As wonderful as the last stand of the 11th Doctor was, there are still some DOCTOR WHO fans who insist on being confused by the details of “The Time of the Doctor,” including that whole “the Doctor’s tomb is on Trenzalore” business, rather than simply accepting the message of virtually Matt Smith’s entire run: “Time can be rewritten.” So that’s what he did.
No, these folks insist on some explicit timey-wimey explanation for the Doctor visiting his own grave/not grave. Fortunately, executive producer Steven Moffat has devoted a column in the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine to addressing the issue of whether “The Time of the Doctor” contradicts “The Name of the Doctor.”
“I’ve often wondered about that. Fortunately, late one night, the Doctor turned up in person and explained it to me:
“THE DOCTOR: Changing time is tricky. It’s a bit like a detective story: so as long there isn’t an actual body, you’ve got a certain amount of wiggle room – for instance, if the body has, rather conveniently, been burned on a boat in Utah.
“Here’s the thing: I can change the future so long as the future has not already been established as part of my own past. I can’t rescue Amy and Rory because I already know that I didn’t.
“But what do I know about Trenzalore? There’s a big monument that looks very like my TARDIS. There’s a temporal fissure leading to my timeline. Maybe it’s my grave. Maybe, one day, it’s my burial ground. Maybe it is something else entirely, and we got it all wrong. Don’t know. Don’t plan to find out for as long as possible. The main thing is, Clara still jumped into my time stream, and ended up helping me through all of my life. All that is established, unchanged – but there’s wiggle room!”
But it’s enough for me to accept that the Doctor rewrote Time. Remember the lesson of “The Angels Take Manhattan”: As long as the Doctor doesn’t know what’s going to happen, anything can happen! But once he knows, it’s set in stone.
So no reading ahead, 12th Doctor!