Doctor Who series 12 finale The Timeless Children included all sorts of shocking revelations about Jodie Whittaker’s time-travelling hero the Doctor, most notably that she was the true source of the body-changing regeneration ability that was a foundation of Time Lord Society.
As it turned out the Doctor wasn’t from Gallifrey after all, Time Lord history was rewritten and she’d once been a mysterious being from another dimension nicknamed The Timeless Child, before her memories were removed and her life began anew after years of unknown adventures.
Really, there were so many surprise changes, you’d think nobody could have seen it coming – but some people actually did.
Million of years ago, the Gallifreyans captured a ‘Timeless Child’ with special abilities (immortality, regeneration, something like that) and used her to somehow turn themselves into Time Lords. This child grows up to be the ‘Ruth’ Doctor. (2/7) pic.twitter.com/PPINJvuJ3O
— The Confession Dial (@DialConfession) January 31, 2020
Look back through Twitter over the course of series 10 and you can see that quite a few fans predicted at least parts of the finale’s story, even if they didn’t quite put the pieces together.
It's going to be pre hartnell but I think it's gonna be doctor = timeless child source of regeneration And there for can never die (Ruth) mind wiped doctor is brought up to believe he's gallifreyan and there for becomes a time Lord (hartnell) it also clears up the 1/2
— TWWASC (@TWWASC) February 27, 2020
Many fans had made the connection between the “Timeless” name and the Time Lord’s system of regeneration (as did RadioTimes.com, to be fair), but some went even more into specifics, almost entirely matching the revelations of the series 12 finale.
My theory is that the Doctor is the Timeless Child. And somehow Time Lords experimented on them to gain regeneration, then wiped their memory. That's why Ruth!Doc tried fleeing from them..
— Resa ☄ (@MastersHearts) February 24, 2020
In just this small collection of tweets, quite a few fans were kicking around the Timeless Child = regeneration idea, and while not everything is nailed on – Jo Martin’s “Ruth” Doctor is apparently a few bodies down the line from the original Timeless Child – it’s a testament to Who fans’ ingenuity that they managed to spot the connection.
My #DoctorWho prediction is that Ruth is the Timeless Child, and was employed to give the Time Lords power of regeneration. Gat was her jailor, and Lee might be either connected to, or actually, the Master.
— The Michael Of Destiny (@MichaelF141) February 2, 2020
Still, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. There’s so much chat about Doctor Who online that some theories were bound to come true, and it’s no shade on the production team that some people managed to figure it out. After all, all the speculation and theorising is part of the fun!
Yeah I agree it wouldn't make sense
But it's still my guess that this original Ruth Doctor is the timeless child, the Time Lords used her immortality to gain the power of regeneration, and the Doctor was reborn after this.
— Quinton Reviews ???? (@Q_Review) February 1, 2020
And given just many many hundreds of thousands of tweets have been sent out into the ether about the current series of Doctor Who, it’s still a tiny proportion of people who have only partially predicted bits of the Doctor’s true history. How many other fan theory tweets are there that get it completely wrong?
Ruth Doctor is The Timeless Child. Has the ability to regenerate endlessly. The Time Lords discover this & probably experiment on her so regeneration can become a feature of the species as a whole.
Chibnall is going to change canon on the Doctors origin & the origin of regens.
— Raphael Kiyani (@Raphael_Kiyani) January 30, 2020
As much as we wrote a piece suggesting how regeneration could be rewritten in the Timeless Child storyline, we also published a feature pondering whether the current series would resolve the “series 6B” mystery and place Jo Martin in between the Second and Third Doctors. If we’re all being honest with ourselves, we have to own our pie-in-the-sky, incorrect theories as much as the ones we got right.
Though with that said, the guy who predicted the Morbius Doctors’ canonisation in early January… genius.
I wonder if the Timeless Child in #DoctorWho may lead to the Morbius incarnations being finally acknowledged as being official regeneration in a regen cycle before Hartnell just as how @StuartHumphryes managed to canonize them in @Ten_Doctors series! 😉 #DoctorWhoSeries12 pic.twitter.com/Xh6ZyfAuTB
— Jaspreet????????Singh #FreeJaggiNow (@TheJazNetwork) January 6, 2020
We’re beginning to suspect a few of you have time machines of your own… or at least an uncle at the BBC.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One for a festive episode in late 2020/early 2021