Wait... now the Doctor had lives before the William Hartnell incarnation?

Is this speculation, fanon or backed by aired episodes?

So, did you read this somewhere? Can you provide a link?

If you can access the last episode that aired, you will find that the showrunners have pretty much upended Whostory. I’ll not give spoilers, but…holy shit!

There is old speculation that the Tom Baker episode “Brain of Morbius” depicted pre-Hartnell Doctors, but apparently this is something new.

The last episode indicated that

the Doctor was “The timeless child,” who was the basis of the Time Lords’ ability to regenerate. The doctor him/herself has had many regenerations; the twelve-regeneration limit did not apply to him. The Time Lords wipe his/her memory from time to time so he/she doesn’t remember earlier regenerations.

I find it makes things needlessly complicated and sets up a Doctor ex machina scenario. I’d have to see how it plays out, but it is a major change in continuity.

Ahhh, gotcha; I haven’t yet seen it.

And, yes, that’s a major retcon/change; as I’ve always understood it, canon had, until this, always been that the Hartnell Doctor was his first incarnation.

That’s always been the official assumption. Some people have read things (notably in The Brain of Morbius) into it that could be interpreted as earlier regenerations, but that’s hardly the only explanation. This is a major change.

While the episode is cannon, the implications are not necessarily true.

As all of this info either came directly from, or could have been manipulated by, The Master.

That is a possible backdoor, but one thing stands in the way.


In your scenario, that’s no longer explained, which would entail an even bigger can of worms.

So wait; the Doctor is really Nathan Brazil?

If the Doctor has had innumerable incarnations, AND can time-travel, then that combination implies that the Doctor could be everyone in the universe. Today, and in all of history.

… Everyone except YOU, of course (with the “you” meaning every single viewer).

Talk about a paranoid fantasy: every person you’ve ever known, or even heard of, is the Doctor.

The new opening-sequence should heavily feature straitjackets…

Well, we know that isn’t true for Baltimore in 2050; they’re all Ernest Borgnines.

Let’s face it, Baltimore could do worse.

This video has details on this idea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImvVpBBiOYU

What’s more, they all have only one electron shared between them.

Let me just add that, way back in the Tennant days, they had the Doctor — uh, spoilers? Is there any point, at this point? — overwrite his memories and go undercover for a while as an ordinary human, charming a nurse or two while holding down a job as a schoolteacher and honestly believing himself to be the one-hearted son of a watchmaker from Nottingham.

Seems like it’s doubling down on the parts of the “reboot” that most older fans I’ve interacted with don’t like–the idea that the Doctor is this amazing special demigod rather than an everyman alien who helps when she can.

Before most of that didn’t bother me, as someone who came in with NuWho. But this? Yeah, I start to feel like they have a point. If the Doctor is this special, she loses a lot of appeal. The only way that sort of character works for me is if they then go on and do something big and amazing, and then the story ends or they drop out of the story.

If they’re just doing small things forever, despite being so special, then it’s kinda boring. It fails as both the everyman I can relate to, and the power fantasy of actually being special.

I think at whatever point they decided to bring a new actor into the role to replace Hartnell, they thought it might be a good idea to put some background as to how it’s happening, and in doing so they introduced a number limit on regenerations. Back then, I don’t think they could have conceived having the show remain popular for as long as it had that they’d want to change the lead actor as many times as they’ve had, but as they ran up against the limit that they initially created, they’ve constantly had to come up with new explanations as to why they’re “allowed” to change actors. It’s absolutely transparent that they’re making this stuff up as they go along, since no one plans 50 year arcs, but whatever they do with the canon has to be understood with that in mind. They can decide at any time that events in the past were some sort of illusion or fabrication such that they must be reinterpreted based on how the current staff of writers want to take the property.

Some history of regeneration in the series.

The first change of actors was necessitated by Hartnell’s declining health. It was shown as the Doctor operating a control on the TARDIS, then changing his face. He said that he had been “renewed” and this was “part of the TARDIS.” It was unstated whether or not this was his first time. He could have been renewing for hundreds of years.

For the second change of actor, the in-universe explanation was that he was sentenced by the Time Lords to having his appearance changed. The change was down to time lord power.

For the tenth season of the show, they made The Three Doctors, featuring all three actors. For the first time Hartnell was explicitly stated to be the original Doctor, with no predecessors.

At the end of the 11th season, when the actor changed again, the in-story explanation was that his body was wrecked by radiation, so he had to get another one. This was the first time the term “regeneration” was used, and the first time it was shown as an innate ability, rather than requiring equipment to make the change.

Then came The Deadly Assassin in the 14th season. This is where the 12-regeneration limit was first mentioned. The story features the dying Master trying to extend his life beyond his allocation. And it is stated to be an allocation, rather than some natural limit.

Other stories expanded on this. Regeneration is a thing that can be given, taken away, or transferred. Underworld showed the crew of a spaceship on a quest that has lasted one hundred thousand years. The Time Lords granted them the ability to regenerate without limit. They needed a Time Lord device to do it. Mawdryn Undead showed some people who had stolen a device, trying to get regeneration. It didn’t work out well for them. The Five Doctors showed the Master being offered regeneration as a payment for helping in a crisis, while even the President can’t take extra regenerations just because he wants to. Some stories showed Time Lords attempting to steal regenerations from other Time Lords.

And in various stories the Doctor commented on the number of his past incarnations, how many regenerations he has used, the number he has remaining, and so on. This repeatedly confirmed that Hartnell was the first.

So now in the most recent story all that continuity has been thrown away, and it turns out that there were pre-Hartnell incarnations, that the Doctor forgot about, and the Doctor always had unlimited regenerations. This story sucks on so many levels.

So, the Doctor is Krishna?