‘Doctor Who’: Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Regenerates Into [Spoiler]
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor.]
Heading into the latest Doctor Who special, The Power of the Doctor, we knew that we’d be saying goodbye to Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. And so we knew that a regeneration scene was coming at the end. And it did, after a forced regeneration — at the hands of the Master (Sacha Dhawan) whose actions then led to the real regeneration when he couldn’t be the Doctor — but it wasn’t what we or the Doctor expected.
Knowing she was about to regenerate, The Doctor dropped Yaz (Mandip Gill) off to face what was next alone. (Yaz would go on to reunite with other of the Doctor’s companions, in a support group where they could talk freely about what they’d been through traveling through space and time). Then she stepped outside the TARDIS on a cliff alone.
“It’s the only sad thing. I want to know what happens next,” the Doctor said. ‘Right, then. Doctor whoever I’m about to be, tag, you’re it.” And with that, she regenerated … into David Tennant’s Doctor?! The Doctor’s clothes even changed, meaning we didn’t get to see Tennant in Whittaker’s outfit.
Tennant’s Doctor realized, “I know these teeth” and after looking at his hands and outfit, asked in shock, “What? What?” The special ended with him running his hands down his face and again asking, “What?!” (Oh, we loved hearing that.)
Tennant played the Tenth Doctor in Seasons 2 through 4 and even ended up having a bit of a surprising regeneration himself in the Season 4 finale, thanks to a handy hand he had around from soon after Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor regenerated. This return from Tennant — listed as “Introducing David Tennant as the Doctor” in the credits — came after David Bradley, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, and Jo Martin all returned as the Doctor in some form as part of the events of the special.
We knew that Tennant would be coming back for the 60th anniversary special — alongside Catherine Tate, who played the Tenth Doctor’s companion Donna Noble — but we also knew that Ncuti Gatwa had been cast as the Fourteenth Doctor, so what does this surprise regeneration mean? It’s been announced that Tennant is actually the Fourteenth Doctor, in three special episodes with Tate airing in November 2023, and Gatwa will then be the Fifteenth.
“If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way!” showrunner Russell T. Davies said in a statement. “The path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun! And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!”
Watch the promo below for what’s ahead:
Doctor Who, 60th Anniversary Special Episodes, November 2023, BBC America