The End of Doctor Who?

There has been a lot of speculation, and many rumors, related to the next Doctor after Matt Smith.

But today I find myself wondering whether there will be another Doctor. I wonder whether the BBC is not planning on ending the show’s run.

Trenzalore, we have learned, is the place where the Doctor dies and is entombed, the place of “the fall of the Eleventh.” The latter could be a clever misdirection, referring to an eleventh legion, his moral fall, or even to the literal “fall” from space in “The Name of the Doctor.”

But think of what Clara said in “The Name of the Doctor”:

Clara: Who’s that?
The Doctor: Never mind. Let’s go back
Clara: But who is he?
The Doctor: He’s me. There’s only me here. That’s the point. Now let’s get back.
Clara
: But I never saw that one. I saw all of you. Eleven faces, all of them you! You’re the eleventh Doctor!
The Doctor: I said he was me. I never said he was the Doctor.
Clara: I don’t understand.
The Doctor: My name, my real name – that is not the point. The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose, is like… it’s like a promise you make. He’s the one who broke the promise.
[Clara collapses from exhaustion]
The Doctor: Clara? Clara! Clara!
[The Doctor catches her and picks her up]
The Doctor: He’s my secret.
The Man: What I did, I did without choice.
The Doctor: I know.
The Man: In the name of peace and sanity.
The Doctor: But not in the name of the Doctor!

Eleven faces. Why would Clara, scattered throughout the Doctor’s entire timeline, have seen only Eleven faces?

This makes it sound as though the individual who is the same person as the Doctor, but not one who accepted and acted in accordance with the name of the Doctor, is a version of the Doctor from the future. The Valeyard, the Storm, the Beast. The one Maldovar was referring to in “The Wedding of River Song” when he said, “You’re a man with a long and dangerous past. But your future is infinitely more terrifying. The Silence believe it must be averted.”

And so the Doctor’s future is terrifying, there is a war against the Doctor which is being fought, and which ends at Trenzalore with his death. And there is a person the Doctor becomes who is not worthy of that name.

If that future is not prevented.

But the fact that Clara only saw Eleven Doctors along the Doctor’s timeline – doesn’t that imply that he will be the last?

Could Stephen Moffatt have been given the task of bringing Doctor Who to an end? He does, after all, love to make fans cry.

Many shows keep going until they run out of steam and disappoint fans. Could the BBC be planning to end Doctor Who on a high note? Some clues seem to point in that direction. And it would be fitting to have the Doctor choose to sacrifice himself rather than become the self who breaks the promise of his name.

But perhaps I am reading too much into it. Or perhaps I am picking up on clues that have been given, but which, like the Doctor’s “death” in several episodes, do not mean what we are being duped into thinking they mean. Perhaps the Silence have been trying to prevent the most powerful force for good in the universe becoming a powerful force of destruction, devastation, and death -but perhaps they have been even more concerned about the revelation that this one whom many revere as a god is not merely fallible but capable of doing evil. Perhaps discovering the dark side of one’s gods and heroes can be more harmful to goodness than the evil that those figures do.

[And on the subject of the Doctor as "a god" see the article that was just posted today by Rebecca Kulik.]

What do others think? Have we been given clues that Doctor Who will end after 50 years?

  • Christopher John Sissons

    It seems the BBC has commissioned season 8. Nice try but SM is not noted for his consistency.

  • Pseudonym

    My theory: John Hurt is the incarnation who dropped out of the doctorate programme before submitting his thesis, hence he is not “The Doctor”. The Master is jealous of The Doctor, because he only has a masters degree.

    You heard it here first.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      And the show will end when the Doctor lands in Germany and writes his Habilitationsschrift? :-)

    • DrWhoManiac

      He is the Dark Doctor, I have read. There will be a season 8 I think.

  • Namnoot

    Money speaks louder than anything else, and the series is BBC Worldwide’s biggest moneymaker. There will be no ending it for a long time. As long as the show continues to make money, i fully expect there to be a 13th, 14th, 15th Doctor. (Anyone who has been paying attention to Doctor Who since The Five Doctors in 1983 can identify a number of outs the series has built in to get past the so-called 13-life limit, ranging from River giving the Doctor her remaining regenerations, to the fact 13 lives doesn’t apply to him because he’s half-human per the TV movie, to the fact the Time Lords controlled the regeneration cycles and could renew them at will … and, since there are no more Time Lords…)

    • Commander

      Dude, your absolutely right. and I quote, ” I can change my appearance 544 Times”, or somethin’ like that.

  • goodacre

    The joy of failed predictions, James! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Better to have predicted and failed to have never predicted at all! :-)

      (I think that the ways I have been wrong about Doctor Who pale in relation to how I was wrong about LOST, and how often. Of course, you probably think that my wrongness about both pales in comparison to my wrongness about the Synoptic problem…)

      • goodacre

        I quite agree — and every prediction I’ve ever made about Doctor Who has been wrong!

        No, think you are right about the most important thing in the Synoptic Problem — Marcan Priority. That’s the cornerstone. In time, I hope you’ll come round to spotting that Luke has not used Mark independently of Matthew.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          And we can both rejoice that I was wrong about Doctor Who ending! :-)

          • Alex Martin

            This really bugs me in this episode that she said ‘eleven faces’. I think, to be honest, this was a simple case of a script error/ throwaway line that we now read way to much into haha! SM wanted to explain to the viewers that there were eleven faces/ actors so far and Hurt wasn’t one of them, and in doing so I believe wrote this without the full awareness of what it suggests (i.e. Matt Smith is the last doctor – which he isn’t of course, because of Capaldi! So Clara saw only 11 faces – Maybe Capaldi is shy? A better line would have been ‘I saw all your faces’ rather than ’11′ then it wouldn’t have mattered! And my OCD plot-hole nit-pickery wouldn’t be working overtime!!

            Another aspect of this episode that bugs me is that the doctor’s grave is the TARDIS console room, and that it is the current one. Which means either the TARDIS interior cannot change for however many more regenerations the doctor has until he dies at Trenzalore, to keep it consistent, or that they simply, in the real world, used the current set to save costs and not have to build an unknown ‘future’ TARDIS console that no-one recognises.

  • Bailey

    They will find a loophole somehow. BBC is making more money than ever off of Doctor Who, so bet our great-great-grandchildren will be watching it and wondering they exact same thing. Plus, Doctor Who is the best show EVER so I would wallow in my room forever watching reruns if that did happen!


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