Just a week or so after a new Doctor Who series 10 trailer seemed to give a hint of Peter Capaldi's Doctor starting to regenerate months before fans expected it, the actor himself has claimed that the pivotal scene has already been shot – and that the Twelfth incarnation “goes out a fighter”.
"I did [the regeneration] the other day," Capaldi told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It was a strange day. It was explosive. He goes out a fighter."
Considering Capaldi’s final Christmas episode hasn’t even started shooting yet (it begins filming in June), this news will be a shock to many, suggesting that we could be seeing a new actor in the role by the end of the current series.
However, given that new head writer Chris Chibnall (who will be casting the new Doctor) isn’t taking over showrunning duties until the end of the Christmas episode, it seems unlikely. So perhaps Capaldi is referring to the regeneration scene already glimpsed in the below trailer, which most fans believe to be a fake-out in the vein of similar halted regenerations for David Tennant and Matt Smith’s former Doctors.
In other words, it seems likely that Capaldi’s Doctor will begin to regenerate this series only for the process to be halted, and then completed in the Christmas special when he transforms into Chibnall’s new Doctor. After all, if the early regeneration was real, why spoil it in the trailers?
Of course, if the scenes Capaldi claims he’s filmed are the real regeneration, perhaps they were shot earlier than the rest of the Christmas episode, or maybe they'll be included in some sort of prophetic vision in the upcoming series – but based on what we do know, they probably don’t mean he’s leaving any earlier than we expected.
In other words, as with his previous selves, the next Doctor will probably still arrive on time.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Saturday 15th April at 7:20pm