Doctor Who theories

Just seven theories about the regeneration of the 13th Doctor in Dr Who

Yes, what the hell is going on here?

Last night’s episode of Doctor Who saw Jodie Whittaker regenerate into David Tennant who will return as the 14th Doctor in 2023. Fans have of course descended into a chaos-filled excitement over the news as Tennant made his return after he left the show in 2010. Doctor Who fans also caught a glimpse of Ncuti Gatwa as the new Doctor and honestly winter 2023 is too long of a wait!

In true fandom fashion, theories have been cooking about how and why Whittaker has regenerated into Tennant’s as well as how Ncuti’s Doctor will be introduced in the series. Here are seven theories about the regeneration of the thirteenth Doctor in Doctor Who:

1. The Master’s forced regeneration device affected the Doctor in her regeneration

In The Power of the Doctor, the Master’s forced regeneration device was the showpiece. The device allowed the Doctor to regenerate into the Master by force. At the end of the episode, the Doctor’s hologram projection and Yaz were able to use to degenerate the body back into the Thirteenth Doctor. One theory suggests that the process affected the Doctor as she regenerated.

2. There is a similar series of events in the Doctor Who comic strips

In a comic strip from 1979 in Doctor Who Weekly, two issues featured the Doctor revert during his regenerations due to an anomaly. As the story goes, time moves backwards, turning K-9 into a pile of components and squeezing the Doctor through his previous incarnations. Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and Patrick Troughton’s Doctor are both in that journey before stopping at William Hartnell’s Doctor. He saves the day and the Fourth Doctor is restored.

3. The Doctor could be changing between Ncuti and David

Another fan theory is that because David Tennant and Ncuti Gatwa are wearing the same clothes in the teaser trailer, the Doctor could change between both Ncuti and David.

4. The Doctor can’t move on because Donna has half of his mind

Another fan shared their theories on TikTok and offered the suggestion that David Tennant’s Doctor can’t move on because Donna has half of his mind after the meta crisis. The TikToker suggested a few other theories including the regeneration into Tennant’s Doctor being an accident, the regeneration cycle being broken and so it accidentally chose a past face. The TikToker also has the same theory of Ncuti and David sharing the body together and switching out every few minutes.


These are JUST my theories for next year. don’t mean they are real/true #Doctorwho #DavidTennant #10thDoc#fypシ

♬ Rasputin – Majestic & Boney M.

5. David Tennant’s Doctor could have the memories of Smith, Capaldi and Whittaker

With fans already aware that David Tennant would be joining the Doctor Who cast for three episodes in 2023, theories began floating about that Whittaker could regenerate into Tennant’s Doctor, but it seemed so wild to even imagine it. One theory suggested that if Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor regenerated in David’s, it could be possible that the new version of the Doctor could have the memories of Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.

6. David Tennant will play an alternate version of the Tenth Doctor

Another fan theory following The Power of The Doctor is David Tennant playing an alternation version of his doctor. One user on Twitter said: “David Tennant is playing an alternate version of the Tenth Doctor, which explains the new costume change and why he’s being labelled as the Fourteenth.”

7. The Doctor is stuck in a regeneration limbo

Another theory that many Doctor Who fans seem to have is that the Doctor’s body is struggling to regenerate following the Master’s interference. The user said: “The Tennant Doctor is like a hybrid reset due to the Doctor’s body struggling to comprehend the peril it has been through via the Master’s interference. The rightful Doctor is temporarily stuck in the regeneration limbo and during the course of the adventure takes control.”

Featured image credit via BBC.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Here’s a full rundown of everything we know about the new era of Doctor Who

Every single Doctor Who companion, definitively ranked

Take this quiz and we’ll tell you which naff Doctor Who alien you are