In the events of The Day of The Doctor we see that

the Moment's interface aka Billie Piper/Bad Wolf brings the 13 Doctors to Gallifrey on the last day of the Time War to save Gallifrey. Now why 13?

Peter Capaldi is still a future regeneration, therefore we know that Billie Piper can bring "future" Doctors to the scene.. therefore why didn’t she bring the 14th or 15th Doctor too?

I guess this could only mean one thing: that Peter Capaldi is the LAST DOCTOR... and this would mean Doctor Who is coming to an end.

Is this true? Is Peter Capaldi the last Doctor?

  • 14
    Nah, they'll just make up some lame excuse later. But we'll like it. – Voldemort Nov 25 '13 at 9:32
  • 1
    “Peter Capaldi is still a future regeneration” — from the perspective of the War Doctor, who activated The Moment, so are Eccleston, Tennant and Smith. – Paul D. Waite Nov 25 '13 at 18:08
  • 6
    I don’t think this is really a duplicate of the “can The Doctor only regenerate 12 times” question. It’s asking about a more specific plot point from The Day of the Doctor, and whether that means the show is going to end. – Paul D. Waite Nov 25 '13 at 18:09

12 Answers 12


This is unlikely. While the canon status of the Doctor's limited number of regenerations is sufficiently problematic that it is unclear whether time lords do in fact still have a limited number of regenerations in canon (it's never been mentioned in new Who), it was certainly used as a significant plot point in the "Trial of a Time Lord" arc in Season 23 (the Valeyard's reward for successfully prosecuting the Sixth Doctor would have been to receive his seven remaining regenerations) and does form a clear part of the Doctor's complete history.

However, when the War Doctor is included, Matt Smith represents The Doctor's 11th regeneration, so Peter Capaldi is likely to be the 13th incarnation of the Doctor. This would make him the final one according to the classic model, although as we've seen there does appear to be at least one mechanism for adding new regenerations.

However, there is strong evidence in Day of the Doctor that the Doctor will have re-incarnations after the Capaldi Doctor. (Spoilers below.)

In Tom Baker's cameo appearance as the museum curator at the end of the episode, he suggests that he is "trying on an old face". This strongly implies, in concert with the other dialogue in this scene, that the curator is in fact a regeneration of the Doctor from after the Capaldi doctor, and that the Doctor's story does not therefore end with him.

(May I just take a parenthetical moment to curse Stephen Moffat for making the numbering of Doctors more confused, even as I applaud his creativity.)

EDITED TO ADD: Following the events of the 2013 Christmas special, The Time of the Doctor, we now have better information as to whether the 12 regeneration limit will be a problem for Capaldi's doctor. Specifically:

The Matt Smith Doctor is the 13th and, so far as he is aware at the start of this episode, final incarnation of The Doctor. In addition to the War Doctor incarnation mentioned above, David Tennant's use of regeneration energy to heal himself in Journey's End also used up a regeneration. However, during the Christmas special, the Doctor is granted an unspecified amount of extra regeneration energy as a reward for having saved Gallifrey from the Daleks in "Day of the Doctor". Capaldi is therefore the Doctor's 13th regeneration, one beyond the canonical limit, and there are an unspecified number of regenerations left to him.

  • 1
    “making the numbering of Doctors more confused” — I know, right? Now, forever, 9th/10th/11th/12th is going to be thoroughly confusing. Hopefully we can all agree to refer to Capaldi as the 13th. – Paul D. Waite Nov 25 '13 at 18:05
  • 2
    I thought that, since the regeneration of Eight into the War Doctor was Karn-induced, it didn't really count as a regeneration. However, IF Capaldi is number 13, we should also see the Valeyard in the upcoming Christmas episode, shouldn't we? – Mr Lister Nov 25 '13 at 20:18
  • 2
    In Universe: The Master has circumvented the 12 regeneration limit at least three times since his 12th. I don't believe that the War Doctor counts because his regeneration came from the Sister. -- Out of universe, he will regenerate as long as BBC makes money. – SteveED Nov 26 '13 at 3:14
  • 4
    @MichaelEdenfield The limit of 13 may be artificial, but it's definitely real. The Doctor can't regenerate more than 12 times. Now the High Council could give people more regenerations if they wanted to, but nobody can do it by himself. So after the 12th time, it's the end of the line for him. Shame, really, that the Time Lords are all dead. Oh, wait... – Mr Lister Nov 26 '13 at 11:09
  • 2
    You might want to update this answer, per the events of Time of the Doctor. It's now confirmed the Meta-Crisis Doctor counted as a regeneration, and so did the War Doctor. In addition, the Time Lords granted the Doctor a fresh set of regenerations, with Peter Capaldi being the first. – user1027 Dec 26 '13 at 18:57

It is likely that she did not bring the 14th and 15th etc doctors because they have not been cast yet and juggling that potential minefield was not worth the hassle.

In universe it is probably that they did not need any more doctors for the job and therefore did not bring them as it would just add to the potential confusion. What if Dr 14 did not agree for some reason and spoiled things etc.

Dr Who will continue to run for as long as it has fans and the BBC are making money off it. Capaldi might be the last Dr I guess but it so then this plot point would only be a coincidence.


Traditionally a Time Lord is only entitled to 12 regenerations - therefore 13 lives/faces

In that case there should only ever be 13 "Doctors" and that is what we saw at "The Fall of Gallifrey".

However, The Master was offered a new set of regenerations by the Time Lords in "The Five Doctors" so this is presumably something that they can control. (spoilers below)

And in fact The Curator hints that this may well be what will happen at some point during Capaldi's run

  • 2
    Note that this question isn't actually about the regeneration limit, but about the fact that only 13 incarnations show up to save Gallifrey. Somebody even says something to the effect of "all 13 of them." No amount of "Sisters of Karn don't count" or "the limit was reset" exposition will explain away that "all". – Martha Nov 28 '13 at 0:04
  • 1
    @Martha I think the regeneration "limit" is entirely relevant. A normal Time Lord will have 13 faces, therefore, when they see 13 Doctors saving the planet, they say "all" 13. At that point in Gallifrey's timeline, they don't know they'll be giving him more regenerations. – Adeptus Nov 3 '14 at 3:01
  • @Martha You know how you can explain it? Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey. – KSmarts Jan 8 '15 at 21:49

Could be that the 14th doctor, and onwards, remembered that 13 was enough to save the day. He/They could get back to building a new K9...


If you do not count the War Doctor as an official regeneration, then you cannot count the Third Doctor either. While the Sister did enduce Eighth's regeneration, the Time Lords forced the Second Doctor's as a result of his involvment in "The War Games". Obviously we count Three, meaning we must also count the War Doctor. The whole premise behind the War Doctor was he was the "one who broke the promise", thus not counting him as a number, however he is a regeneration of the Doctor nonetheless. Capaldi's doctor will be the "Twelfth Doctor", however it will be the Doctor's 13th face. The show will continue so long as there is profit. The 13 Doctor cap could hypothetically be broken if Capaldi did infact return to Gallifrey and they gave him an additional set of X regenerations as a result for saving them.

For the record:The Doctor did not cross his time line. He did not break the Time Lock. The reason the timestreams were crossed was because of the Moment. The Moment linked War to Ten and Eleven, and then helped in bringing the 13 original (first thirteen faces) to Gallifrey.

Tentoo/Tentwo(Meta Crisis) does not actually count as a regeneration. This was proven when Smith was given the number 11. Ten did not fully regenerate, rather he stopped the process once he healed and sent the excess energy into his hand.

  • 2
    You might want to update this answer, per the events of Time of the Doctor. – user1027 Dec 26 '13 at 18:55

My take is that the Karn-induced regeneration reset the clock in one of two ways: either the "War Doctor" regen doesn't count against the total (so we have one more to go after Capaldi); or the regen count was reset to zero, meaning we can have another Baker's Dozen* of Doctors. (*you betcha the pun is intentional)

  • Note that this question isn't actually about the regeneration limit, but about the fact that only 13 incarnations show up to save Gallifrey. Somebody even says something to the effect of "all 13 of them." No amount of "Sisters of Karn don't count" or "the limit was reset" exposition will explain away that "all". – Martha Nov 28 '13 at 0:03

Right okay, Christopher Eccleston was the ninth doctor, the war doctor was the eighth doctor from a different timeline. The war doctor said he wouldn't remember any of the events he took part in, because the doctors personal timeline had been changed, therefore altering the actual existence of Gallifrey. When the tenth doctor was in regeneration phase, he lost his hand to the Sycorax in a sword fight. It grew back, but he kept the hand anyway. When he was shot by the Dalek, he focussed his regeneration energy into the hand, therefore using a regeneration. So in that sense, David Tennant was the tenth AND eleventh doctor. Matt Smith was the twelfth doctor, and in The Day of the Doctor, Peter Capaldis first line (which was awesome by the way), was "No sir, ALL thirteen!", not THE thirteenth. So for those above reasons, I believe that Peter Capaldis incarnation is the last one.

  • 1
    No, the War Doctor is the true Ninth Doctor (he didn't call himself the Doctor during the Time War, as said by 11), because he's the result of the 8th Doctor's regeneration, after wanting to become a warrior, to have the strength and will to actually fight in the Time War (that meant killing a fare few people, but for a good cause). Eccleston is the 10th incarnation, Tennant is the 11th, then there's his aborted 12th incarnation, and then there's Smith, who's the 13th incarnation. Capaldi is the 14th, because of the new regeneration cycle. – L.J Rob Jan 8 '15 at 21:22

Bare with this. Eighth doctor dies. Time war is time locked. They introduced the concept that the doctor can break the time lock. Therefore a later doctor can prevent the war, thus resetting back to the Eighth and they can continue on alternate regenerations who do not even have to be eccleston, tennant, smith, or capaldi. It is doctor who. It changes in wibily-wobily ways.

  • Exactly. There could be a third time stream, where every single incarnation of the new regeneration cycle (or cycles), join the other Doctors to Time Lock Gallifrey, or use another method of saving it. – L.J Rob Jan 8 '15 at 21:41

Although Time Lords are naturally limited to twelve regenerations, it has long been known that this limit can be circumvented. Even if we restrict ourselves to only examining the new series, we've seen many different possible ways around the limit, and there was evidence of others in the old series too. All the BBC needs to do is pick one when the time comes.

That said, it is worth noting that multiple times in both the old and new series, characters with reason to know the truth of the matter have treated The Doctor's thirteenth incarnation as his last, and we don't have any reason to think that they were all lying. Whatever method the BBC chooses, they'll need to explain this. I think it's likely that his next regeneration will involve some sort of radical change, such that the Twelfth Doctor actually is the last one From A Certain Point of View. But I've no clue how exactly they would pull this off, nor what ramifications it might have.

  • 1
    What other ways are there to circumvent the Regeneration limit? Could you please elaborate? – Adeetya Dec 6 '13 at 1:05

@user20003: the 12th/14th Doctor is not the last regeneration, because he's pretty much the next generation William Hartnell (1st Doctor of the new regeneration cycle). Pretty much the start of a whole new generation of Doctor Who. The reason why his future incarnations (13/15, 14/16, 15/17 etc.) didn't appear, is simply because there are no 13th, 14th, and 15th Doctors yet, as no actors have been given or offered the roles yet. By the way, the all 13 line wasn't Capaldi (I didn't hear any Scottish accent), it was a another Time Lord on the ship that was being attacked by the Daleks. One Time Lord said "I never knew when I was well off! All 12 of them?". Then the other Time Lord replied "No sir, all 13!"


Maybe Capaldi will be the last Doctor named " the Doctor" , And moffat comes up with a new persona ? eg the proffessor!!!? and this new persona gets a new set of regenerations .

  • 1. Very speculative. 2. If Moffat did that, the fans would riot. – Adeptus Nov 3 '14 at 3:04
  • Nah, the 11th Doctor called it a whole new regeneration cycle for a reason, meaning at least 12 more regenerations – L.J Rob Jan 8 '15 at 21:48

Peter is actually the 14th Doctor. Steven confirmed it just a day ago. John Hurt is the 9th Doctor, & “Ten”'s regeneration into Tentoo is the 12th Doctor. This makes Matt the 13th Doctor.

No, the most successful sci-fi show on the planet will not come to an end because "the doctor can't regenerate anymore."

  • 4
    “Steven confirmed it just a day ago.” — reference? – Paul D. Waite Nov 26 '13 at 13:06
  • 1
    And I don’t think @Adeetya is suggesting that the BBC will be forced to cancel a profitable and popular TV show due to its internal continuity. I think the question is asking whether the upcoming 12th regeneration suggests that the BBC are intending to end it with the death of the 13th, given that the 12-regenerations rule hasn’t been obviously repudiated in the show. It’s not a completely out-of-the-box suggestion — the last episode of series 7 did feature The Doctor visiting his own grave. (I don’t think they are either, but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question.) – Paul D. Waite Nov 26 '13 at 13:11
  • 2
    I must admit I have no idea what you mean by "ten's regeneration into Tentoo". – Christi Nov 27 '13 at 19:15
  • 1
    Note that this question isn't actually about the regeneration limit, but about the fact that only 13 incarnations show up to save Gallifrey. Somebody even says something to the effect of "all 13 of them." No amount of "Sisters of Karn don't count" or "the limit was reset" exposition will explain away that "all". – Martha Nov 28 '13 at 0:03
  • @Christi "Tentoo", aka Tentwo, aka The Metacrisis Doctor. The alternate version of Tennant's Doctor created by the Doctor's and Donna's near-death experiences in the vicinity of Ten's spare hand. – Adeptus Nov 3 '14 at 3:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.