The Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration was the last scene filmed, according to the director Jamie Magnus Stone. And it doesn’t take place inside the TARDIS…
Jodie Whittaker it set to leave Doctor Who in ‘The Power of the Doctor,’ and whilst details of this finale are still tightly under wraps, the director Jamie Magnus Stone has revealed that the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration is already in the can.
“…We shot that last day for Jodie in story order,” said Stone, speaking to the Radio Times. “So we ended up on her last scene. But before that, there were so many tears.
“And we shot the last-ever scene in the TARDIS, and said goodbye to the TARDIS, and then there were some tears.
“And then we went out to film, basically, her regeneration. And the last shot that we did, I think, will be the last shot in the episode as well. So it was really nice to do things in sequence. And it was mostly Jodie and Mandip’s [Yaz’s] scenes on that last day. So it was just super-emotional.”
This is a surprising revelation for several reasons. First, it confirms that the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration will be the first in the new series’ history not to take place inside the TARDIS, unless you count the Twelfth Doctor’s many false starts, and the fake one from ‘The Lie of the Land.’ (Plus the other fake one from ‘The Impossible Astronaut,’ if you want to be really picky…)
So what form will the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration take? Will we even get to see the Fourteenth Doctor in Jodie’s final episode…?
Maybe not. When Stone says “the last shot that we did… will be the last shot in the episode,” he could be referring to himself and Jodie, in which case the episode could end before the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration finishes. This would certainly be true if Ncuit Gatwa hadn’t been cast when the scene was shot which, according to new showrunner Russell T Davies, was the case.
“We have genuinely not cast anyone yet,” he said in an interview to The Guardian in December 2021. “We’re just starting auditions.”
Equally, it’s conceivable that the new Doctor was indeed on set for the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration, in which case a final shot of Ncuti Gatwa could happen. At the same time, the final shot could be something else entirely (like the TARDIS dematerialising) in which case the Fourteenth Doctor could be inserted into the episode at a later date.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that (presumably) Jodie Whittaker’s last episode will lead straight into the 60th anniversary special, which will be the first to be helmed by Russell T Davies and broadcast in November 2023. So perhaps the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration will finish in that episode, and viewers will get their first glimpse of the Fourteenth Doctor in 2023. Or even David Tennant?
Alternatively, fans could be subjected to an even longer wait. If the 60th anniversary special turns out to be a standalone episode – unrelated to the end of the Jodie Whittaker era – viewers may have to wait until Davies’ first full season before catching a glimpse of Doctor Fourteen.
Phew! Leave your speculations in the comments below. In the meantime, how do you feel about the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration scene taking place outside of the TARDIS?
This certainly isn’t an unprecedented idea. Whilst it has made sense in the series’ past to have the Doctor expire in the (relative safety) of his time and space machine (as with the First, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and War Doctors) there are exceptions.
The Second Doctor, for example, wasn’t given much say in the location of his regeneration; he was sentenced to death in the courtroom of the Time Lords, and even though his regeneration didn’t take place on-screen, it’s safe to assume that it happened on Gallifrey.
As for the Seventh Doctor, he was blown away by a gun-wielding gang in the backstreets of San Francisco, while the Eighth Doctor voluntarily triggered his own regeneration on the planet Karn after accepting the elixir of the planet’s Sisterhood.
But from a production and story-telling standpoint, regenerations that take place inside the TARDIS usually ensure a clean slate for the start of the next story and, in some cases, a whole new production team. As effective as the regenerations in stories like ‘Logopolis’ were, they did require their following adventures to effectively pick up where they left off; ‘Castrovalva’ is, in effect, ‘Logopolis Part Two,’ and this could have been confusing for new viewers. (It certainly was for me, as I saw ‘Castrovalva’ long before ‘Logopolis’!)
That is not to say that the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration will be confusing, but it does sound like it will be a break from the norm.
How do you want the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration to occur? Let me know in the comments below.
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