Doctor Who's Showrunner Responds To Rumor Regarding Jodie Whittaker's Upcoming Regeneration

Jodie Whittaker’s final episode as the lead of Doctor Who is just around the corner, and as is often the case with exiting Doctors, there’s a lot of interest and intrigue surrounding her character’s regeneration scene. Fans have questions ahead of “The Power of the Doctor” about how it’ll go down, and more importantly, if the special will feature the first scene with the newest Doctor actor, Ncuti Gatwa (who we’re already in love with). One fan theory floating around suggested that we won’t see the new Doctor at all but someone else instead, and showrunner Russell T. Davies finally addressed that rumor in a recent interview. 

There’s speculation on the internet that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will regenerate into a previous incarnation of herself played by David Tennant. The theory, while unprecedented in the show’s canon, does seem plausible given that Tennant is returning alongside former co-star Catherine Tate and many others for the 60th-anniversary special in 2023. Metro asked showrunner Russell T. Davies about the theory, and received the following response regarding it: 

I haven’t seen that but it’s made me laugh! There’s fan theories on everything, I seem to remember there was a fan theory that Graham would turn out to be the Doctor, [and] that Bradley Walsh was a secret Doctor in disguise.

Russell T. Davies stated the idea “made him laugh,” which could imply that it’s well off base for what is actually going to happen in the Doctor Who episode. At the same time, if Jodie Whittaker isn’t going to regenerate into David Tennant’s Doctor and it was a truly laughable theory, couldn’t he have just outright dismissed that it could happen? Seeing as the episode is so near, it’s probably best not to give a definitive answer regarding any plot details at this stage, so maybe his refusal to deny a theory shouldn’t be taken as proof it could be valid. 

One thing that could validate the theory, however, is that David Tennant was seen as The Doctor during much of the public filming of the 60th-anniversary, and there wasn’t anything reported about Ncuti Gatwa appearing on set. Additionally, reports stated that Gatwa may not take over until the series starts filming for Season 14, which could mean he’s not involved in the anniversary celebration at all. It would be odd to introduce a new Doctor right at the end of his successor’s run, and then not be involved in the anniversary special at all, right? 

It is worth mentioning that David Tennant pointed out months ago that there’s more to Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary than what fans saw during public filming sessions. It’s possible that Ncuti Gatwa filmed scenes for the 60th anniversary on a closed set, and that no one has leaked the information that he is indeed involved. We’ll likely know one way or another soon enough, assuming that “The Power of the Doctor” sets up the upcoming anniversary towards its end. 

Catch Doctor Who’s “The Power of the Doctor” on BBC America on Sunday, October 23rd at 8:00 p.m. ET. After that, we’ll be in for a long wait before there’s another new episode, so be sure to browse our 2022 TV schedule to find another sci-fi obsession to make the wait for the 60th anniversary celebration a little easier to manage.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.