After Jack Harkness was brought back to life by Bad Wolf Rose, he is unable to die, not even from old age. At the end of Last of the Time Lords, the Doctor comments on the fact that he doesn't know how Jack will look when he gets older.

Jack mentioned that he was once nicknamed the Face of Boe and from there looking back there are subtle hints which prove he is the Face of Boe:

  • Since the Doctor meets the Face of Boe further in the future, the Face of Boe, having been Jack, knew about Yana being the Master.

  • The Face of Boe has the distinction of being the oldest being in the universe, which fits with the side-effects of Jack's Immortality.

  • In Gridlock, the Face of Boe welcomed death. I remember Jack indicating at one point he was growing tired of not dying after having watched human history from 1869 after escaping Satellite 5.

However, with that said, the Face of Boe died, even though Jack can't die. However, not even the Doctor knew whether Jack could die of old age, so I am wondering: is there anything more concrete on whether Jack does become the Face of Boe?

  • 13
    Subtle hints? Subtle? More like great big bludgeoning hints. ..
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 8:36
  • 2
    Motion to rename jack-harknessto captain-jact-harkness Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 15:50
  • “The Face of Boe, they called me!” So subtle, one could easily miss it. “he is unable to die, not even from old age” — [citation needed]. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 16:07
  • "the Face of Boe died, even though Jack can't die" I'm not sure it was ever conclusive that Captain Jack cannot die, he has just always returned to life so far, thus making it a fair suggestion that he's actually immortal (but not proven to be the case forever). Seeing the Face of Boe die, if that is Jack, it's possible that the force behind his immortality tapered off near the end and he then died of natural causes (old, old age)
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 7:15
  • I love the theory (unless it's already confirmed) that Jack is the Face of Boe - the only thing that frustrates me is when Martha mentions the name "Face of Boe" in the episode "Utopia" - Jack doesn't give any kind of reaction. While the reasons for it are obvious, it takes from the fun just a little bit. Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 10:14

5 Answers 5


It's pretty much confirmed.

Jack says he was once known as the Face of Boe.

Used to be a poster boy, when I was a kid living in the Boeshane Peninsula. Tiny little place. I was the first one ever to be signed up for the Time Agency. They were so proud of me. The 'Face of Boe,' they called me.

[Martha and the Doctor exchange a significant glance and splutter incredulously]

No one ever says "Jack is the Face of Boe" on screen, but the suggestions are large, blunt, and numerous.

Outside the on-screen material, interviews and other meta materials confirm that Jack is intended to be the Face of Boe.

  • I'll just add that the TARDIS Data Core seems to confirm this, too. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 5:03
  • Jack is called the face of boe, he admits it to the doctor and martha after their encounter with the master Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 21:23
  • 1
    This isn't an in-universe confirmation of anything other than Jack's sense of humor and his knowledge that "The Face of Boe" exists and he's making a joke.
    – user31178
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 16:13
  • They're not "numerous". There is one.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 14:57

Well besides the whole blatant hint of him saying that he used to be known as the 'Face of Boe' in The Last of the Timelords.

  1. The whole thing with Boe knowing about Yana, the other time lord because Boe was there as Jack to learn about it and then tell him back in the past as Boe before it happened.

B or I mean 2. As he says earlier in Utopia,

Jack: And what about me? Can you fix that? Will I ever be able to die?

The Doctor: Nothing I can do. You’re an impossible thing, Jack.

Then in the episode New Earth,

The Doctor: There are legends you know. Saying that you’re millions of years old.

The Face of Boe: Now that would be impossible.

Other references made to it.

As for the whole couldn't die thing? Well even the TARDIS needs to fuel up at the rift, who's to say it just didn't take 5 billion years for his life force to run out. Since he was made immortal back on old earth and he was there for its destruction in the year 5 billion and there for New Earth.

Either way those are some more subtle hints that are overlooked in the face of him being called Face of Boe as a child .


The hints are rather clear. Jack is a time traveling person who is still effected by ageing, thus being incredibly different after x period of years, possibly millions. The show seems to signify the way he looks is due to him ageing past when he should have. Jack would not have commented on his gray hairs if they didn't tie in to the fact that he is still being affected by time, even though he can't die. In the Torchwood series Jack is killed countless times by a personification of death itself, which may be why he ended up being capable of dying. So, listing the facts, Jack is a time traveler, Jack ages like a normal person, Jack is possibly immortal, Jack died countless times to a death creature. It all seems to line up for why after millions of years or more he looks very different and can die. He even asked what would happen to him if he kept ageing while being unable to die, lol (I do want to add that Jack normally resurrects within minutes at most as seen in every other episode, however in Torchwood: End of Days, it takes him multiple days to come back, do with that information what you will)

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Do you have any support for Jack aging? The question notes that even the Doctor didn't know if he would age. And can you give evidence for him adapting/mutating? This seems very speculative.
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 13:05
  • 1
    Yes, "But I keep wondering, what about aging? Cause I can't die but I keep getting older, the odd little, gray hair, you know? What happens if I live for a million years?" from Last of the Time Lords. Since by this time Jack has been immortal for some years the sentence heavily implies that he notices himself ageing, including him pointing at his hair as if to show that he is getting older.
    – Yabi
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 13:35
  • @DavidW The way the sentence in the episode is structured, the Doctor doesn't know what will happen if he lives for a million years while still ageing, which then leads to the reveal that his (Jack's) nickname was "The Face of Boe".
    – Yabi
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 13:44
  • 1
    @DavidW I went ahead and removed the part about mutation/adaptation as it was speculative.
    – Yabi
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 14:13



Jack was born on the Boeshane peninsula, and as a child model he was nicknamed the face of Boe. In the Doctor Who episode "The Last Of The Time Lords" Jack says:

"When I was a kid, living in the Boeshane peninsula, I was the first one ever to be signed up for the Time Agency. They were so proud of me. The Face of Boe, they called me..."

There are also fan-thories linking the headless monks to his headie-ness. http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/61110/t1861687-how-captain-jack-harkness-became-face-of-boe/

David Comfirms it


The Face of Boe was announced as being pregnant in "The Long Game".

They even showed an image of the Face of Boe on the screens. That episode was set in the year 200,000. That's a relatively short time, evolutionarily speaking, for Jack to have evolved so drastically into the Face of Boe, absent some exogenous accelerant for genetic mutation.

Drawing from in-universe canon alone, we can conclude that Jack is NOT the Face of Boe, and Russel T. Davies has never confirmed it.

Per the Tardis Fandom Wiki:

Despite the revelation in Last of the Time Lords, the actual origin of the Face of Boe is still debated, with Davies himself waffling during the commentary for the episode as to whether Jack really is destined to become the Face of Boe. Producer Julie Gardner, however, has been more assertive in this regard, stating outright at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con that the Face of Boe is Jack Harkness. Similarly, the Torchwood Declassified featurette from Torchwood series 2 has John Barrowman, David Tennant and Russell T Davies stating that they believe the Face of Boe is Jack Harkness. In-universe, however, we only have Captain Jack's testimony.

  • 3
    Can you provide any sources to support your answer?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 15:53
  • 198,000 years isnt a long enough time for evolution ? Really ?
    – GamerGypps
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 15:33
  • 7
    Also, individuals don't evolve.
    – The Photon
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 16:21
  • @GamerGypps yes really. Humans haven't changed in that time so far.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 14:59

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