In the Doctor Who series eight opener Deep Breath, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor looks in the mirror and asks himself, “Why this one? Why did I choose this face? It’s like I’m trying to tell myself something. Like I’m trying to make a point. But what is so important that I can’t just tell myself what I think?”
It’s the show’s only reference so far to the fact that we’ve seen the Twelfth Doctor’s face before – when Capaldi appeared as Roman merchant Lucius Caecilius Iucundus in series-four Tenth-Doctor episode The Fires of Pompeii and as Home Office permanent secretary John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
Yet it appears that Steven Moffat is not done with the mystery of where the Doctor’s faces pop up from, with the showrunner confirming in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine that series nine will again address just, “who frowned me this face?”
Responding to a reader asking whether we’ll ever get a solid explanation for the similarities, Moffat says that, “yes, we’re coming back to that idea. In fact, we’ll be shooting the scene in question really quite shortly…”
Intriguing. So what could Moffat’s explanation be? Well, speaking last year, he did reveal that he might draw upon an idea from former showrunner Russell T Davies.
“We are aware that Peter Capaldi’s played a part in Doctor Who before and we’re not going to ignore the fact,” he told to Nerd3. “I’ll let you in on this. I remember Russell told me he had a big old plan as to why there were two Peter Capaldis in the Who universe, one in Pompeii and one in Torchwood. When I cast Peter, [Russell] got in touch to say how pleased he was, I said ‘Okay, what was your theory and does it still work?’ and he said ‘Yes it does, here it is’. So I don’t know if we’ll get to it… we’ll play that one out over time. It’s actually quite neat.
“The big fun question is, we know that the Doctor when he regenerates, the faces, it’s not set from birth, it’s not that he was always going to be one day Peter Capaldi. We know that’s the case because in [Second Doctor story] The War Games he has a choice of face and all that. We know it’s not set so where does he get those faces from? They can’t just be randomly generated because they’ve got lines and they’ve aged… so where did that face come from?”
Elsewhere in Doctor Who Magazine, Moffat addresses the possibility of there being a good Weeping Angel in the universe, and whether Michelle Gomez’s incarnation of the Master came after John Simm’s.
Doctor Who Magazine 486 is on sale now