So it’s hardly a secret that Peter Capaldi is taking over the role of the Doctor starting with this year’s Christmas episode of Doctor Who (titled “The Time of the Doctor”), and he had a very small cameo (well, his eyes did) in “The Day of the Doctor”. But the Daily Mirror published this article, which claims that Matt Smith will reveal that he is in fact the 13th Doctor – not the 11th as always thought, and not the 12th including John Hurt’s War Doctor – and is now facing his own death.
It is claimed that the “missing” regeneration is because of the metacrisis – when Tennant’s Doctor saved himself by diverting the regeneration energy into his previously severed hand in “Journey’s End” (and then forming another copy of himself).
Leaving aside the many ways in which showrunner Steven Moffat can write around the regeneration limit, this seems to be discounting something that happened right in the “The Day of the Doctor”!
SPOILER WARNING: In case you haven’t seen “The Day of the Doctor” yet, read no further. Then again, if you haven’t seen it by now…WHY NOT?!?
Near the end, when the three Doctors are flying their TARDISes into orbit around Gallifrey to attempt to save it, they are joined by more TARDISes – all their previous incarnations are taking part (in cameos taken from archive footage), and the Time Lord general mentions that there are all 12 of them…but then he is corrected by one of the others, who says there are 13 of them – and we see another TARDIS, and cut to a shot inside – and we see Peter Capaldi’s eyes in a very determined look. So now Capaldi is already established as the 13th Doctor.
So, although the Doctor might believe, correctly or incorrectly, that he shouldn’t be able to regenerate again, he should also know that he has another incarnation that must come after him. Although they can still make drama even though we know what is coming, if this was in fact the plan they should have not included Capaldi in “The Day of the Doctor”, and probably (at least tried to) keep it a secret that someone else was taking over the role.
I’m actually wondering if Moffat wants to advance this storyline now so he can address it himself, just in case he isn’t in charge when the time would have come “naturally”… 🙂