Are regenerations still capped at 12?

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Klaus, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    In my personal canon I like to think that a Time Lord can regenerate twelve times without any special intervention, ergo this is their "natural" life cycle. However, should he have said intervention, a guy could in theory regenerate many more times, perhaps even 507 as an upper limit. Davies is on record as saying he wrote that bit deliberately to screw with the hardcore fans (this was in fact his last writing for Who after all), but we're still stuck with it, in-joke, real joke (who would get that, anyway?) or actual fact.

    We do have proof that lives can be extended. In "The Five Doctors", the Master (who by that point had already had 1-3 incarnations after his supposed final "natural" incarnation, depending on how you look at it) was offered another regeneration and a completely new life cycle by the high council. He accepted this as though it weren't a big deal. I believe that even if Time Lord society may (or may not) have a societal taboo against regenerating longer than their physiology permits, under the right circumstances it's possible without that much to-do. It wouldn't be a permanent solution (thus why I think 507 might be that upper limit), which explains why Borusa was in search of true immortality, or as he describes it in that story, "endless, perpetual regeneration".

    In any case, we learn the Master was subsequently resurrected (again by the high council) to fight in the Time War, and granted a new life cycle anyway - we see that his regeneration was under intended circumstances, and the Doctor believed that the Simm incarnation could simply regenerate again to survive being shot. Arguably Rassilon himself is a product of the same process. Furthermore, the crispy and then extra-crispy Masters (some, including myself, treat them as different incarnations of the Master due to their different makeup, character portrayal, and actors playing them) were obsessed with finding a way to extend or renew their lives. It suggests to me that adding extra regenerations is certainly possible, at least if you have Gallifrey to return to and get special permission from the bosses. It may even be possible without them, but even an extraordinary intellect like the Master found it tough to do.

    I like to think that the Doctor is still effectively mortal - that he believes he'll wake up in his 13th incarnation and go "Well, that's it then... Blew my last chance at being ginger", and then simply carry on with his life. We know that it's a drag watching the show with him KNOWING he'll die at some point (see all of last season, or the almost two-year stretch the Tenth Doctor knew he was going to die since Ood Sigma told him so), so I hope that the producers by that point will choose to portray him as serene and knowing that through all these centuries, and indeed in this final kick at the can, that he did the best he could with the time the universe gave him.

    So, instead of going all Mastery and looking for ways to keep soldiering on regardless of the cost, he'd barely even reference it until his time came. Expecting to die, he'd bid farewell to his plucky companion, stumble into the TARDIS, and set it on a course for a black hole, or deep space, or wherever his body or the TARDIS would never be discovered. Finally collapsing, his body failing him for the last time, he would simply exhale his last and slowly, inevitably, close his eyes...

    ...And promptly regenerate. He'd stand up, in full ginger glory, and exclaim "Well, THAT's different..!". Cue credits, a new mystery, and a 14th Doctor never knowing if his next death would be his last. :)

    Mark
     
  2. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I think they should proceed as if 13 is his last regeneration. It would definitely be more interesting.

    That being said, I sure as hell would not want to be the one to pull the trigger and permanently kill the show just because the actor wants to leave. So I suspect they'll find a workaround because nothing is ever set in stone in Doctor Who.
     
  3. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I always just assumed that the council was basically BSing the Master. They may have promised him a new life cycle, but that doesn't mean they could have actually given him one. (And there's no real proof that the Master even believed them when they said that.)
     
  4. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    It's not unreasonable IMO. My read on the Master's reaction was more of "Oh. YOU guys would do that for ME?", rather than "Oh. You guys can DO that?", as if it were something they could do with the resources of Gallifrey at hand, where the Master could not do so otherwise (despite years of trying). I interpret it to mean that it wasn't a big deal if you were on the high council's good side.

    And then like I said, they did exactly that later on. He was "resurrected" per dialogue, so between that and Rassilon's subsequent re-appearance despite being previously comfortable as a giant floating head I figured that while probably not easy or culturally cool to do, bringing back Time Lords and giving them new bodies with new sets of regenerations wasn't a problem.

    Hell, in TVM the Master was trying to grab the Doctor's remaining lives with the help of the Eye of Harmony, again implying that transferring regenerations is possible with the right tech. Ditto with the creepy pulsey brain aliens in "Mawdryn Undead". Then again, River gave up "all" of her remaining regenerations to unpoison the Doctor, and there were no Eyes in play aside from her own lovely pair... But I digress.

    Mark
     
  5. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Another thing that makes me not actually believe the council in that scene was that it was Borusa who delivered the line. Given what we would later learn about him, I'm not inclined to trust anything he said. As for the Master's reaction, I got kind of a "Yeah, right..." vibe from it.
     
  6. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    We'll agree to disagree on that one, then. :) I see the Master as smart enough to accept it was possible to begin with.

    Another fan theory goes that now that all the other Time Lords are dead, the Doctor could potentially be the recipient of all that regeneration energy and thus could afford to wile it away on stuff like growing the handyclone or fixing River's hand. Of course, we'll likely never really know how regeneration actually works, though the extended universe of Doctor Who has a loooooot of factoids that may or may not contravene what we see on screen:

    http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Regeneration

    Mark
     
  7. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    The Master's story proves 12 is not a limitation.

    But you don't even need that. The Doctor took control of The Moment and became an all powerful god for one second and wiped out two mighty civilizations in the blink of an eye. You don't think that wouldn't have recharged his mana?
     
  8. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    They won't kill off the cash cow. The limit will be quickly forgotten, retconned by the 507 comment or written around. Something, whatever, I'm good with it.
     
  9. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    I don't mind if they retcon it, I just hope they mention it rather than just sweeping it under the carpet.
     
  10. Haggis and tatties

    Haggis and tatties Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am sure they will find a very entertaining way to get round this when the time comes........i personally would love to see the old timelords back and rewarding the Dr with some more regenerations for services rendered.
     
  11. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    I just found it odd that Borusa promised the Master a whole new set of regenerations when he himself was searching for immortality. Well, one could argue that Borusa was searching for a method to immortalize his current incarnation, the one that obviously "fell to the dark side". I mean, when we first met him in "The Deadly Assassin", he was a bleedin' ponce. When we saw him again in "The Invasion of Time", he was a world weary sage. He was actually likable, at least, one felt he deserved respect. But the exchange between Davison's Doctor and his (for far) latest incarnation suggested Borusa wanted that specific body and personality to live forever.

    I still feel that Borusa gave the Master a "snow job" about a new cycle of regenerations. If it was that easy, why did the Master need to concoct such an elaborate plan to access the Eye of Harmony when he looked like a deep fried druid? I read that "offer" scene as something like, "Your offer of a new cycle is such a bold faced lie, but I'll play along to discover your true objective. Whatever you're wanting, I suspect I'll want more."

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  12. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Yeah, that's my thought. Mention, make it a real plot point, find a workaround.
     
  13. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think they should keep the limit on regeneration, and do an episode where the doctor actualy dies, but then the timelords (who return before then) grant him an extra 13 incarnations like they did with the master in the timewar as their version of a medal of valour. Then that's the problem solved until doctor number 26 decides to leave..............
     
  14. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Problem with that is, that the Doctor wouldn't be in good graces at all with the Time Lords right now, considering he destroyed/time locked them twice

    I think the best route to follow is to simply have the atmosphere of believing he will die (Maybe even plant a phony rumor of cancellation to give it credibility and a surprise), and then have him regenerate and be shocked by it, and then explain it. Hiring A new actor for the Doctor, is an impossible secret to keep, but, it would be really, really cool, if they could make us believe it really will be the end, and then have him regenerate and the Showrunner could go "Pysche"
     
  15. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    The universe went through a second Big Bang. Any rules that existed in the previous universe can be ignored as the writer's desire it, no other explanations required.
     
  16. Satyrquaze

    Satyrquaze Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure this has been brought up before, but this thread brought it back up for me.

    Hypothetically, if the Timelords are still restricted to twelve regenerations, did the Doctor use one regeneration up when he inadvertantly created the Meta-Crisis Doctor in "Journey's End"?

    Could the Twelfth Doctor actually be the Thirteenth?

    Where does the Valeyard fit into this?
     
  17. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the Time Lords are opportunistic bastards who aren't above anything that has the end result of accomplishing their goals. All one has to do is think up a convoluted reason for how granting the Doctor a new set of regenerations is in the Time Lords' best interests and that takes care of that.
     
  18. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    True, They could give him a new cycle for sacrificing one as the new Matrix Core (Of course, without telling him that's their goal) or some other equally devious machination
     
  19. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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    Or there's been a rebellion and that crazy ******* Rassilon and his cronies have been removed. But rather than making the Doctor their darling, they're now led by a somewhat reformed Master. So, our hero is allowed to continue doing what he does and is sometimes even supported from a distance, but is kind of persona non grata on Gallifrey. Just like old times.
     
  20. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well wow, quite a nice response to my question... ty all! I had to skim the newer stuff as I'm not done w/Matt Smith yet, so I can't get into the details of what the technobabble explaining his extra regenerations might be quite yet.

    But overall I think that the 12-regeneration limit at least needs to be name-checked and explained away... IIRC the Master was brought back by the Timelords as a soldier in the last Time War, so I'd accept as given that there are ways to extend it but 12 is the basic parameter. I do like the idea of him expecting not to regenerate and being surprised when he does -- and problems with it because of going past the 13-life "limit" could be a good arc for the season.