In The Time of the Doctor, the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) reveals that this is his

final regeneration, that there can be no more. (Naturally this is resolved later, but I digress)

During Matt Smith's run we see the Doctor go off on extended vacations, spend a few hundred years (off show) away, etc. So, he's expecting something, maybe that's it. But is there any actual foreshadowing relating to his fate?

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    I'm pretty sure you answered your own question there, in your parentheses. May 2, 2015 at 3:00
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    No, there's no foreshadowing. There's no shadowing whatsoever. He explicitly says that he's going to die, then goes on a "last hurrah" tour of the universe.
    – Valorum
    May 2, 2015 at 6:03
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit I meant, foreshadowing of this specifically. Yes, he's been acting sad (and more aloof than previous doctors) the whole run, but I'm wondering if the cause is given any foreshadowing.
    – MPelletier
    May 2, 2015 at 13:06
  • Instead of confusing people by saying "the (12th) Doctor" when you're actually talking about Matt Smith's Doctor, I've edited it for you. The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) is still called the "11th" but is the 13th iteration, he is the result of the 12th regeneration, and also the 12th face he's had. So, for simplicity and to avoid confusion, let's just say 11th since that still counts.
    – RedCaio
    Feb 10, 2016 at 2:19
  • @RedCaio Thanks. I meant 11. I simply misremembered which number he was. I didn't mean any of the other hullabaloo with war doctors and things. 11th means 11th.
    – MPelletier
    Feb 10, 2016 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


No, to all appearances the 12th Doctor acts as someone resigned to his fate.

Based on Matt Smith's performance - including the years of vacation at a time - we have every reason to believe that the 12th Doctor truly thought his life was coming to an end. This is a being to which Death has never truly been a threat before now, as he always knew there would be a regeneration and then the adventure would continue. But THIS time... this time the death would be final, and the Doctor appears to have accepted that as the truth. In true Doctor Who form, he simply wanted to get out there and see/do things before his time was up.

In fact, this is reflected in what he believed to be his final words to Clara:

DOCTOR: No. You're going to stay here. Promise me you will.


DOCTOR: I'll be keeping you safe. One last victory. Allow me that. Give me that, my impossible girl. Thank you. And goodbye.

Apparently, the cycle reset was as much a surprise to The Doctor as it was to the audience. Up until the very moment when his cycle is reset, he appears to honestly believe that his death is imminent, with no way to escape this time:

DOCTOR: Sorry I'm a bit slow. I may not be at my best right now.

DALEK [OC]: You are dying, Doctor.

DOCTOR: Yes, I'm dying. You've been trying to kill me for centuries, and here I am, dying of old age. If you want something done, do it yourself.

DALEK [OC]: You will die, and the Time Lords will never return.

DOCTOR: You still can't work up the courage to shoot me, can you? You're still worried I've got something up my sleeve. Well, you knock yourselves out, boys. I've got nothing this time.

(Flying Daleks fire at the troops on the ground, making the townsfolk scream. Then the crack opens in the sky and golden regeneration energy enters the Doctor's mouth. His eyes widen in surprise and his hands begin to glow.)

DALEK [OC]: You will die now, Doctor. This is the end of you.

(The crack disappears.)

DALEK [OC]: The rules of regeneration are known. You have expended all your lives.

DOCTOR: Sorry, what did you say? Did you mention the rules? Now, listen. Bit of advice. Tell me the truth if you think you know it. Lay down the law if you're feeling brave. But, Daleks, never, ever tell me the rules!

DALEK [OC]: Emergency! Emergency! The Doctor is regenerating!

(The Tower clock strikes twelve. The Doctor is feeling more youthful already, although he doesn't look it.)

DALEK [OC]: The Doctor is regenerating!

DOCTOR: Oh, look at this. Regeneration number thirteen. We're breaking some serious science here, boys. I tell you what, it's going to be a whopper!

  • Not much as a surprise to the audience since we already knew Capaldi had been cast. Still, good answer.
    – tilley31
    May 4, 2015 at 17:25
  • @tilley31: well, true. I just meant that we had no idea HOW it would happen. I was fairly shocked - I mean, no clue what's going to happen and then BAM a huge hole opens and zaps the Doctor.
    – Omegacron
    May 4, 2015 at 17:30
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    Holding Capaldi's casting as a secret would've made that moment more powerful. Although making us think that we were watching the last ever Doctor Who episode would've been cruel...
    – tilley31
    May 4, 2015 at 17:44
  • @tilley31: agreed, that would have been epic. As it was, I knew somehow they'd finagle a way into the Capaldi reveal, I just wasn't expecting it to happen the way it happened.
    – Omegacron
    May 4, 2015 at 17:54
  • I think he saw hints of future incarnations, but didn't know the circumstances of their creation. For all he knew, some future fixed-point may get so bent that whatever last minute save doesn't happen. So he couldn't count on surviving, even with the hints.
    – CTMacUser
    Jan 14, 2016 at 22:54

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