Doctor Who Theory Reveals How the 60th Anniversary Can Solve a Bizarre Canon Mystery

How many David Tennants will we be dealing with?


Since leaving Doctor Who in 2010, David Tennant has now returned to the series twice; once in the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor,” and again, at the end of “The Power of the Doctor” in 2022. He’ll be the incumbent Doctor for the rest of 2023 until he regenerates (again!) into Ncuti Gatwa. But, oddly, the easiest way for Tennant to have returned as an older version of his Doctor has never been utilized. Unless, of course, that’s exactly what is happening.

A new theory suggests that yes, we’ll get multiple Doctors in the upcoming 60th anniversary specials, but among various other Doctors, there could be ... a second version of David Tennant.

Rose, the 10th Doctor, and the Meta-Crisis Doctor in “Journey’s End.”


Recently, a cryptic new 10-second teaser has fans scrambling for clues. In it, there’s some backward dialogue, Donna and the Doctor looking worried, and, what many fans think is a shot of the Doctor’s severed hand. Back in his very first appearance in “The Christmas Invasion,” the 10th Doctor lost his hand in a sword fight, but then, regrew it right away, thanks to the fact that he was still early in his regeneration cycle. Later, in “Journey’s End,” this hand resulted in the creation of a duplicate version of the Doctor, which also transferred Time Lord abilities to Donna Noble. This “Meta Crisis Doctor,” looked exactly like David Tennant, but has, essentially, human. He could not regenerate, and so, opted to live in Who’s most prominent parallel universe; the one where Rose Tyler was initially trapped in “Doomsday.” And none of that would have been possible without the severed hand.

So, assuming the severed hand is back, the question is, why? Because that hand is (presumably) still attached to the Meta Crisis Doctor, could this be a flashback? And even the hand does appear in flashback, why?

The easy answer is Donna Noble. We know some aspects of the storylines for the 60th Anniversary specials will deal with the threads left behind in “Journey’s End,” and “The End of Time.” The Doctor erased Donna’s memories in “Journey’s End,” which is why he had to avoid seeing her in “The End of Time.” The idea is, if Donna remembers the Doctor, her accidental Time Lord powers will return and burn her brain up. Basically, Donna was never meant to have these abilities, and her human mind can’t handle the overload of information. Naturally, by putting David Tennant and Catherine Tate back together, it seems likely that Doctor Who is putting a pretty big spin on where we left things. So, if the hand is involved, perhaps it’s just there as a reminder of how this all got started: Donna’s human traits got transferred to the severed hand, and wham! She got Time Lord powers, and a second David Tennant was instantly grown.

The Doctor’s hand on the TARDIS in Doctor Who Season 4.


But ... none of this actually explains what happened to that second version of Tennant’s Doctor. Like real-life David Tennant, that version can age naturally and doesn’t need any kind of complicated reason to return. It’s literally a separate character. After “The Power of the Doctor,” we learned that the post-Jodie Whittaker David Tennant is not simply a new version of “the 10th Doctor,” but actually, the “14th Doctor.” We’re still not sure why a new version of the Doctor has an old face, but that mystery could be central to the 60th anniversary specials. We also know this Doctor is not the Meta Crisis Doctor, meaning that Doctor is still out there in the multiverse.

Which leads to the bigger question: Other than Donna Noble, what other unfinished business does Tennant’s Doctor have? And the answer is, his duplicate! In a deleted scene for “Journey’s End,” the 10th Doctor gave the Meta Crisis Doctor the ability to grow his own TARDIS. Could this Doctor crash the party in the 60th anniversary specials? In addition to any unannounced cameos from past Doctors (I.E. Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi) might it be possible there will also be two David Tennants? If the Doctor’s hand is truly a clue, then the next few adventures of Doctor Who are about to get very crowded.

Doctor Who returns for three specials, starting in the Fall of 2023, airing on Disney+. The exact dates have not been confirmed.

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