This question is pretty much the same as this one, except for the twelfth Doctor instead of the tenth.

We see a short glimpse of the thirteenth Doctor in The day of the Doctor, but as far as I know, it's never even mentioned in his three seasons when he went there. I assume it was in the time of his first two seasons, because saving Gallifrey after it was already restored in "Hell bent" would probably have some timey-wimey issues, and maybe even before "Death in heaven", because of how angry he was about not finding Gallifrey.

But are there any clear indications of when he went there?

The same questions could also be asked about the first to ninth Doctor, but because they play only minor roles in Day of the Doctor and that episode wasn't planned yet in their time, it could be any arbitrary point on their timeline.

  • I was really hoping they'd close that loop hole before Capaldi's regeneration, but they never did. Perhaps if they make a 60th anniversary special in 2023 and everybody comes back, they finally will...
    – tilley31
    Mar 20, 2019 at 18:23
  • It would fit the best in my opinion on the timerange of season 8, episodes 8 to 10. That's where he had really "settled" in this body and also nothing Gallifrey related had happened yet. Mar 20, 2019 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


Whenever multiple incarnations of The Doctor inhabits the same timeline it is a paradox that is corrected as soon as they leave. At the end of The Day of The Doctor the War Doctor has this exchange with Eleven:

WAR DOCTOR: I won't remember this, will I?
11th DOCTOR: The time streams are out of sync. You can't retain it, no.

Therefore we have to assume that the presence of all the other past incarnations of The Doctor that joined the three in executing the plan to save Gallifrey was also out of their proper timelines and once they left the events would not be part of their memories or history and therefore does not need to be "placed" in their timeline.

The inclusion of the Twelfth Doctor in this scene - a future generation - is more problematic to explain given the above. Unlike the others who were plucked from the past and brought into the present Doctor's (Eleven) timeline, technically it is the Twelfth who should retain memory all of these events and not Eleven! But perhaps it depends not on who is the "latest" generation but on who the critical events centre around. The Doctor is said to only meet himself in "times of crisis", and the story in this episode did centre around Eleven's discovery of the painting. Also, the final scene took place at the fall of Gallifrey which was really the War Doctor's timeline. So perhaps Twelve simply responded to the call across time to help with this "crisis" and then the timeline reshaped around Eleven because he orchestrated it.

The short answer to your question then of "when" Twelve left his timeline to go and help out in the events of Day of The Doctor is that he didn't. His appearance there was, just like the appearance of Ten and other previous incarnations, a paradox which would have been corrected and ceased to be part of their normal timeline. In the cases of past incarnations it as if it never happened; in Twelve's case, it is as if it would never happen, so there would be no reason for the event to be written into subsequent storylines.

If you want to take a guess at when in his 3-year run it might have occurred the only clue is his shorter-haired appearance which is more consistent with how he looked during his first season. Capaldi's hair got notably longer each season. However, this is in conflict with the explanation for the Fifth Doctor's older appearance in Time Crash:

"The two of us together has shorted out the time differential. Should all snap back in place when we get you home."

Therefore the Doctor's appearance and apparent age during any situation when he meets himself cannot really be used as a guide to which era they came from.

Out of universe, the inclusion of Capaldi in this sequence was probably just a gratuitous way of getting viewers excited about the coming regeneration and possibly done without much thought. Also, the short-haired appearance would have reflected the time of the filming and is unlikely to have been part of a plan to place the event in his future timeline.

  • This is interesting and all, but it doesn't answer my question. The question was, simply put, "at which point does Doctor 12 go to start Gallifrey, which episodes play before it, which after". Mar 21, 2019 at 13:22
  • @FabianRöling Really? Aren't you asking when 12's brief appearance in DOTD occurs within his own timeline? That's how I understood it, and my answer is basically that it doesn't occur - because it is a timeline paradox that would have corrected itself and never happened within his actual timeline.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 21, 2019 at 14:50
  • @FabianRöling Reading back I don't think I made my main point stand out so I have added a paragraph in. Hope this makes it clear.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 21, 2019 at 14:58
  • But these Doctors don't just appear out of nothing, even if they don't remember any of the events from Day of the Doctor, they still are in that episode the version of the Doctor as they were after some, to me unknown, point in their timeline. Even if they copied themselves for that, they would still have to be copied from some point on their timeline. And that's also not how the episode explains it: They don't remember the events anymore, doesn't mean that they didn't happen to them. If one of them got a wound, it would still be there afterwards and they would be wondering how it got there. Mar 21, 2019 at 18:00
  • @FabianRöling I didn't say they appeared "out of nothing". I said that the events are erased from their timeline upon their return. In the case of past incarnations, it would be removed from history, but in the case of the future twelfth incarnation it would never happen.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 22, 2019 at 10:24

We have no clear indicators of exactly when he went back for the time war.

Since The Doctor has already regenerated past that avatar now, I do not believe we get to see this happen anymore.

  • There are always comics and other sources to hope for. Mar 21, 2019 at 9:03
  • I'm still hoping for the 60th anniversary special in 2023. Hopefully this time every Doctor of the new era will make it back.
    – tilley31
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:40

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