Will Peter Capaldi regenerate in next week’s Doctor Who?

The truth is slightly complicated – and contains potential spoilers

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We could be getting a surprise regeneration in next week’s Doctor Who – but not exactly as we’d expected.

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As you may well know, current Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi will be leaving the sci-fi series at the end of the year, with the Scottish actor’s version of the 2,000-year-old alien set to regenerate into a new incarnation (played by a new actor) this Christmas. 

However, over the last few weeks the series has teased that the change could actually arrive earlier than expected, with trailers showing the Doctor bathed in the golden glow of the regeneration sequence and Capaldi himself hinting that he’d already shot the scene months before it was expected.

Because of this, we’ve spent a while trying to work out exactly how and why such a twist would happen, and while we’re pretty sure it won’t be a real full regeneration (the logistics of pulling this surprise off are just too difficult), we could certainly be seeing the Doctor heal himself then siphon off the energy without changing his face, as David Tennant’s incarnation did in a 2008 episode.

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The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) begins to regenerate

For a while we assumed that this regeneration would be used to heal the Doctor’s blindness (inflicted by exposing himself to the vacuum of space in fifth episode Oxygen), but the events of the latest episode proved this untrue when the evil Monks instead fixed his eyesight in return for dominion over Earth.

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However, the new trailer for Doctor Who’s next episode The Lie of the Land seems to have finally put this mystery to bed, because it’s clearly revealed when, where and why the Doctor will start the regeneration process. In the footage, we see the Doctor working as some sort of Fake News distributor for the Monks (very trendy) in a sparse white room – the very room that trailer footage shows him regenerating in (see main image).

In said room, companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) is forced into a drastic act to break whatever mass delusion the Monks have inflicted upon the human race, apparently gunning down the Doctor to save everyone else. Now, obviously the Doctor won’t really die here as we’ve seen footage of him in following episodes Empress of Mars and The Eaters of Light, so there must be some other way he heals his injuries.

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Bill (Pearl Mackie) appears to shoot the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) in episode 8

Accordingly, then, this must be how the Doctor regenerates – wounded by the gunshots, in that white room, in that outfit and in next week’s episode. We’re still not sure why it isn’t a full regeneration – maybe the presence of Michelle Gomez’s fellow Time Lord Missy in the episode has something to do with it – but we’re pretty sure we finally have this enduring mystery solved.

Unless of course, we’ve completely misread everything and this is a MASSIVE triple bluff for the surprise introduction of Kris Marshall’s Doctor in next week’s episode. At this stage, we’d hardly be surprised.

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Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Saturday 3rd June at 7:35pm