Doctor Who's Whovians may have to ditch the number system for the series titular title character.
With all the hubbub surrounding the questionable numbering of Peter Capaldi's "Twelfth" Doctor in the wake of the 50th Anniversary Special, showrunner Steven Moffat has posited that the idea of numbering the Doctors is merely a way of keeping track of the series' actors.
"He has never called himself the anything-th Doctor in the show," Moffat told SFX (via Doctor Who TV). "If the Doctor was a real person and walked in here, and you said, "Which incarnation are you?" he'd have to think, just as you'd have to think about how many houses you've lived in. He never thinks of himself as a numbered Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor means the twelfth actor to have played the lead in Doctor Who. That's all it means. There is no such character as the Twelfth Doctor and never has been."
With this new definition in mind, the argument that the War Doctor and Meta-Crisis Ten pushes Capaldi's regeneration to the Fourteenth Doctor becomes invalid since neither character truly became the lead.
Find out more about the Doctor when Doctor Who returns to the BBC and BBC America on Aug. 23.