Shortly after the premiere of “The Day of the Doctor,” there were some rumors of even bigger revelations to come for Doctor Who aside from the discovery that Gallifrey survived the Time War and is still out there in space somewhere. Now we all know that Peter Capaldi is taking over for Matt Smith as The Doctor come the end of this year’s Christmas special, but word started leaking out that the twist in “The Time of the Doctor” has The Doctor confronting his mortality as the 13th and final regeneration of the Time Lord. But how can that be when Smith is Eleven, and is the rumor true? Well, according to showrunner Steven Moffat, it is.
In an interview with Radio Times (and shared via Doctor Who TV), Moffat confirmed that the numbering and the regenerations still work out, but yes, Smith’s Eleven is indeed the final regeneration of The Doctor.
“We’ll find out that Matt Smith is actually the 13th Doctor. Although everyone knows that the Doctor can only regenerate 12 times.
“The 12 regenerations limit is a central part of Doctor Who mythology – science fiction is all about rules, you can’t just casually break them.
“So if the Doctor can never change again, what’s Peter Capaldi doing in the Christmas Special?”
The two other regenerations were The War Doctor (played by John Hurt) and the Meta-crisis Doctor, who was created in the series four finale two-parter. So it begs the question, how does Matt Smith turn into Peter Capaldi when The Doctor has no more lives? Will there be some kind of timey-wimey take-back? Perhaps The Doctor will find a green mushroom as he battles the Cybermen. Maybe there’s a Casino Royale-esque reboot coming and they’re playing it ultra-cool.
Anyway, excited for the Christmas special yet? Only a couple of more weeks till you’ll be able to see it, but sound off with your own theories below.
“The Time of the Doctor” airs Christmas Day on BBC, BBC America and Space.