Regeneration

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Noddy, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. Noddy

    Noddy Captain

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    Is the Time Lord ability to regenerate a naturally evolved condition, or is it something that a Time Lord gains at certain point? Judging from A Good Man Goes to War, it seems to be the latter, as the Doctor tells Vastra in that episode that it was being exposed to the Untempered Schism for billions of years that enabled the ancient Gallifreyans to regenerate. What are other peoples' opinions on the matter though?
     
  2. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There hasn't been a lot said about the subject. Instead of just a healing factor that leaves a time lord changed, you might have each regeneration look like a deceased pre-regeneration time lord who died.

    So what you could have is a dual regeneration. Say you are a time lord. At dath you exist as a column of energy--a timeline portal left at trenzalore. That is also how you are born--rather like a Metron, perhaps--an energy being. You need to posees a body. Hartnell is the one you are born with. Now say you die, and Abe Lincon, ingrams takes over, and he has a second life, but has your memories to boot.

    It is a way of keeping multiple people alive. So on some plane, all the previous doctors may be at a forum--waiting until Time's end to combine at last...
     
  3. Iamnotspock

    Iamnotspock Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's never been stated either way on screen, but as writer Gareth Roberts once said, "If [regeneration] happens naturally, then it's the weirdest piece of evolution."

    It's probably something that was engineered by Rassilon or Omega (probably the former); indeed the 40th anniversary audio story Zagreus postulates that:

    Cardinal Rassilon had been investigating a method of regenerating decayed and diseased tissue via a series of self-replicating, biogenic molecules. The cells of a Gallifreyan body would be repaired, restored and re-organised, resulting in a wholly new physical form. The brain cells would also be rearranged, though to a lesser extent; the new incarnation would retain the memories of the former incarnation, though the personality of the Time Lord or Lady could change, the degree of this change depending upon the Time Lord or Lady in question. Rassilon intended this mechanism only for the Gallifreyan elite. He also inputted a parameter of twelve regenerative cycles to avoid decaying biogenic molecules.

    The fifth Doctor novel The Crystal Bucephalus states that Time Lords have triple-helix DNA, the third strand being added by Rassilon to enable regeneration.

    Then there was A Good Man Goes to War acknowledging the Untempered Schism as a contributing factor to regeneration.

    It's just about possible to reconcile these into a single mythology. Perhaps continued exposure to the Schism over millions of years gave the Time Lords some susceptibility to Rassilon's tinkering; perhaps he was somehow able to harness this energy and use it to his advantage. Melody/River is referred to as a "child of the TARDIS", but we don't know exactly what her conception within the time vortex exposed her to... lingering biogenic molecules perhaps?
     
  4. Bacl

    Bacl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It is probably a little of both. Think of it this way (waaaaaaay oversimplified): humans can live a lot longer than we do. And we are living longer than we have.

    Human biology allows us to live longer, but we do so as aided by technology and science: medicines and vitamins and exercise, etc.

    Time Lords probably have a capability within their cells to regenerate to varrying degrees. Time Lord technology and evolution, maybe even psychological training allows them to do so.

    We've seen lots of people from Gallifrey not regenerate. That dude who was a reporter in "The Deadly Assasain" for example. Jenny, the Doctor's daughter, was assumed by the Doctor not to be capable of regeneration, most likely due to her youth, and possibly even ignorance about what her body can do.

    On serveral occations the Doctor has needed the help of the TARDIS to regenerate, and to survive the regeneration. The TARDIS "helped", but it was not 100% presponsible.
     
  5. Noddy

    Noddy Captain

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    When Jenny gets shot though, doesn't the Doctor hold out hope that she'll regenerate, giving further credence to the notion that it's an ability all Time Lords are born with?
     
  6. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Well he might have been hopeful because she was a sort of clone of him rather than a child who was born. You have to wonder though, if Timelord DNA is enough, wouldn't it have been shocking if all those human/Dalek hybrids in the New York 2 parter that were actually Human/Timelord/Dalek? hybrids had regenerated after the Daleks killed them!
     
  7. Noddy

    Noddy Captain

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    Hybrids of Time Lords and other species, such as humans, are incapable of regeneration, according to Journey's End.
     
  8. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Yet River is human...
     
  9. Noddy

    Noddy Captain

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    Well the Meta-Crisis Doctor couldn't regenerate.
     
  10. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know that for sure though, we only have the Doctor's word for it, and he has been known to be wrong before.
     
  11. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And the Master could regenerate, even though his body is not supposed to be fully Gallifreyan.
     
  12. Smoked Salmon

    Smoked Salmon Captain Captain

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    I always figured it was an engineered ability, sort of like Khan's improved mind and body. If I recall not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords, so I reckon it's given to a new Time Lords during their first incarnation/body. I think this would exxplain how the Ainley Master was supposedly able to be offered a new set of regenerations in the Five Doctors, and how the Jacobi one ultimately could regenerate again.
     
  13. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Most of the evidence does seem to infer that it's an ability that is granted (on graduation from the Academy?), rather than a natural thing. Maybe most Gallifreyans can't regenerate, but only Time Lords can? :confused:

    Perhaps we can futher hypothosize that the '13 lives' thing is a limit imposed not on a biological "at birth" level, but as a condition of one becoming a Time Lord. It's infused into the ability to regenerate, that the body simply can't sustain more than 12 regenerative cycles.

    It's worth noting that when the First Doctor regenerates, he is eager to rush back to the TARDIS before it happens, and the second Doctor talks about his renewal as being 'part of the TARDIS'. Most of the Doctor's regenerations happen to take place inside the TARDIS. Maybe the TARDIS provides merely a sanctuary, or perhaps 'she' has got properties that help the regeneration along? The Zero Room was apparently designed for this very purpose, hence why one exists both on Gallifrey and there's a replica in every TARDIS (or at least it was until the Doctor's Zero Room got jettisoned anyway).
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  14. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I think its worth to note that the further the Doctor regenerated, the more trouble he had to cope with that, when outside the TARDIS. In his fifth and eighth bodies, he suffered greatly, and even the sixth, seventh and tenth bodies he struggled greatly. So that Rassilon or something else had something to do with that process is not exactly out of the question.
     
  15. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Indeed. Possibly as time goes on it actually gets harder rather than easier, as the regenerative process gradually "eats away" at the individual. They can be 'renewed', but it causes a little decay each time and it only gets harder and harder to cope with it. Possibly the 13 lives 'limit' is simply a consequence of this. 12 regenerations is all a Gallifreyan body can actually muster before it just breaks down naturally.


    The Master is a case in point; we see on screen that he can in fact regenerate beyond his 13th incarnation, but to do so caused his 14th body to immediately decay and fall apart. Only by transfering his living consciousness to other bodies (something which was in itself of only variable success) was he able to survive.
     
  16. Tom

    Tom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I hope they address some of this with Capaldi's Doctor being older than the last several incarnations. I think several factors have decreased the Doctors regenerative energy thus resulting in the 12th doctors older body:

    - A conscious willingness to be 'young' with the Ninth Doctor (wanting to be more of a match for Rose) and the 11th doctor considering how 10 loved how youthful he was and did not want it to end. So these two regenerations perhaps used a bit more than he should have used to get a 'young' body.

    - Half regeneration in Journey's End used a bunch of energy.

    - Giving some to River to heal her hand, she knew that he did not have much to waste on her.

    - If the hurt doctor is a real incarnation then the Doctor is truly on his 13th body and his 'energy' may be gone, or almost gone.

    Now, he did get some from River in LKH, but it was probably enough to just heal him.

    Either way, I hope this all gets addressed soon.
     
  17. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This here's a wild card, but it isn't beyond the realms of possibility. It would be a very "Steven Moffat" idea to suddenly turn the entire series on its head and reveal to us that, nope, while we've been under the impression we've been watching 9-11 for the last seven years, in reality we've actually been watching 10-12! :guffaw:

    I'm not sure an 'older' Doctor requires explanation btw -- technically we could say that the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy incarnations were both 'older' physically than the Peter Davison incarnation, but an explanation for exactly why this should be was not forthcoming. Unless the stress of Five regenerating from Spectrox poisoning somehow caused his sixth incarnation to gain a few wrinkles (and a few pounds!). ;)

    You're right though. Most regenerations are drawn as being 'renewals', right down to the new body being somewhat younger than the old one. Six and Twelve are exceptions to the rule.
     
  18. Tom

    Tom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well we know Moffat did have plot reason for going older, we just don't know what that reason is yet.
     
  19. Captain_Amasov

    Captain_Amasov Captain Captain

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    It's been suggested that Capaldi's Doctor may be the "First" in a new regeneration cycle, hence why they chose to go with an older actor at this time; especially since he'd be roughly the same age as Hartnell when he first played the role. Now, there's nothing particularly game changing about that but what if, when he gets this new cycle, Capaldi's Doctor doesn't carry over the memories or experiences of his past lives; essentially a bookmark for the first fifty years, and a clean slate for the Doctor continuity wise leading into the next fifty.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  20. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    The age thing is a bit of a misnomer I think. Moffat’s main reason for wanting an older Doctor seems to be down to the simple fact that Smith was so young, and he wanted something very different given that both 10 and 11 were youngish. Having said that SM has said before that he ideally sees the Doctor as someone older, and given it seems likely that Ben Daniels was in the running this seems to hold true. I doubt he decided on Capaldi simply because of his age though, bearing in mind Capaldi is almost a decade older than Daniels.

    I do wonder if we’re in line for a much less active Doctor, and the return of an Ian/Jamie/Leela like character to do all the running about?