Run, you clever boy! Show-runner Steven Moffat has found a new way to
delight torture DOCTOR WHO fandom: by playing with the Doctor’s regenerations. He knows there’s enough wiggle room to fuel all sides of an argument until the end of the world, so he’s taking the hot potato and running with it!
In the wake of the events of the 50th anniversary story, “The Day of the Doctor,” the question of exactly how many regenerations the Doctor has left is wide open — meaning Moffat doesn’t have to work very hard to send Whovians into paroxysms of despair and joy.
Actually, all the Grand Moff had to say was:
“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? “
A “BBC source” further stirred the pot by adding:
“There have been two David Tennant Doctor Whos, technically, and with John Hurt playing another Doctor in the [“Day of the Doctor”] 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 cliff-hanger, 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.”
Well, if ever there were a rule-breaker, it’s Mr. Steven Moffat, isn’t it? He seems just a little bit too disingenuous about “rules” for me. After all, what could possibly be a bigger breach of the rules than to RETROACTIVELY ADD AN ENTIRELY NEW INCARNATION OF THE DOCTOR INTO THE ESTABLISHED ORDER?
No, I do not believe “rules” have ever stopped Moffat.
Remember when he insisted that the Doctor was dead because we all saw him killed in “The Impossible Astronaut”? The key to that was that we didn’t see what we
thought assumed we saw. I suspect something similar may be at work here with the regenerations — we fans only think we know what we know.
After all, Moffat has had to bend rules to manufacture this apparent “crisis”: Shoehorning the Meta-crisis Doctor (David Tennant) from “Journey’s End” —who, it has been pointed out, is human and not a Time Lord at all — so why does he count?) and the War Doctor (John Hurt) into the order of succession could be considered cheating.
And what about the Valeyard? He’s an already-established part of canon, so doesn’t that mean 11th Doctor Matt Smith is already playing the 14th Doctor? The Valeyard (Michael Jayston) from “The Trial of a Time Lord” said he was an amalgamation of the dark side of the Doctors and fit in between the Doctor’s 12th and 13th incarnations.
And, while we’re at it, where does The Dream Lord (Toby Jones) from “Amy’s Choice” fit in? He also claimed to be part of the Doctor’s dark side. Now Smith is playing at least the 15th Doctor!!!
My point here is: Precisely which set of “rules” is Moffat referring to?
I guess we’ll have to wait for the Christmas Special to see what Moffat has planned.