When you really think about it, there are a few things that don’t really make sense about the Doctor on Doctor Who. I mean, why is it that the only notable biological difference between Time Lords and humans is the fact that they have two hearts? And why is it that the various regenerations are tend to speak with accents from somewhere in the United Kingdom? These questions don’t have any real answers, but the new star of the show, Peter Capaldi, has a theory of his own: the Doctor as we see him is only a projection, and in reality he doesn’t actually have a real form.
It was during the Doctor Who presentation at San Diego Comic-Con this afternoon that Capaldi revealed this little pet theory, sitting on a panel with showrunner Stephen Moffat and co-stars Jenna Coleman (Clara) and Michelle Gomez (Missy). The Scottish actor was asked by moderator Chris Hardwick if he felt that his version of the Doctor was actually a nice guy, and someone who could actually get along with people, and Capaldi shot back at him with his view on what Time Lords could actually be. Said the star,
He’s fabulous! He’s a guy you really want to hang around with. He’s incredible. He’s a laugh, he’s great looking, he’s terrifically lithe for his age! You know, we live in a world where everybody’s supposed to be so easy and accessible. The Doctor is mysterious! He’s a Time Lord, he’s not a guy! He’s a special creature. I don’t even know if he even has a corporeal being! He presents this to everyone, but he may exist in a totally different plane. He’s not a guy! But if he was a guy, he’d have my face, and he’d be really nice.
Admittedly, this could be said about any fictional character of a fictional species, and the non-canonical reason why the Doctor is human-like and British is probably because of budgetary restrictions, but this is still interesting to think about in the context of Doctor Who. The Doctor has explained his particular fascination with humanity in the past, so what if he just makes himself look human to make people around him more comfortable (meanwhile, his two hearts are a nice way of just being able to prove that he is, in fact, an alien).
If there’s any kind of hole to poke in this theory, it’s the fact that the Doctor regenerates to look like a different person whenever he “dies.” If his appearance is just a projection anyway, why would he not just look the same after each one? Then again, I’m sure there’s a no prize answer even for that.
Be sure to check out more of our coverage from the Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic-Con, and look for new episodes of the show when they start airing on September 19th.