When it was announced that Peter Capaldi would be taking the TARDIS keys from Matt Smith and stepping into the role of the Twelfth Doctor later this year, many pointed out that the actor has already popped up in the Who-niverse. Twice, actually: once in the 2008 episode “The Fires of Pompeii” and again — playing a different character — in the excellent 2009 Torchwood: Children of Earth. There’s nothing terribly unusual about all of that; it’s hardly the first time an actor has put in minor appearances in Who before moving on to a more substantial role. But recent comments from showrunner Steven Moffat suggest that Capaldi’s role as the Doctor not only won’t ignore his earlier appearances, but they may serve as an actual plot point within the show.
So what the hell does that mean? Let’s take a look at Moffat’s exact words. In a video interview with Nerd3 (seen below), Moffat addresses Capaldi’s earlier roles in Who and Torchwood by saying:
I remember Russell [T Davies] told me that he had a big old plan as to why there were two Peter Capaldi’s in the Who universe: one in Pompeii and one in Torchwood. When I cast Peter and Russell got in touch to say how pleased he was, I said, ‘Okay, what was your theory and does it still work?” and he said, ‘Yes it does. Here it is…’
We’ll play that one out over time. It’s actually quite neat.