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In the 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor", having fought in the Time War for many years, the greatly aged War Doctor steals the superweapon known as "the Moment" with the intent of wiping out all combatants in the war along with his home world of Gallifrey. However, the Moment is sentient, possessing a conscience that requires the user to morally justify his use of it, and interacts with him in the shape of his future companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). Although acknowledging that she can do what the Doctor asks of her, she then sends the War Doctor into his future to meet the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors (David Tennant and Matt Smith respectively) to understand the sadness and regret they endured while continuing the good he failed to accomplish. Having witnessed his future selves prevent a Zygon conquest of Earth and the destruction of London, the War Doctor concludes that he must destroy Gallifrey, reflecting that he is lighting the fire so that better Doctors can be forged, only for the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors to travel back to activate the Moment with him, the later Doctors declaring that they now recognise the War Doctor as having been "the Doctor on the day it wasn't possible to get it right". However, aided by the Moment's interface which shows them a vision of the horror and destruction wrought in the Fall of Arcadia, the last battle in which the War Doctor fought, and Clara's plea to remember the vow they made in taking their name, the Doctors ultimately conclude that the loss of life that would be caused by using the Moment is something they cannot accept. They instead pool their resources, and with the help of the Doctor's various incarnations, attempt to save Gallifrey by freezing it in a moment in time, creating the illusion of the planet's own destruction. The Daleks are effectively tricked into firing on each other, annihilating themselves. The War Doctor accepts that upon returning to his own timeframe, he will forget his own heroic actions and must live with the false belief that he killed his own people. Before leaving, he takes a moment to thank his future selves for helping him "become the Doctor" again. Once inside his TARDIS, he begins to regenerate, realising that his body is "wearing a bit thin", echoing the First Doctor's utterances in The Tenth Planet.

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