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I'm new, can anyone explain regeneration?

  • Avatar of sjl237

    sjl237

    [1]May 10, 2010
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    I don't understand how it works. Does the old doctor die and get replaced by a new doctor? Why does it happen? Does the new doctor get the memories of the old one or does he have to start from scratch and relearn everything? Is it the same personality with a new face or a new person entirely? Have any doctors ever been evil after being reborn?

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    bluecatcinema

    [2]May 10, 2010
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    Regeneration is a method through which a Time Lord/Lady can alter every cell in their body, It is usually used as a method of cheating death. When a Time Lord regenerates, they are basically the same person, with the same knowledge and memory, but with a different personality. The Doctor has never been evil after regenerating, although a being known as the Valeyard - an amalgamation of all the Doctor's evil, created between his 12th and 13th lives - did exist at one point.
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    TOCM19

    [3]May 10, 2010
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    Though if the 12 regeneration thing holds true then he'll not be getting a 13th body.
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    kompongwho

    [4]May 10, 2010
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    TOCM19 wrote:
    Though if the 12 regeneration thing holds true then he'll not be getting a 13th body.


    If the daleks can cheat final final final extermination every damn series, I'm sure a way around that minor blip will be found!
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    drewshack

    [5]May 10, 2010
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    He's the last one..so he gets all of the other timelords unused regens. so that's like 12 million to go!!
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    TOCM19

    [6]May 11, 2010
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    kompongwho wrote:
    TOCM19 wrote:
    Though if the 12 regeneration thing holds true then he'll not be getting a 13th body.


    If the daleks can cheat final final final extermination every damn series, I'm sure a way around that minor blip will be found!


    Honestly i'm hoping they'll just ignore the idea of only having 12, but if they don't then his time is running out......
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    dragon22a

    [7]May 12, 2010
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    The sixth doctor once explained it as every cell in the body exploding, rejuvinating, rearanging and then resettling in a new order right down to the brain chemistry. So not only do you get a new look but a new personality. Still the same person with same memories, but a tad different.


    The different Regenerations also at times have different skills and quarks that go with them. The third Doctor knew martial arts while he could no longer play the recorder his second life had.


    In many ways, even to the doctor himself, his regenerations are like separate people. The tenth doctor said that in the end of time. He said even if he changes, it's like dying. Everything he is dies and some new man walks away. Also sometimes the regenerations look upon eachother with either respect or dislike. The third and second doctors did not get along. The sixth stated that he was happy he was no longer his fifth life. But the tenth doctor showed respect for the fifth doctor and says he got much of his personality and fashion from him. (though he questioned the use of a decorative vegetable). All of the doctors show respect and reverance for the first doctor and never question his authority if they meet him.


    It should be noted that some of the timelords can actually choose their new looks. Romana was able to choose her new look when she regenerated. The time lords even gave the second doctor a choice of three new looks before they exiled him. He chose none of them. This skill that Romana had may have been one learned at the academy. Romana was said to be a far better student than the Doctor was.


    Also, as stated above, a timelord is limited to 13 lives or 12 regenerations.The master used all of his and for much of the original series, sought out ways of extending his life even taking to stealing bodies. The timelords can grant a new cycle if they want. The Master has at times, gone on missions for the timelords for the promise of more lives. During the Time War he was given more lives so that he could fight the Daleks but he ran instead. The reason for the limit on regenerations has been said to be to stop celular degeneration.

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    coolcatkid

    [8]May 12, 2010
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    sjl237 wrote:


    I don't understand how it works. Does the old doctor die and get replaced by a new doctor? Why does it happen? Does the new doctor get the memories of the old one or does he have to start from scratch and relearn everything? Is it the same personality with a new face or a new person entirely? Have any doctors ever been evil after being reborn?




    1 same Doctor but a new look


    2 he keeps his memories but his personality changes


    3 regeneration is exclusive to his race with very few exceptions


    4 Colin Baker(Doctor # 6) came out a little on the evil side after his regeneration

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    dragon22a

    [9]May 12, 2010
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    There also seems to be a need to recover after regeneration especially for the Doctor who usually suffers from emotional and physical problems after regenerating. The 6th doctor as stated above suffered from severe mood shifts in his first adventure and at one point almost choked his companion perry to death.


    The latest controversy relates to the 13 life limit. Spoilers.....









    I won't get into details but in season 4 the 10th doctor was injured and began to regenerate. He was able to abort the regeneration and healed without changing. the question that has remained because of this is whether or not that incident used one of the regenerations leaving matt smith as not the 11th doctor but technically, the 12th doctor.

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    belial_77

    [10]May 12, 2010
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    drewshack wrote:
    He's the last one..so he gets all of the other timelords unused regens. so that's like 12 million to go!!


    What? Never mentioned in canon, so dunno if true.

    If he has 12 regens... that leads to a total of 13 Doctors... who he was BEFORE his first regen, and the 12 others he becomes.

    The limit was mentioned int he old series in a couple places, but no where in the new... they never thought the show would run as long as it had... and they would go thru doctors as quick as they did (6 getting the boot, 8 only showing once on screen and 9 leaving after just one season).
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    S-Shield

    [11]May 12, 2010
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    dragon22a wrote:


    I won't get into details but in season 4 the 10th doctor was injured and began to regenerate. He was able to abort the regeneration and healed without changing. the question that has remained because of this is whether or not that incident used one of the regenerations leaving matt smith as not the 11th doctor but technically, the 12th doctor.



    Like you said above, if the 12 regen limit is to stop cellular degeneration (which to me means that they can only scramble their DNA so many times before it falls apart), since 10's DNA wasn't messed with, I still think he's just 10, and not 10 & 11.


    I almost see it like he's got infinite energy for regenerations, but his body simply couldn't handle more than 12.

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  • Avatar of minisin

    minisin

    [12]May 12, 2010
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    S-Shield wrote:

    dragon22a wrote:


    I won't get into details but in season 4 the 10th doctor was injured and began to regenerate. He was able to abort the regeneration and healed without changing. the question that has remained because of this is whether or not that incident used one of the regenerations leaving matt smith as not the 11th doctor but technically, the 12th doctor.



    Like you said above, if the 12 regen limit is to stop cellular degeneration (which to me means that they can only scramble their DNA so many times before it falls apart), since 10's DNA wasn't messed with, I still think he's just 10, and not 10 & 11.


    I almost see it like he's got infinite energy for regenerations, but his body simply couldn't handle more than 12.



    I was under the impression that he had 12 "packets" of energy inside him, and one would be used up each time he regenerated.
    So of course, with the 'half' regeneration he used up half the energy repearing the damage from the Dalek shot and the rest (from the packet that had already been 'opended') was sent into the hand (an empty container).
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    S-Shield

    [13]May 12, 2010
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    minisin wrote:
    I was under the impression that he had 12 "packets" of energy inside him, and one would be used up each time he regenerated. So of course, with the 'half' regeneration he used up half the energy repearing the damage from the Dalek shot and the rest (from the packet that had already been 'opended') was sent into the hand (an empty container).


    I think it could go either way. The idea that he has just enough energy for 12 regenerations would probably mean that he "wasted" a regeneration on healing himself and creating the other Doctor. But it would probably be an easier way to explain how the Time Lords could offer the Master more lives, as he could just get a 'refill' of regeneration energy.


    But in my version, the Tenth Doctor doesn't waste a life. And I believe the Master wasn't even in a Time Lord or Galifreyan body at the time the Time Lords offered him a new cycle of lives, so they probably would have had to grow him a new body anyway, which they would have had to do during the Time War anyway.


    Like I said, mine works as a way to get around Ten wasting a life. I don't know how well it holds up to canon.

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    TOCM19

    [14]May 13, 2010
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    But your version contradicts what was said regarding the 12 regens in the Maydwyn undead.
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    S-Shield

    [15]May 13, 2010
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    Okay. Like I said, I'm not an expert in Who Mythology.


    Just for fun, what was said about regenerations in Maydwyn Undead?

    Edited on 05/13/2010 11:42am
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    TOCM19

    [16]May 13, 2010
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    S-Shield wrote:


    Okay. Like I said, I'm not an expert in Who Mythology.


    Just for fun, what was said about regenerations in Maydwyn Undead?


    Appologies: Mawdryn Undead.


    Basically Mawdryn and seven of his pals tried to create their own version of regeneration, but it went wrong, meaning that they live forever but in agony and suffering as their bodies decay and mutate around them.


    They work out the only release if for them to die via the use of the energy the Doctor uses to regenerate. They ask for his help, and he tells his companions that helping the 8 of them will mean giving up 8 regenerations (all he has left) Though he also says that doing that will mean he is no longer a Time Lord.

    Edited on 05/13/2010 12:16pm
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    dragon22a

    [17]May 14, 2010
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    The thing is that there are numerous entities out there that may be able to get around the limit or restore the lost regenerations. The White Guardian for instance. I am actually under the belief that he was responsible for that Woman in White appearing to Wilfred in "The End of Time". I also believe that the woman was Romana due to her being a Time Lord and her connection to the Guardian and the Key to Time. There is also the potential of other things such as "The Moment" which the the Doctor had during the Time War. Whatever that is.
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    steamheaduk

    [18]May 14, 2010
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    OK, a not so brief history of regeneration from canon sources

    The very first time we had any inkling of it was in The Tenth Planet (1966) when the Doctor complains that his body is wearing a little thin, collapses to the floor in the TARDIS and changes into the Second Doctor. He does hint that the TARDIS helped him in the process "Without it I couldn't survive".

    The next clue was in The War Games (1969) when he explains that Time Lords can live forever, barring accidents. A lot of people cite this as being contradictory to the 12 limit, but he did say "accidents" plural as opposed to something like "barring a nasty accident". What we didn't know was they can survive 12 nasty accidents, but not 13.

    Being caught by the Timelords in this episode he is sentenced to exile on Earth and the Timelords force a regeneration on him, the first indication that this process can be controlled, it is not just something that "happens". We don't actually see this regeneration though.

    Planet of the Spiders (1974) sees Three change to Four, but the next revelation is in the Brain of Morbius (1976) in which we see a mind challenge, which shows the Doctor's image on a screen forced back through his known faces and a few more besides. At the time the episode was written these were intended to indicate earlier lives, however it was never explicitly stated on screen this was the case, which is just as well given what happened in the next season.

    The Deadly Assassin (1976) saw a badly mutated Master, and the explanation was that he had used up all his 12 regenerations. The first time this limit was mentioned.

    Destiny of the Daleks (1979) gave a second indication that a regeneration does not have to occur when near death, and that it can be both controlled, and not instantly fixed. In this episode Romana regenerates at will, trying on several bodies before deciding on the final appearance of Princess Astra's body. Which at the time suggested she was wasting regenerations, but later the "15 hour rule" cleared that up as she was "still cooking" and hadn't set yet.

    The Keeper of Traken (1981) gives us the first instance of escaping the 12 limit when the 13th Master uses the powers of The Keeper to take over Tremas's body and gain new life.

    Logopolis (1981) saw 4 change to 5 and introduced a new concept of the Doctor having a mid regeneration out of body experience, sending his future intermediate self back to help keep his companions safe. It also was the first regeneration to REALLY emphasise the strain a regeneration puts on the new Doctor with 5 being quite ill for a lot of his first story Castrovalva (1982).

    Mawdryn Undead (1983) is probably the richest source of regeneration lore. The 12 limit announced in Deadly Assassin was never really explained as to how the limit was "enforced". A lot of recent supposition has assumed that because the Time Lords are no longer around there is nothing to stop him regenerating forever. However the limit isn't policed, it is rationed. Mawdryn Undead establishes that Time Lords have 12 "packets" of energy bestowed upon them at some point in their life and each packet is used to regenerate. So this episode draws a line that says even the last time lord will run out of luck eventually without further intervention. This episode also put to bed the theory that the "other faces" in The Brain of Morbius were earlier Doctors, as the Doctor announces he has 8 packets left, meaning he has only regenerated 4 times so far in reaching what we knew as the 5th Doctor.

    The Five Doctors then reinforces that as Richard Hurndall's first Doctor announces that he is "The Original". This episode also gives us another "Get out of jail free" card, when the Time Lords announce they can "gift" the Master with a new regenerative cycle if he helps the Doctor. At this point it is worth mentioning that some will say the 12 limit is to stop "copy degradation" of the DNA, or another theory to stop someone rising to absolute power and stopping there. I believe both these lines of thought come from books or radio plays, not from canon episode of the show itself.

    Planet of Fire (1984) shows a very sharp change of character, from Five's "feckless charm" to Six's "arrogant superiority" but still the same Doctor inside.

    Time and the Rani (1987) shows a regeration without any real explanation as to what caused it on screen, and also the first time the same actor was used at both ends of the regeneration. Sylvester McCoy played the Sixth Doctor with a curly wig and out of focus face before fuzzing into his real self Seventh Doctor. This was because Colin Baker had been both sacked and his contract allowed to lapse, putting him in a difficult and unhappy position, so he didn't return to film a regeneration.

    The Movie (1996) establishes that a regeneration does not have to happen immediately. The Doctor "dies" on the operating table and doesn't regenerate until later when he's in the morgue. The supposition is the anaesthetic caused the delay but never confirmed. This also featured possibly the most believable regeneration so far. Up to this point most had been some form of cross fade, wipe or hide and reveal technique. This time Sylvester's gurning almost made you think he could pull off the regeneration without any visual effects at all, but this was followed by a fairly sharp morph to finsh the transition to Paul McGann.

    Sadly the Movie was never picked up into another series, so we never saw what happened to the Eighth Doctor, though you can listen to his adventures in the Big Finish Audio plays. But since they are still being produced we still don't know what causes the regeneration to Nine, though we do suspect it was not that long before Rose (2005) as he sees his face in a mirror for the first time in that episode.

    Parting of the Ways (2005) shows the NuHu take on regeneration. No longer lieing dieing on the floor, a NuHu regeneration takes place standing up with the Time Lord positively bursting with energy in quite a fierce display.

    The Christmas Invasion (2005) establishes the 15 hour rule. The Doctor gets his hand chopped off, but grows a new one back, as he is still within 15 hours of the regeneration and still has enough energy left over to heal without a complete rewrite of DNA. You also see this remaining energy almost "burped" out in this episode.

    Utopia (2007) sees the Master regenerate and uses the same "standing up" technique established in Parting of the Ways. Last of the Time Lords (2007) also sees the Master STOP himself regenerating, instead willing his essence into a ring. It is not clear whether this was a Time Lord ability or just something the Master could do - given his, coloured past.

    The Doctor's Daughter (2008.) sees possibly another invocation of the 15 hour rule as the extrapolated Jenny (created from the Doctor's DNA) appears to die, but later revives without a body change (and why would you want to) with a Time Lord energy burp being evident.

    The Stolen Earth (2008.) sees the Tenth Doctor start to regenerate, but in Journey's End (2008.) we see he doesn't complete it, and syphons off the rest of the energy into a suitable recepticle (his dismembered hand from The Christmas Invasion), which later grew a whole new Tenth Doctor but not fully Gallifreyan. If Mawdryn Undead is to be respected this means that when Matt Smith regenerates we will be on the Last Doctor of his original set of 12 packets of energy. Note that the limit of 12 has never been mentioned in the new series, but David Tennant did talk about the limit on the Confidential for this episode, so the production team did still have it in mind at this point.

    The End of Time Part 1 (2009) sees the Master rebuilt from the ring in his original form, though not perfectly as it left him rather hungry. Again this is probably a Master Only trick.

    The End of Time Part 2 (2010) sees yet another delayed regeneration. Possibly as a result of this the regeneration is even fiercer than normal and destroys a lot of the TARDIS interior.
    Edited on 05/16/2010 10:02am
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  • Avatar of pferreira86

    pferreira86

    [19]May 16, 2010
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    steamheaduk wrote:
    OK, a not so brief history of regeneration from canon sources The very first time we had any inkling of it was in The Tenth Planet (1966) when the Doctor complains that his body is wearing a little thin, collapses to the floor in the TARDIS and changes into the Second Doctor. He does hint that the TARDIS helped him in the process "Without it I couldn't survive". The next clue was in The War Games (1969) when he explains that Time Lords can live forever, barring accidents. A lot of people cite this as being contradictory to the 12 limit, but he did say "accidents" plural as opposed to something like "barring a nasty accident". What we didn't know was they can survive 12 nasty accidents, but not 13. Being caught by the Timelords in this episode he is sentenced to exile on Earth and the Timelords force a regeneration on him, the first indication that this process can be controlled, it is not just something that "happens". We don't actually see this regeneration though. Planet of the Spiders (1974) sees Three change to Four, but the next revelation is in the Brain of Morbius (1976) in which we see a mind challenge, which shows the Doctor's image on a screen forced back through his known faces and a few more besides. At the time the episode was written these were intended to indicate earlier lives, however it was never explicitly stated on screen this was the case, which is just as well given what happened in the next season. The Deadly Assassin (1976) saw a badly mutated Master, and the explanation was that he had used up all his 12 regenerations. The first time this limit was mentioned. The Ribos Operation (197 gave a second indication that a regeneration does not have to occur when near death, and that it can be both controlled, and not instantly fixed. In this episode Romana regenerates at will, trying on several bodies before deciding on the final appearance of Princess Astra's body. Which at the time suggested she was wasting regenerations, but later the "15 hour rule" cleared that up as she was "still cooking" and hadn't set yet. The Keeper of Traken (1981) gives us the first instance of escaping the 12 limit when the 13th Master uses the powers of The Keeper to take over Tremas's body and gain new life. Logopolis (1981) saw 4 change to 5 and introduced a new concept of the Doctor having a mid regeneration out of body experience, sending his future intermediate self back to help keep his companions safe. It also was the first regeneration to REALLY emphasise the strain a regeneration puts on the new Doctor with 5 being quite ill for a lot of his first story Castrovalva (1982). Mawdryn Undead (1983) is probably the richest source of regeneration lore. The 12 limit announced in Deadly Assassin was never really explained as to how the limit was "enforced". A lot of recent supposition has assumed that because the Time Lords are no longer around there is nothing to stop him regenerating forever. However the limit isn't policed, it is rationed. Mawdryn Undead establishes that Time Lords have 12 "packets" of energy bestowed upon them at some point in their life and each packet is used to regenerate. So this episode draws a line that says even the last time lord will run out of luck eventually without further intervention. This episode also put to bed the theory that the "other faces" in The Brain of Morbius were earlier Doctors, as the Doctor announces he has 8 packets left, meaning he has only regenerated 4 times so far in reaching what we knew as the 5th Doctor. The Five Doctors then reinforces that as Richard Hurndall's first Doctor announces that he is "The Original". This episode also gives us another "Get out of jail free" card, when the Time Lords announce they can "gift" the Master with a new regenerative cycle if he helps the Doctor. At this point it is worth mentioning that some will say the 12 limit is to stop "copy degradation" of the DNA, or another theory to stop someone rising to absolute power and stopping there. I believe both these lines of thought come from books or radio plays, not from canon episode of the show itself. Planet of Fire (1984) shows a very sharp change of character, from Five's "feckless charm" to Six's "arrogant superiority" but still the same Doctor inside. Time and the Rani (1987) shows a regeration without any real explanation as to what caused it on screen, and also the first time the same actor was used at both ends of the regeneration. Sylvester McCoy played the Sixth Doctor with a curly wig and out of focus face before fuzzing into his real self Seventh Doctor. This was because Colin Baker had been both sacked and his contract allowed to lapse, putting him in a difficult and unhappy position, so he didn't return to film a regeneration. The Movie (1996) establishes that a regeneration does not have to happen immediately. The Doctor "dies" on the operating table and doesn't regenerate until later when he's in the morgue. The supposition is the anaesthetic caused the delay but never confirmed. This also featured possibly the most believable regeneration so far. Up to this point most had been some form of cross fade, wipe or hide and reveal technique. This time Sylvester's gurning almost made you think he could pull off the regeneration without any visual effects at all, but this was followed by a fairly sharp morph to finsh the transition to Paul McGann. Sadly the Movie was never picked up into another series, so we never saw what happened to the Eighth Doctor, though you can listen to his adventures in the Big Finish Audio plays. But since they are still being produced we still don't know what causes the regeneration to Nine, though we do suspect it was not that long before Rose (2005) as he sees his face in a mirror for the first time in that episode. Parting of the Ways (2005) shows the NuHu take on regeneration. No longer lieing dieing on the floor, a NuHu regeneration takes place standing up with the Time Lord positively bursting with energy in quite a fierce display. The Christmas Invasion (2005) establishes the 15 hour rule. The Doctor gets his hand chopped off, but grows a new one back, as he is still within 15 hours of the regeneration and still has enough energy left over to heal without a complete rewrite of DNA. You also see this remaining energy almost "burped" out in this episode. Utopia (2007) sees the Master regenerate and uses the same "standing up" technique established in Parting of the Ways. Last of the Time Lords (2007) also sees the Master STOP himself regenerating, instead willing his essence into a ring. It is not clear whether this was a Time Lord ability or just something the Master could do - given his, coloured past. The Doctor's Daughter (200 sees possibly another invocation of the 15 hour rule as the extrapolated Jenny (created from the Doctor's DNA) appears to die, but later revives without a body change (and why would you want to) with a Time Lord energy burp being evident. The Stolen Earth (200 sees the Tenth Doctor start to regenerate, but in Journey's End (200 we see he doesn't complete it, and syphons off the rest of the energy into a suitable recepticle (his dismembered hand from The Christmas Invasion), which later grew a whole new Tenth Doctor but not fully Gallifreyan. If Mawdryn Undead is to be respected this means that when Matt Smith regenerates we will be on the Last Doctor of his original set of 12 packets of energy. Note that the limit of 12 has never been mentioned in the new series, but David Tennant did talk about the limit on the Confidential for this episode, so the production team did still have it in mind at this point. The End of Time Part 1 (2009) sees the Master rebuilt from the ring in his original form, though not perfectly as it left him rather hungry. Again this is probably a Master Only trick. The End of Time Part 2 (2010) sees yet another delayed regeneration. Possibly as a result of this the regeneration is even fiercer than normal and destroys a lot of the TARDIS interior.
    That's a lot of really detailed information steamheaduk. Although I hate to nitpick on this I just want to point out it's not The Ribos Operation Romana regenerates, it's Destiny of the Daleks but what you've written is still quite comprehensive.

    Edited on 05/16/2010 8:55am
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  • Avatar of steamheaduk

    steamheaduk

    [20]May 16, 2010
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    pferreira86 wrote:

    That's a lot of really detailed information steamheaduk. Although I hate to nitpick on this I just want to point out it's not The Ribos Operation Romana regenerates, it's Destiny of the Daleks but what you've written is still quite comprehensive.


    Yes I knew, that, but after so much typing, shuffling and re-editing I'm surprised there wasn't more wrong with it I had the Ribos Operation stuck in my head for it's importance with respect to the Doctor's age in another thread.

    Though I think if you re-examine things, you'll find it's now only your post that is incorrect
    Edited on 05/16/2010 10:04am
    Edited 2 total times.
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