How many lives does the Doctor have on “Doctor Who”? That question has been up for debate by fans for years, as there’s never been on solid answer. Now it sounds like there is, as showrunner Steven Moffat says, definitively, the Doctor can regenerate 12 times.
That leads many fans to think that Peter Capaldi would be the last Doctor, however that’s not necessarily the case. Since Capaldi is the 12th Doctor, this will technically be the 11th regeneration, unless a Doctor was missed along the way. Some want to count John Hurt’s character, described as the dark Doctor, in the upcoming 50th anniversary episode, but there’s still no way of knowing what his story actually is, or if he counts as a regeneration.
To make matters more confusing, Moffat tells the Radio Times, “I think you should go back to your DVDs and count correctly this time. There’s something you’ve all missed.” As far as on-screen regenerations in the new version of the show, there have been two, when Christopher Eccleston left and when David Tennant left.
However, there was a point where Tennant’s Doctor regenerated into himself after his hand was cut off. Whether that actually counts as a full regeneration is yet another area of contention. While Moffat seems to be sticking to the 12 regenerations rule for the Doctor, he must know something everyone else doesn’t. Maybe there’s some kind of loophole mentioned that fans have missed. After all, “Doctor Who” has never been more popular and continues to grow. There’s no way it’ll be ending anytime soon.