First Look at David Tennant's 2023 Doctor Who Regeneration Released (Photos)

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
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David Tennant is about to leave Doctor Who for the second time, and a new trailer has revealed the first look at his regeneration into Sex Education's Ncuti Gatwa.

Tennant only just came back as the Doctor for the 60th-anniversary specials, but fans are already getting ready to say "goodbye" once again as he will vacate the role in Special 3, "The Giggle," to give way to the incoming lead Gatwa.

David Tennant Becomes Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who (Photos)

The BBC officially released a new "Next Time" trailer for Doctor Who's third and final 60th anniversary special, "The Giggle."

As Special 3 will be the last for David Tennant's 14th Doctor, the trailer offered a glimpse at the Scottish actor preparing to regenerate into his next incarnation in front of an ambiguous, cloudy background.

Doctor Who 14th Doctor David Tennant 15th Doctor Ncuti Gatwa Regeneration
Doctor Who

Going as far back as the first teaser for the specials, Ncuti Gatwa's 15th Doctor has been featured in front of the same background, exclaiming, "Somebody tell me what the hell is going on here."

Doctor Who 14th Doctor David Tennant 15th Doctor Ncuti Gatwa Regeneration
Doctor Who

In this particular shot, Gatwa appeared to still be wearing Tennant's clothes, minus the waistcoat Tennant was still wearing at the time of his regeneration.

But things may not all be as they seem with this regeneration, as showrunner Russell T. Davis cryptically told in last December's issue of Doctor Who Magazine (via TARDIS Central) the cloudy background behind Gatwa was only used for the trailer because "the actual location would give away too much!"

Speaking of Gatwa's 15th Doctor, the "Next Time" trailer offered yet another look at the latest Time Lord, this time standing in his TARDIS, ready to begin his adventures across time and space this Christmas.

Doctor Who 15th Doctor Ncuti Gatwa TARDIS
Doctor Who

"The Giggle" will mark the third time David Tennant has regenerated as the Doctor, the first of which came in "The Stolen Earth," although that time he was able to keep the same face by channeling the energy through his severed hand.

Doctor Who David Tennant Regeneration
Doctor Who

The actor's second regeneration is still considered to be one of the most tragic in Doctor Who history as, after saying "goodbye" to many of his friends, he entered the TARDIS and emotionally uttered the words "I don't wanna go" as he prepared to transform into House of the Dragon and Morbius star Matt Smith.

Doctor Who David Tennant Regeneration
Doctor Who

Tennant's latest regeneration came in 2022's "Power of the Doctor," which saw departing actress Jodie Whittaker transform into the familiar face, much to the shock of both the Doctor and audiences.

Doctor Who David Tennant Regeneration
Doctor Who

Why the 14th Doctor's Regeneration Might Get Complicated

The final moments of David Tennant's 10th Doctor are renowned as some of the most tragic in Doctor Who, as his cries of "I don't wanna go" echo that of a dying man who doesn't feel he has finished his journey yet.

But with the Doctor now much older and having lived three more lives since the last Tennant era, perhaps his latest regeneration will have more of a sense of acceptance as the Time Lord is now ready to become someone new.

The 60th-anniversary specials have very much had a sense of commemorating the past while looking toward a brighter future, and a regenerating Doctor embracing his new, younger self would feel fitting in that sense.

But between the mysterious background, changing clothes, and the 15th Doctor's confused words - "Somebody tell me what the hell is going on here" - it appears there is something far stranger at play with this regeneration.

Once Ncuti Gatwa does officially become the Doctor, fans won't have to wait long to see him in action properly, as he will be back on screens on Christmas Day for "The Church on Ruby Road" special before returning for his first season in 2024.

Doctor Who's first two 60th anniversary specials are streaming now on Disney+ in most territories and exclusively on BBC iPlayer in the U.K. & Ireland.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.