deal with the Time War or the time lock at all, but the similar-sounding question Jason links to, "How was Clara able to visit the Doctor as a child if Gallifrey is on lockdown?", does deal with both. Note however that some of the answers to the latter question point out that we don't actually know for sure the barn seen in Day of the Doctor and Listen was actually located on Gallifrey. – Hypnosifl Oct 27 '15 at 21:49
  • I'd assumed it was a fixed point in time, but I'm by no means a Doctor Who expert so maybe it's something else. See: tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Fixed_point_in_time – Dan Smolinske Nov 3 '15 at 22:46
  • "or maybe when Time Lords were using Tardises..." The Time Lords didn't stop using TARDISes. It's just that this particular TARDIS was of an obsolete model when One stole it/her. – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 4 '15 at 2:41
  • Related (possible duplicate?) scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/43133/… – Rand al'Thor Feb 8 '17 at 14:20
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One does not simply fly into Gallifrey.

In "The Day of the Doctor", when the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors arrived in the barn where the War Doctor was about to detonate the moment, this exchange happened:

TENTH DOCTOR: These events should be time-locked. We shouldn't even be here.

ELEVENTH DOCTOR: So something let us through.

MOMENT ROSE: You clever boys.

This dialoge indicates that Gallifrey is not normally reachable due to the timelock. In "Day of the Doctor" they were able to reach it due to the Moment doing something not explained (probably a timey-wimey thing) in order to let them through.

Now, AFTER the events of Day of The Doctor, Gallifrey simply is in another universe, unreachable for the Doctor (or anyone) so far. But it's my understanding, that in the past the time lock is still in place.

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Simply put - he can't, not really. The was was a TIME war, afterall. The Daleks attacked Gallifrey at many different points in it's timeline, and the entire planet (and it's timeline) are thus pulled into the temporal lock.

This is also presumably the case for the Daleks and their homeworld - it is also unreachable and time locked, otherwise the various Daleks we've seen in NuWho would have been able to come from there instead of the increasingly silly ways they've shown up.

  • Quibble with your second paragraph: we've been to Skaro in the new series. The opening scene of "Asylum of the Daleks" (where the Doctor gets kidnapped by the human-Dalek-thing) takes place there – Jason Baker Oct 27 '15 at 19:03
  • While you have a point about the "time" bit of the time war (i.e. it lasted forever, really), the question also has a big point (well, before the edit anyway, now it's just a link to another question) about Clara being able to go back to Gallifrey "before" the time war. Multiple times too. So how do we reconcile that? – Mr Lister Oct 27 '15 at 19:14
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    @MrLister: according to the other question, and an episode summary at tardis.wikia.com Clara "went back" by being born there after she entered the Doctor's time stream. It wouldn't be surprising if that kind of time travel has completely different mechanics to that of the TARDIS. Perhaps she's entering the Doctor's subjective past rather than the objective past as it currently exists, for example. – Harry Johnston Oct 27 '15 at 20:32
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    @Jason Baker - It's not clear that the planet we see throughout most of The Magician's Apprentice is actually the original Skaro, as opposed to a recreation--from the transcript, Missy has the line "They've built it again. They've brought it back. No, no. No!" But presumably the scene where the Doctor meets Davros as a boy took place on the original Skaro, before the Time War. – Hypnosifl Oct 27 '15 at 21:45
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    @Jason Baker - Good point. The version of Skaro in that episode seemed to be ruined and abandoned--maybe from a point in history after the Time War and the time lock? And maybe Missy just meant they'd rebuilt the city? – Hypnosifl Oct 27 '15 at 22:22
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Indeed.

As tilley31 says, The Great Time War is indeed time locked and the only reason they were able to be there for the events in "The Day of the Doctor" is because The Moment allowed so. Through the works of very timey-wimey stuff we are not explained – nor could possibly begin to comprehend if we were.

From a linear point of view, the time AFTER The Time War is no longer locked but the resulting lost Gallifrey, is in another pocket universe / stasis-something-or-other place.

That is the reason why the Doctor can't go to Gallifrey. Because it's not THERE anymore.

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