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To regenerate or not regenerate? That is the question currently at the at the heart of Doctor Who. And while we know Peter Capaldi’s Doctor will change into another incarnation of the Time Lord come the Christmas special, it’s a change the character himself is doing all he can to avoid.
But why? What reason did our screaming Gallifreyan hero have to extinguish his regeneration energy in the snow during the series 10 finale? Why is The Doctor refusing to regenerate?
Well, as departing Who showrunner Steven Moffat explains, regenerating is a process a tad more painful than ‘man flu’, as The Doctor previously suggested in series 9 finale Hell Bent. “The turmoil of regeneration, while it extends your life, does sacrifice parts of you that you want to keep. It’s too radical a change,” Moffat explained in a behind-the-scenes video. “What [The Doctor] is saying is that actually, I can’t keep on being somebody else.
“He’s gone past his original regeneration cycle and here he is contemplating it again. He’s been the Capaldi Doctor for a long time and he’s just saying ‘let me be me’. That was what Bill was saying [in The Doctor Falls] – if I can’t be me then I don’t want to live.”
Moffat also added that rather than being just reluctant to make the change, The Doctor is plain terrified of the process: “He’s frightened and horrified that yet again he has to do this ghastly thing where he won’t know what he looks like, won’t know how he sounds, what’ll he’ll end up with.”
Well, Whovians are somewhat stuck in the same boat/Tardis at The Doctor – despite some rumours, the fandom isn’t yet sure what form the Time Lord will next take. When will we found out? Keep your glowing yellow fingers crossed it’s soon.
Doctor Who will return this Christmas