Remember when Peter Capaldi wasn’t the Twelfth Doctor, but a merchant in ancient Rome that just happened to meet a time traveler named the Doctor that had David Tennant’s face? Or when he was a bespectacled Permanent Secretary trying to help Torchwood save the world’s children from an alien race?
So do many other Doctor Who fans.
Until now, no explanation has been given for the recurring face of British actor Peter Capaldi in the show and its spinoffs (other than Doctor Who’s penchant for reusing actors for different roles; see Karen Gillan and Freema Agyeman as examples). But showrunner and writer Steven Moffat has revealed in the latest issue of the official Doctor Who magazine that the mystery will be addressed in the upcoming ninth series of the British sci-fi, set to air on BBC and BBC America this fall.
Last year, Moffat spoke to YouTube’s Nerd3 about the issue, commenting that former showrunner Russell T. Davies had a theory that could be implemented to explain Capaldi’s multiple appearances. “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’.”
Moffat’s remarks in Doctor Who magazine do not allude to Davies’ theory being put into action, but his Nerd3 interview may provide a possible clue to the explanation’s approach. “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?” If Moffat’s approach to the mystery coincides with his comments in the interview, fans will not only get answers to the mystery of the Capaldi doppelgängers, but may also get a clearer understanding of how Time Lord regeneration works.
Moffat also touches on Michelle Gomez’s incarnation of the Master in the DWM issue, stating “In my head, as it stands, she’s the one after John [Simm, last seen facing Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in the 2009 Christmas two-part special “The End of Time”]. But my researches aren’t complete, so I’d better say nothing, as I’ve been wrong before.” Gomez’s Master, who announced her unexpected return to the upcoming series in a teaser video in February, will be returning for the two-part series 9 premiere “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar”. On her return, and classic incarnations of the Time Lord villain, Moffat commented at a BAFTA nominations part in April, “I was looking back at the old Jon Pertwee/Roger Delgado ones and what’s fascinating about that is that [the Doctor and Master]only ever play it as friends. They never, ever play it as enemies at all. … I was thinking of the story of [series 9’s]first two-parter and I was thinking that [Missy/The Master] fits, she should be there. That character, if you get it right, does put a different light on the Doctor.” Producer Brian Minchin further elaborated in SFX magazine, saying, “It’s not going to be Missy as you expect her to be….Missy has an awful lot of sides to her and we’re going to see some new ones in this series. We also learn a bit more about her relationship with the Doctor…”
In other series 9 news, actor/comedian Rufus Hound’s role in the series 9 two-parter “The Girl Who Died” and “The Woman Who Lived” with Game of Thrones’s Maisie Williams has been given a bit more elaboration with the announcement of his character’s name, Sam Swift. You can watch a glimpse of his script read-through in the video below, during which he also waxes poetically about working with Williams and Capaldi. “I’m trying to focus on the thing I meant to do, just as a professional actor, rather than just a boy who wants to run around, take pictures of everything, high-five everyone, and, you know, spend most of the time just squeeing!”