“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a Question will be asked, a question that must never, ever be answered,” and there, “Silence will fall.” The Doctor will die on Trenzalore.
Steven Moffat has confirmed that the Fiftieth Anniversary year that began with “The Bells of Saint John” will end with the Doctor facing his ultimate mortality in “The Fall of the Eleventh.” Despite the fact that Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor appeared in the skies of Gallifrey just before it slipped into the pocket universe, the Doctor has run out of regenerations.
According to Moffat, the Doctor used up a regeneration’s worth of regeneration energy when he transferred it into his severed hand in “Journey’s End”. The act created the Meta-Crisis Doctor, and resulted in there being, in essence, two Tenth Doctors. This means that the regeneration from the Tenth to the Eleventh Doctors was actually the thirteenth regeneration, and according to the “soft canon” of the series, thirteen is all you get unless you get some very special dispensations from the High Council or do something risky like siphon regeneration energy right out of the main Eye of Harmony on Gallifrey.
According to a source for the Daily Mirror “There have been two David Tennant Doctor Whos technically and with John Hurt playing another Doctor in the film, it basically means he can’t regenerate again. The riddle of the regeneration problem, something fans have talked about for decades, will be faced head on at Christmas. There is going to be another huge cliffhanger and somehow Peter Capaldi has to join and the series has to continue. The show’s big fans, known as Whovians, won’t believe their eyes at Christmas.”
So, how will Moffat get around this?
We cannot be quite sure. It’s possible that when the Eighth imbibed the elixir that Opilla gave him on Karn triggering his regeneration into the War Doctor that she gave him unlimited regenerations. It is possible that River Song’s sacrifice gave him more regenerations in the end. All we know is that Eleven goes into Trenzalore thinking he is going to his grave.
It may be that the last words of the Eleventh Doctor will be “I’m dying and there is nothing I can do about it.”
Saturday night, upwards of 100 million people worldwide (94 countries) watched Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor.” The episode featured Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and John Hurt as the War Doctor along with Tom Baker as “The Curator”, or possibly the Fourth Doctor. As mentioned in “Time Crash”, slipping out of the normal time stream and into the current incarnation’s era can affect the age of the Doctor. It was a devise used to explain why the Fifth Doctor looked so much older than he was when he regenerated from Five to Six.
Moffat stated that “The 12 regenerations limit is a central part of Doctor Who mythology – science fiction is all about rules, you can’t just casually break them. So if the Doctor can never change again, what’s Peter Capaldi doing in the Christmas special?”
Matt Smith added “I think what’s really clever about it is that what he [Moffat] has managed to do is change the mythology of the character – which, after 50 years, is an achievement.”
“The Fall of the Eleventh” will hit the BBC on 25 December.