Moffat Addresses Regeneration Issues Coming Out of ‘Day of the Doctor’

- 11-25-13TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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That was some Doctor Who anniversary special, huh? It’s hard to think that they could have done much better, but it could have been way worse. If you didn’t get the chance yet, read our recap/review courtesy of the Bastards’ resident Whospert Sarah Moran, and I think you’ll agree that despite whatever quibbles you have, “The Day of the Doctor” was very enjoyable indeed. But it did open up a can of proverbial continuity worms. For instance, how is the numbering of the various incarnations of The Doctor affected by the revelation of John Hurt‘s War Doctor? And what impact will there be going forward? Spoilers ahead, obviously.

To begin with, we’ve always known that Christopher Eccleston was the Ninth Doctor, David Tennant was Ten and Matt Smith is Eleven – heck there was even a prophecy about Smith’s Doctor that mentions something about “The Fall of the Eleventh…” – but doesn’t the introduction of a “new” Doctor between “Eight” and “Nine” require some renumbering. Well, current Who executive producer and showrunner Steven Moffat addressed that this past weekend at the Doctor Who 50th Celebration at London’s ExCel.

“He has no more ever called himself the 11th Doctor than he would call himself Matt Smith. The Doctor doesn’t know off the top of his head [what number he is].

“If you worry about such things, and I do, then I specifically said John Hurt’s Doctor doesn’t use the title. [Matt Smith’s Doctor] is in his 12th body but he’s the 11th Doctor, however there is no such character as the 11th Doctor – he’s just The Doctor, that’s what he calls himself.

“The numbering doesn’t matter, except for those lists that you and I have been making for many years. So I’ve given you the option of not counting John Hurt numerically – he’s the War Doctor.”

So there you go, he’s the First War Doctor, not the Ninth Doctor. Problem solved, right? Well, there might be more than one problem now, and this might be a thread picked up on in the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special, AKA: Matt Smith’s swan song as The Doctor. If you don’t want to be exposed to spoilers, you have to bail before the end of the countdown…

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Still here? Okay so the question of the day is just how many regenerations has The Doctor been through. The War Doctor makes 12 Doctors, which means Peter Capaldi will be 13, right? No Time Lord can regenerate more that 12 times, at least that’s according to a serial from the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) era “The Deadly Assassin,” and Moffat confirmed that this is indeed still the case.

Paul McGann turns into John Hurt so they’re not the same incarnation. He used up another regeneration and I expect he’ll be in trouble shortly – you can’t break rules laid down in ‘The Deadly Assassin’.”

Well, it seems that trouble has come. Yes, there’s was McGann’s regeneration into Hurt, but there’s also the pseudo-regeneration of the Tenth Doctor at the end of the fourth series, where The Doctor is shot by the Daleks and he dumped the majority of the regeneration energy into his severed hand creating a second Doctor. So does that count? And if it does, doesn’t that mean that the Eleventh Doctor is actually the thirteenth regeneration.

The Daily Mirror has put napalm on that fire of speculation with some insight from sources that say that Smith’s Doctor will declare in the upcoming Christmas special that he is the thirteenth version of the character. Of course, the Mirror is a tabloid so any and all “information” should be taken with a grain of salt, but the details do indicate that the coming Christmas episode is going to perhaps be a bigger turning point than the 50th anniversary special.

Doctor Who will face the end of a 50 year story in the Christmas special – when Time Lord Matt Smith reveals he is actually the 13th and ‘final’ Doctor.

Actor Matt, 31, has long thought to have been the Eleventh Doctor on the hit BBC sci-fi show, which can only regenerate 12 times according to the show’s folklore. Fans have worried for years that the show will have to end once the 13th Doctor dies.

But on December 25, current theories among millions of fans will be exterminated once and for all when Matt says in a dramatic speech he is the 13th Doctor and adds: “I’m dying and there is nothing I can do about it.”

On Saturday night at the end of the show’s 50th anniversary special, all the Doctors lined up, including John Hurt who was previously not thought to count. David Tennant’s Time Lord also used up an extra regeneration to save himself in an episode called Journey’s End.

A show source explained: “There have been two David Tennant Doctor Whos technically and with John Hurt playing another Doctor in the film, it basically means he can’t regenerate again.

“The riddle of the regeneration problem, something fans have talked about for decades, will be faced head on at Christmas. There is going to be another huge cliffhanger and somehow Peter Capaldi has to join and the series has to continue.

“The show’s big fans, known as Whovians, won’t believe their eyes at Christmas.”

How’s that for a tease? It looks like something huge is going to be a part of Who’s future; even bigger than the final generation, and bigger than the return of Gallifrey. I guess we’ll find out how big for certain on Christmas Day.

Source: Blastr

Category: TV

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  • Jeev

    we all forget that River Song used up all her regen to save him, after she had poison him…. does that count for something…wrt to regen energy O.o

  • Geoffrey Martin

    If the High Council would give the Master extra regeneration cycles for simply saving the Doctor, one would imagine they would do something similar for the Doctor for saving the entirety of Gallifrey.

  • Scott

    The issue I have with this is why would he have threatened the cyber planner (Mr. Clever) in Nightmare in Silver with regeneration if he couldn’t do it. Doesn’t quite add up to me.

    • jimmycolls

      It sounded like a bluff to me, and the Cyberiad called it. I much prefer ‘they both knew he was bluffing because he can’t regenerate’ to ‘the whole of humanity was at stake but he just really didn’t want to’. It fixes one of my biggest complaints about NiS – now someone just needs to go back and edit those kids out.

  • Mortimer Tremblay

    But does the doctor have steal some life in the 8th doctor movies…:P

  • Prophet

    Can we remember that River Song gave up her remaining regenerations to Matt Smith’s doctor to save him? This means, whatever number she had left, is now inside our favorite Time Lord. She had at least 8 regerations left.

  • Ryan

    What about the fact that when River shot the Doctor in the Impossible Astronaut he began to regenerate? If Smith or Capaldi is truly the final doctor in the line of 13 I’m sure that Moffat will find some way to get around that little fact.

  • Sara Galeas

    ohh man.

  • Brannon Bledsoe

    Don’t forget the history of the Valeyard.

  • Brian

    Doesnt make any sense…in Impossible astronaut, he could have regenerated if he wasnt shot again during the process( hence he has 1 more regeneration). But in the 50th anniversary episode( Name of the doctor) he said he couldnt, when in fact he should be able to since he didnt use it in the end, as in the Impossible astronaut as time was rewritten. Only possible explanation is if he used it to heal River Song when her hand was broken in the weeping angels episode where Amy and Rory get sent back in time.

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