‘Doctor Who’ showrunner admits he has no idea about the Doctor’s true origins

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Image credit: Keane Eacobellis

The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. That’s a core tenet of Doctor Who lore that even casual fans know, right? Well, it used to be, before the Jodie Whittaker era blew the whole canon wide open by revealing that the time-traveling hero wasn’t originally from Gallifrey at all. Instead, they fell through a portal from another universe — a unique being with the power to regenerate, whom the Time Lords experimented on to learn how to replicate the process.

This revolutionary retcon was dropped in 2020’s season 12 finale, and while we’ve had bits and pieces of this storyline continued since then, we’ve yet to learn anymore about the Doctor’s true origins. If you’re thinking the secret is going to be unearthed in Whittaker’s incoming final episode, though, think again. Outgoing showrunner Chris Chibnall has admitted that he has no idea where the Doc is really from.

In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine reflecting on his tenure as EP, Chibnall was asked what the Doctor’s actual home planet is. Here’s how he responded:

“I don’t know. Nobody knows. That’s the point. Everything we’ve done goes back to that central idea.”

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Image via BBC Studios

In other words, Chibnall wanted to put the “Who?” back in Doctor Who and to leave us less aware of the Doctor’s past than we were before. Of course, fans love to fill in the blanks so we’d fully expect the questions raised by the “Timeless Child” twist to be filled in elsewhere. For instance, the upcoming Titan Comics series which is literally called Doctor Who: Origins.

Then again, Chibnall’s previously stated that he has a sneaky suspicion his successor in the head writer’s chair, Russell T. Davies, is going to outright “ignore” the changes he’s made to the canon in favor of doing his own thing. Still, now that this retcon has been pulled it’d be hard to undo so the show surely has to address it in some form going forward.

Jodie Whittaker’s time in the TARDIS comes to an end with one more special to air sometime this summer.