There was no way for eagle-eyed fans to miss it: in the most recent ‘Doctor Who’ trailer for the upcoming season, the video ends a close-up shot of Peter Capaldi’s hand as the familiar golden aura begins to envelop it – the well-known sign of a Time Lord beginning the regeneration process. So, it stands to reason, then, that Capaldi’s final scene has already been shot, yes?
Maybe – but maybe not. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Capaldi says of the regeneration scene:
“I [shot the scene] the other day. It was a strange day. It was explosive. He goes out a fighter.”
It’s widely been assumed that Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor won’t be regenerating until this season’s Christmas episode – the final episode of the season, which isn’t set to begin filming until June. It’s conceivable that the ‘Doctor Who’ creative team – current showrunner Steven Moffat and impending new showrunner Chris Chibnall – has filmed this scene out-of-order already, or would even have the good Doctor regenerate before the season finale… but both scenarios seem unlikely, given the show’s history and the likely perceived slight of cutting Capaldi’s time as the Doctor short mid-season.
The more likely scenario is that Capaldi is being a bit cheeky with his response, and the Doctor may encounter a situation in the upcoming season where he begins to regenerate and the process is stopped somehow – a “fake-out” along similar veins that also occurred with Tenth Doctor David Tennant and Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith.
For his part, though, Capaldi sounds extremely sentimental about leaving the show. Fans who got to know the actor are well aware that he is a life-long fan of Doctor Who, having even written a fan letter as a child to the show. Of his swan song, Capaldi had this to say:
“It feels sad because you’re going to say goodbye to everybody you’ve worked with for three years… it’s sad because you know that you know you won’t be Doctor Who any more. But it’s sort of joyful because you’ve made it, you’ve survived it, and there are other things available for you to do. It’s a very special part. You don’t take it on to skim it or phone it in. You embrace it, and it takes over your life – completely.”
The new season of Doctor Who debuts on BBC on April 15, 2017.
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