Peter Capaldi has already filmed his Doctor Who regeneration, despite having the Christmas special still to go. The BBC sci-fi show is returning to screens for its tenth season, which will serve as the last for showrunner Steven Moffat and the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi.
When Capaldi announced his decision to quit the show, he said he would leave after the Christmas special 2017, which will also be Moffat's last episode. However, a trailer for season ten seemed to hint that the regeneration of the Doctor would take place within the season's time frame rather than the Christmas special, as everyone had assumed.
Speaking on The Graham Norton Show, Capaldi confirmed that filming has wrapped on Doctor Who Season 10 and, within that, he has filmed the 'death' of his character. The Christmas special has not yet been filmed, so Capaldi's comments seem to suggest the twelfth Doctor's regeneration will at least start in the upcoming run.
If incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall is to be believed, the new Doctor hasn't been cast yet, so it's unlikely we will see them making even the briefest of debuts in season ten; their first scenes will probably be saved for the Christmas Special. Capaldi has already said his regeneration isn't straightforward, something he reconfirmed that in the interview above. Guesses begin now as to what that could mean exactly. It could be that the current and new Doctors will overlap in some way in the Christmas special, or maybe twelve will 'die' and then come back before actually regenerating for good. It certainly seems that this regeneration isn't going to be as clear cut as we've had with ten and eleven.
As for casting; talks must surely be happening, and it could well be that a deal with someone is already finalized, but we won't know for some time. When the casting of Capaldi was announced, the BBC hosted a special show for the reveal; he was announced as the twelfth Doctor in August 2013 before making his debut in that year's Christmas special. Season 10 will be on our screens until July, so if the thirteenth Doctor is announced the month after that, it would make sense - if they do appear in the Christmas special, it's going to be almost impossible to keep that name a secret.
Going forward, it is not yet confirmed if Pearl Mackie and/or Matt Lucas will stay on as the Doctor's companions, Bill (the series' first openly gay companion) and Nardole respectively. Multiple rumors suggest that Mackie's contract is only for one season and that Chibnall will start his tenure with a clean slate. If that is the case, then this could be Mackie's first and only season, so maybe her departure will be tied into the Doctor's 'death,' as well.
Doctor Who season 10 begins April 15th, 2017, on BBC1 and BBC America.
Source: The Graham Norton Show
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