Following the awesomeness of Doctor Who’s 50th-anniversary special and the revelation that Peter Capaldi would likely be the 13th Doctor, Steven Moffat has decided to discuss the beloved Time Lord’s regeneration limit.
Speaking at the Doctor Who 50th Celebration at London's ExCel, the showrunner said that John Hurt's version of the Time Lord does not alter the numbering of other incarnations:
"He has no more ever called himself the 11th Doctor than he would call himself Matt Smith. The Doctor doesn't know off the top of his head [what number he is].
"If you worry about such things, and I do, then I specifically said John Hurt's Doctor doesn't use the title. [Matt Smith's Doctor] is in his 12th body but he's the 11th Doctor, however there is no such character as the 11th Doctor - he's just The Doctor, that's what he calls himself.
"The numbering doesn't matter, except for those lists that you and I have been making for many years. So I've given you the option of not counting John Hurt numerically - he's the War Doctor."
Moffat also discussed the regeneration limit of 12 that was established in “The Deadly Assassin,” a story that featured the Fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker. He teased:
"Paul McGann turns into John Hurt so they're not the same incarnation. He used up another regeneration and I expect he'll be in trouble shortly - you can't break rules laid down in 'The Deadly Assassin’.”
Which would mean that the Doctor will have reached his regeneration limit during the upcoming Xmas special when Matt Smith'll turn into Peter Capaldi.
Isn’t it amazingly convenient that Gallifrey and the Time Lords are now somewhere for the Doctor to find and remedy that itsy-bitsy timey-wimey little thing? We were ready to betcha that would have been the storyline that would've driven Capaldi's Doctor.
However, a story over at The Mirror (grain of salt, you guys, grain of salt) is putting a big spanner in our speculations by saying that Matt Smith apparently confirmed that he was--wait for it!--the 13th Doctor! They state:
Doctor Who will face the end of a 50 year story in the Christmas special – when Time Lord Matt Smith reveals he is actually the 13th and ‘final’ Doctor.
Actor Matt, 31, has long thought to have been the Eleventh Doctor on the hit BBC sci-fi show, which can only regenerate 12 times according to the show’s folklore. Fans have worried for years that the show will have to end once the 13th Doctor dies.
But on December 25, current theories among millions of fans will be exterminated once and for all when Matt says in a dramatic speech he is the 13th Doctor and adds: “I’m dying and there is nothing I can do about it.”
On Saturday night at the end of the show’s 50th anniversary special, all the Doctors lined up, including John Hurt who was previously not thought to count. David Tennant’s Time Lord also used up an extra regeneration to save himself in an episode called Journey’s End.
A show source explained: “There have been two David Tennant Doctor Whos technically and with John Hurt playing another Doctor in the 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 cliffhanger 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.”
And our heads just exploded. What do you guys actually think of all this? Is Matt Smith's Doctor the 12th incarnation of our beloved Mad Man in the Big Blue Police Box, as Moffat appears to be saying, or is he the 13th, as The Mirror (grain of salt, but still) reports? Or do you believe that he is still the 12th incarnation but with no more regenerations available?