This wouldn’t be the first time that an actor returned to Doctor Who in a major way, of course. Colin Baker played Time Lord Commander Maxil in 1983's “Arc of Infinity” before he became the Sixth Doctor a year later, and Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor famously touched upon just why the Doctor had chosen the face of a man he’d already met, Capaldi’s character Caecilius from 2008's “The Fires of Pompeii,” as a lesson for their latest incarnation to learn two regenerations later. But it would be the first time we’ve seen a Time Lord regenerate into a likeness they had previously inhabited in a prior regeneration.

That said, we do know that with enough practice Time Lords can have a level of influence over their regeneration, as well as rapidly change form with the residual cellular energy unleashed in the immediate aftermath. Tennant’s own 10th doctor reformed a severed hand within 15 hours of his regeneration in his debut story, “The Christmas Invasion,” and then in the aforementioned “Journey’s End,” delayed potential regeneration after suffering a fatal wound by channeling his regenerative energy into that severed hand, creating a part-human, part-Time Lord “Metacrisis” being with his own likeness. In classic Doctor Who, Romana, the Time Lord companion of the Fourth Doctor, chose to regenerate between the 16 and 17th seasons of the series, “trying on” a number of bodies before eventually settling on the likeness of Lalla Ward’s character Princess Astra from “The Armageddon Factor,” who Romana had met the year prior.

So it’s not like Doctor Who wouldn’t be able to find a way to explain why the Doctor has a new-old face. Especially if, as this alleged rumor explains, Tennant would be still be playing an entirely new incarnation of the Doctor, rather than the 10th Doctor all over again. That said...


How Likely Is It, Really?

Image for article titled Doctor Who's Future Is Being Blown Apart by a Bizarre New Rumor
Image: BBC

... The real answer is probably not, and this is just a fanbase—stuck in the strange period of having to wait over a year for the “current” era of Doctor Who with Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall to end, and a new one to begin—going a little bonkers in the process. Tennant has, of course, not been afraid to return to his time on Doctor Who in the years since he first left. He reprised the 10th Doctor for the series’ 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” and in years since has returned to voice the character in audio adventures at Big Finish.

But there’s a very big difference between Tennant reprising his past role in ancillary material and him returning as the latest Doctor on TV. And considering this rumor has managed to garner such high levels of attention outside of even usual fan circles, with the BBC saying nothing about it, likely means that it’s not even worth denying in an official capacity. That, and “David Tennant is coming back to Doctor Who to save the show” has been a rumor before, to bludgeon whatever latest creative decision someone was upset by. Time will tell if this is all wibbly wobbly nonsense, but don’t get too excited while we endure the long wait to learn more about the next Doctor.


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