Ahead Of David Tennant's Return, Doctor Who Showrunner Is Humorously Trolling Fans Wondering How It'll Happen

David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Doctor Who on BBC America
(Image credit: BBC America)

In the world of Doctor Who , anything is possible. People die and come back to life, doppelgängers exist across time, The Doctor regenerates, the list goes on. Not long after the historic announcement of Ncuti Gatwa being cast as the Fourteenth Doctor one of the biggest casting rumors was confirmed. David Tennant will return to Doctor Who, along with Catherine Tate, who played his trusty companion Donna Noble, and the showrunner has teased they might not be back in the roles we know them for. 

Showrunner Russell T. Davies teased in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine (via Digital Spy) that Tennant’s and Tate’s return may not be what we expect, especially in a multiverse-filled zeitgeist these days, anything is possible. 

A mysteriously forgotten excursion for the TARDIS in between Planet of the Ood and Sontaran Stratagem? Or maybe a multiverse thing, they're all the rage these days. Maybe this is the Doctor and Donna from Universe 557, all set to collide with our own. Then again, maybe, just maybe, this return is so impossible that it's actually an intricate illusion created by an old enemy of the Doctor's. Or maybe an old enemy of Donna's. Nerys!

At this point, the multiverse is old hat. A24’s hit Everything, Everywhere All at Once rocked the box office last spring. Marvel has released the movies Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, along with the Disney+ show Loki putting the concept of variants and alternate universes at the center of many future Marvel projects. So it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the new Doctor found himself exploring the complexities of the multiverse.

We’ve already seen something like this on the show with Jenna Coleman’s character Clara showed up in various time periods and planets as different versions of herself before becoming the Eleventh Doctor's companion. But, who knows. On the show’s 50th anniversary Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor had a run in with Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. It wasn’t a variant or a doppelgänger, it was simply the Tenth Doctor we already know and love. 

Both Tennant and Tate have been spotted on the set of the show. Photos were published in The Scotsman of Tennant wearing a trench coat and Converse sneakers, a costume similar to what he wore during his tenure as The Doctor. But, as Davies teased, we may not be seeing him in the same way we know him. It's even been theorized that rather than playing the Tenth Doctor, Tennant is actually playing the Doctor who Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate into, and by the end of the 60th anniversary, he will regenerate into the Doctor Ncuti Gatwa is playing.

Even though we won’t know how the Tenth Doctor (or Tenth Doctor 2.0, perhaps) and Donna will be incorporated into the upcoming Doctor Who story, Davies, who revived the show back in 2005, did say he may have already revealed the answer.

Of course, I wouldn't give that away in the pages of DWM, would I? But then again. This magazine is the first place I ever revealed the name of Billie Piper's Rose (in issue 340). So read carefully. There are truths in here.

So, we will probably just have to wait patiently for the TARDIS and its new Doctor to arrive whenever and wherever The Tenth Doctor and Donna (or beings who look suspiciously like them) are. Tennant has teased lots of fun surprises about the upcoming 60th anniversary, but we’ll have to wait a while to see what wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff the new Doctor, and some variation (maybe) of the Tenth Doctor, get up to.

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.