Every time the Doctor regenerates, people talk about who they want to replace them. I always see things about “oh it should be this person, or this person” as well as “it better not be so-and-so.” Right now we’re on the cusp of the announcement of who is playing the 13th incarnation of the Doctor. There have been many indicators about the next Doctor is going to be a woman, which to me has sparked a lot more buzz and accompanying controversy than I have seen before. I don’t understand it.
The Doctor’s regeneration, in my experience, is a bit like a grieving process, particularly when its your first time going through it. You’ve been watching this show with intrigue, danger, and adventure (with an outrageous amount of running), and then the actor playing the Doctor announces they have decided to move on from the show. I remember the first time the regeneration really affected me (though it was my second one). It was when David Tennant left and Matt Smith took over—all I really wanted was for David to stick around. He is my Doctor, after all.
But what I’ve come to understand is that the grief does go away. I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Smith’s run, and there were quite a few good stories during Peter Capaldi’s era. Sure, I have my favourites and there are some episodes I’m not as fond of. But you know what? That also happens to be the case with David Tennant’s run.
Tomorrow (or today in the UK) we find out who the 13th Doctor is. I don’t really have much of a preference, to be perfectly honest. All I want from the person taking up this mantle is an excellent performance, whether they are a man or a woman. I want them to bring the passion and dedication this role both deserves and requires.
The only thing I worry about is what will happen if the new Doctor is a woman. Will I be happy? Of course! But I will also be worried, because I have a feeling there will be a lot of people who will be much harsher on their performance. Somehow I feel like if she does not perform excellent and even better than the majority of the Doctors, there will not be another female Doctor, and I think that will be a shame.
Regardless of who has the part, I know they went through a stringent and secretive casting process. I know they are who Chris Chibnall and the others involved in casting are looking for to fill the role. It’s normal to not be sure about them, to maybe not want them—because we are grieving the departure of a Doctor and have not yet seen what the new person is going to bring to the role. But I think, once we do—everything will fit.
~~**~~ AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT~~**~~
So there we have it—Jodie Whittaker is the lucky one to play the 13th Doctor.
Already I can see those who are over the moon about this casting, both because it’s her as well as the fact the Doctor is now a woman, and those who apparently think the show is now going down the drain and refuse to watch anymore.
I know Jodie’s work from Broadchurch, but not much else. This is perhaps because it’s largely British work and I only have access to so much in Canada. With that said, I think she did a great job in Broadchurch and actually I really want to rewatch it now!
I will give people the benefit of the doubt if they are nervous because they don’t know her work. But I think it’s just wrong to be against her casting because she is a woman. We know the Master turned into Missy (Michelle Gomez). We also know about the Corsair, who was a woman a few times, according to one episode from Matt Smith’s era. There have been multiple examples of Time Lords changing gender, so why not the Doctor?
It’ll be interesting to see what direction Chris Chibnall takes the show, particularly with this move right out of the gate. Who will take the companion’s role? Will that stay as the traditional female companion, or are we in for another switch?
Honestly, all I’ve been thinking about since I found out the Doctor was going to change is that I want a good performance. I want stellar writing and someone up for a challenge. How will Jodie rank in my opinions of the various incarnations of the Doctor? We’ll see, but I think she is in good hands, which can only bolster her talent.
While I think Jodie has a monumental challenge ahead of her, I also think being the first female Doctor will be a lovely thing for young girls who are sci-fi fans. Frankly, even for grown women! I just know this will make everything worth it.
I am not nervous about the Doctor being a woman. The only nerves I have are about the unknown factor in terms of the writing and what type of character Jodie will be as the Doctor. It’s the same nervousness I had in previous regeneration cycles, so nothing new for me.
Of course with this casting news, I’ve also realized…I would give anything to write for Doctor Who. Especially now, with the progression the show is taking.
For my money, I’m confident. I’m happy. We’ll see what the future brings. Can’t wait for Christmas. Can’t wait for the next season.