Warning! SPOILERS ahead for « The Power of the Doctor »Jodie Whittaker’s regeneration scene at the end of « The Power of the Doctor » revealed David Tennant, and Doctor Who fans are freaking out. Tennant first appeared as the Tenth Doctor in 2005, replacing Christopher Eccleston after just one season. He led Doctor Who for five seasons until 2010, during which he became one of the most beloved actors to ever play the Doctor, with many comparing him to Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. Tennant’s Doctor last appeared for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, « The Day of the Doctor, » alongside Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor and John Hurt’s War Doctor.
Because of Tennant’s iconic time as the Doctor, Doctor Who fans were ecstatic when the BBC announced that he would be returning to the series for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary as well. The special episodes are scheduled to be released sometime in fall 2023, marking the return of both Russell T Davies as showrunner and other fan-favorite characters like Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble. It wasn’t clear how Tennant’s Doctor would reappear until Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor said her goodbyes in the Doctor Who Centenary special, « The Power of the Doctor. » The episode ends with Whittaker’s Doctor regenerating back into Tennant and a new set of clothes with a brief « Tag, you’re it » – to the Time Lord’s apparent confusion.
Naturally, this regeneration scene caused the Doctor Who fans to lose their minds. Many viewers took to Twitter to voice their excitement for Tennant’s return, particularly given the unexpected way it occurred. However, many also have questions about how exactly this could happen in the first place.
While every new Doctor Who regeneration is exciting, Tennant’s return to the role is especially so. His time as the Doctor was a critical factor in the long-running sci-fi series’ success after Davies revived the show. Not only was the actor’s portrayal relatable and charismatic, but the Tenth Doctor’s run also added a significant amount of lore to the Doctor Who universe, some of which (such as the Doctor’s ability to manipulate the regeneration process) may offer hints about Tennant’s reappearance as the Fourteenth Doctor. With that in mind, viewers will be expecting Tennant’s second run as the Doctor to bring similar changes to the show.
Of course, Tennant’s return isn’t expected to last long, since Ncuti Gatwa was teased in the 60th Anniversary specials’ trailer as the Fifteenth Doctor. It remains to be seen how the Doctor will transition from Tennant to Gatwa, but the three 2023 specials will have many questions to answer next fall. For now, Doctor Who fans can celebrate the return of one of the show’s most iconic Doctors.
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