Sometimes, I think certain Doctor Who showrunners feel they have to “one up” their predecessors.
Bear with me — this leads somewhere.
Russell T. Davies started the new era of Who, and oversaw two Doctors, four series, 52 regular episodes, and eight specials over five years. During this time, his two Doctors aged five years total.
Steven Moffat took over and introduced two new Doctors, added an extra “hidden” one, oversaw six series, 75 regular episodes, and nine specials, including the 50th anniversary over 8 years. During this time, the Eleventh Doctor aged over 1,100 years, and the Twelfth stuck around for 4 1/2 billion years. He was more or less repeating a tortuous exercise over and over, but still, 4.5 billion. In the words of Ron Burgundy, “That escalated quickly”.
It was Chris Chibnall who then took over. During his era, he introduced two Doctors, but one was also an extra “hidden” one. He oversaw three series, 26 regular episodes, and five specials over five years. But during this time, even though his Doctor aged in real time, he made her untold billions of years old, older than Gallifrey even, declared the Doctor predates Gallifrey, didn’t even come from this universe, and can never die, she’ll just keep regenerating.
Side note: In fact, the chief reason Chibnall concocted the Timeless Child story was when he was 5 years old, he watched The Brain of Morbius and when the production crew had a laugh by showing their faces during a montage of past Doctor faces, li’l Chibs took it literally, as if they were more old faces of the Doctor. Not to be undone, when recounting the story of the child Doctor billions of years ago, he showed a bunch of extra child faces as crazy scientist Tecteun kept killing child after child to make them regenerate. He showed more faces than those shown in The Brain of Morbius. That’ll show ’em, Chris!
Now, Russell is back in the big chair. But he doesn’t seem to want to top anyone… does he? Of course, you might ask how would that even be possible?
Well, Russ: I’m here to help.
It’s simple, it’s big, and it’s all right there in front of you. Regeneration energy.
You know how the regeneration energy has really gotten crazy out of hand? With Eccleston, it was a huge fireworks display. With Tennant (the first time), he destroyed the inside of his own TARDIS. Smith took out an entire orbiting Dalek fleet! So it’s on record that regenerative energy is wildly unpredictable and the energy levels can fluctuate exponentially. Okay.
Since Russell has kindly backed up Chibs on the Timeless Child setting, we know that the Doctor has been around forever. Longer than Gallifrey and its inhabitants, and they’re some of the longest lived races in the history of the universe.
So how old is the Doctor? We have no clue. Where did the Doctor come from? Dunno.
Here we go.
The Doctor’s not from this universe… perhaps that’s because the Doctor created it.
Leaving that other universe… a child, adrift amongst the nothing. Terrified. Dying. A trauma intense enough to trigger the very first regeneration. But oh, it’s one to remember.
A regenerative explosion the size we could scarcely dream of, with unimaginable power that not only regenerates the child to enable it to survive, but continues to do so in the vacuum of space, over and over, bigger and bigger until the energy cascades outward in a blaze of creation.
The Eleventh Doctor was responsible for the second Big Bang, but little did he know he created the first as well, just trying to survive.
So the Doctor didn’t just come to this universe; he kickstarted it!
Check… and mate.
No charge, Russell, but I will consult in future for a fee.
And let’s face it, fans — the leap from the Timeless Child to this is a hop, skip, and a jump, compared to what Chibnall pulled. So let’s go “all in” and stake the claim that this really is a “Whoniverse”.