What was only a teaser last week has suddenly become fact. Doctor Who's regeneration limit of 12, long a part of the Time Lord's canon, is going away. And, strangely, it won't be treated as a big deal, either, as the whole matter will be resolved in a simple passing comment.
Not only that, but the BBC will deal with the situation NOT in a Doctor Who episode, but rather in its spinoff series The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Elisabeth Sladen as former Doctor companion Sarah Jane Smith, in the two-part episode titled Death of the Doctor, which will air in the U.K. Oct. 25 and 26.
According to the Guardian:
While the Doctor and Clyde Langer, played by Daniel Anthony, are in the process of outwitting spooky vulture undertakers the Shansheeth, Clyde asks how many times he can regenerate. The Doctor indicates that there is no limit. The action continues.
While perhaps the manner in which the event will happen is a tad underwhelming (OK, maybe a lot underwhelming), it's also a strange move on the part of the BBC to have decided to deal with this very important event in Doctor Who lore in a spinoff for children, on the CBBC no less, rather than on the main show itself—or at the very least on the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special.
And because SJA no longer airs in North America (though we hope this may change), it also means that many Doctor Who fans will not be able to see the famous episode and the moment in question until the DVD comes out.
As well, some won't be happy that changing something so fundamental as Time Lords having a limit of 12 regenerations will only be mentioned in passing instead of getting a more significant scene.
But with a show as successful as Doctor Who, they needed to address the issue sooner rather than later, and we all knew that it would lead to some sort of explanation or event that would definitely have the Doctor regenerating more than 12 times—we are, after all, up to Matt Smith's 11th Doctor already, with only two more regenerations left for the Time Lord!
That likelihood must have seemed far away back in 1976, when the powers that be came up with this storyline in The Deadly Assassin, with Tom Baker's fourth Doctor, but now it's no longer viable, since the Doctor is heading toward the end of his "life" and the show is giving every indication that it plans to go on long after the 13th Doctor.
So what do you think about this new rule? And are you happy or disappointed by the way in which it will happen?