As the 12th Doctor’s time comes to a close, Peter Capaldi has hinted at a new way for the heroic Time Lord of Doctor Who to take on a new face.
Speaking with The New York Times, Capaldi said that while he knows what happens that causes the 12th Doctor to regenerate into the as-yet-unannounced 13th Doctor, he’s unsure of how it’s going to happen.
“It’s more complicated than that,” Capaldi said. “There’s this notion now that it’s the same process he’s gone through every time, and that’s not true. It’s only the last couple of regenerations that have been, as it were, fairly straightforward ones. I can’t go into the details of a lot of it, because I know what happens, but I don’t know how it happens.”
Now, what Capaldi said isn’t necessarily true. Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor regenerated into Capaldi’s 12th only after being granted additional regenerations, essentially getting free lives in order for the show to be able to continue long into the future. That certainly wasn’t normal. And when Paul McGann’s 8th Doctor regenerated into the War Doctor, he was able to make a conscious decision about becoming said War Doctor, which is unprecedented for the Doctor’s previous and current incarnations.
Then there’s the Classic Who mishap of the second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) being forced by the other Time Lords to regenerate into Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor. That was a mess that hasn’t reoccurred since, probably due to the Time Lords being gone for so long.
But, apparently, the 12th Doctor’s regeneration will be something wholly unexpected. If Capaldi doesn’t even know how it happens (or, more likely, if he’s not allowed to talk about how it happens), then it’s something different from what Doctor Who fans have ever seen before.
Doctor Who Season 10 premieres April 15.