The 13th Doctor’s time is almost up and Whovians are gearing up to say goodbye, with the BBC centenary Doctor Who special set to air this Sunday (October 23). For over a year, we’ve known that the 13th Doctor was leaving, but ultimately we don’t have many details as to how she’ll make her exit. So what do we know so far?
We know Ncuti Gatwa is set to take over in a refreshed era of Doctor Who run by Russell T. Davies. On top of that, David Tennant and Catherine Tate are coming back into their roles as The Doctor and Donna Noble. (Yes, get excited!) The RTD2 era is soon upon us. But, somehow we know more about that than how the next regeneration will go.
Fans were given so many on-set treats when Tennant and Tate were filming in the summer. Set photos provided so many hints as to what the next special will look like. This included a new appearance by Neil Patrick Harris as a mystery villain that Whovians think they know who he’ll be playing. Needless to say, we’re excited about the new era, but it’s all felt like a distraction for what’s really to come: Jodie Whittaker’s exit. So we’ve rounded up a few of the best theories that are circulating the web about the 13th Doctor’s regeneration.
1. Thirteen will regenerate into Fourteen
It’s been announced that Gatwa will begin filming Doctor Who next month. So, naturally, this current Doctor will change to the next, right? This isn’t really much of a theory and more of what we should expect. So far, each Doctor has turned into the next one, unless you want to count a couple of snafus. There were a few times when they didn’t need the new Doctor on set to start the next era. They just needed to put them in a wig, turn them over and the audience wouldn’t know. How would they know? Well, Gatwa and Whittaker don’t look that much alike. Knowing that Gatwa hasn’t filmed anything Doctor Who-related, we’re most likely not getting a direct regeneration.
2. Thirteen will regenerate into Ten
We know that for a fact, in 2009, the Tenth Doctor played by Tennant, regenerated into Matt Smith’s Doctor. Even though Smith is now famous for House of the Dragon, you can’t deny that he played The Doctor. The series continued past Smith too. So, why is Tennant back on Doctor Who?
The only plausible answer has to be that the 13th Doctor will regenerate into the 10th. How does that work? Could it be possible that whatever The Master does to her in the final clip of the trailer changes everything? Perhaps he is abusing her Timeless Child powers and reversing her many lives, leaving her as the 10th Doctor for the next episode.
3. The Toymaker will disrupt the regeneration
Davies has left more hints about his new era than Taylor Swift has for any new album. Fans think that this Instagram post was a big hint as to who Neil Patrick Harris was playing. The Celestial Toymaker was a villain in the First Doctor era, and was a being who could manipulate reality to trap his victims and make them play games they could never escape from. He was shown with a circus of characters, literally. So the look of these behind-the-scenes photos from the filming of the 60th-anniversary special gives a hint that this really is the Toymaker.
Could the Toymaker trap Whittaker’s Doctor in a reality of his own? if this happens, the next special is bound to be one long game where the Doctor needs to reconcile with themselves to get out.
4. Tennant’s special is an alternate universe
Of all the multiverse stories we’ve gotten in 2022, could Doctor Who be the next project to have a multiverse? It wouldn’t be the first time they delved into it, but with some multiverse fatigue, perhaps that’s not the case. The running theory, in this case, is that there will be a cut in Jodie’s final scene and we’re left with a cliffhanger. Then, the series will pick up with an alternate universe story with The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble. So far, if Donna sees The Doctor she is in grave danger, but the set photos show them happily working together. Is it really a multiverse? With Yasmin Finney set to play an alternate version of Rose, it could be possible this is a multiverse.
5. There is no regeneration
Doctor Who Magazine hinted at it first! Recently, they reported that there will be a ‘Reichenbach Falls Moment‘ like from Sherlock Holmes. If you know nothing about Sherlock Holmes (or that infamous Sherlock moment,) it’s where Sherlock fakes how own death to outsmart Moriarty. As The Master is The Doctor’s version of Moriarty, she may have to fake her own death to win. But, then where’s the regeneration? Has Jodie been called back to film more scenes for the 60th anniversary special? We know nothing, but even this theory wouldn’t explain Tennant’s return. There may be a mixed response if this is true. Then it will be an extremely long wait for the 60th-anniversary special on November 23rd, 2023. That’s nothing we Sherlock fans haven’t dealt with before…
The Power of the Doctor airs Sunday, October 23, 8pm on BBC America.