Doctor Who? The Question That Must Be Answered

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By: Mary Rakas

Dorium Maldovar warned the Doctor that silence must fall when the question is asked. When Peter Capaldi announced early this year that he would leave Doctor Who after series ten, silence was not the response.

The news sparked a wave of speculation regarding who his replacement will be. Many actors have been thrown into the ring as possibilities. Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, has said in interviews he would like to fill the role.

Capaldi quickly became one of my all-time favorite versions of the Doctor, and as such, I think the next regeneration should stay on the mature side. Out of any actor of the new series, Capaldi showed the biggest capacity to embody the characteristics of all thirteen versions. He was calm, witty, and methodical like the first eight doctors, and sassy, energetic, and morose like the next four.

Nathan Fillion and Robert Downey, Jr., have come up as choices to play the first American Doctor. I can see Fillion’s version protecting his companion(s) like family and running from trouble. Downey, Jr. can effortlessly be clever, snarky, and a little bit crazy (in the best possible way).

Again, lack of time might be an issue with Downey Jr. There are a slew of Marvel movies scheduled for the near future and no end in sight to Iron Man appearances. As for Fillion, discussions have surfaced of a possible Firefly revival. If there is one, he may join the show again as Malcolm Reynolds.

Though on the younger side like Redmayne, another option is Rupert Grint. Even before Capaldi announced his departure, Grint was suggested to play the Time Lord to fulfill the Doctor’s desire to be a ginger. Grint is also a popular choice because it would provide an opportunity for Emma Watson to join the show as a new companion, thereby merging the Doctor Who and Harry Potter fandoms.

The Doctor should be a ginger some day. Grint could easily pull off the comedic and sarcastic facets of the Time Lord’s personality. However, since Grint has already joined the cast of a new series called Snatch, he may not have time for Doctor Who.

As for Watson, some arguments bypass making her a companion and say she should be the new Doctor. This brings us to another debate: should the next Doctor be a woman?

Arguments Against:

Personally, making the Doctor a woman wouldn’t be my first choice. The Doctor has been male for over 50 years, and the show remains immensely popular. Forcing a character change simply to make a statement would lessen the quality of the show. I think it would come through as a half-hearted plot twist with no real depth.

Secondly, with a new showrunner coming on board around the same time, living up to expectations would be a safe route to take, at least at first. There’s comfort in having a general notion of what will happen next. It would be better to wait and see how smoothly the transition goes before making drastic changes.

Arguments For:

Making the Doctor regenerate into a woman would mix things up. Some have suggested the show has become stale and predictable, lacking unique story lines and in-depth plots. Turning the Doctor into a Time Lady would offer more options to take the plot in directions we haven’t seen yet.

Building on this concept, with the Doctor running out of regenerations, the show may (eventually) cancel or hand the sonic screwdriver off to a new main character. This would be a good opportunity to cast a woman for the role.

My Picks:

Three actors would be fantastic in the role of the Doctor. If a younger actor were cast, Tom Hiddleston would be a good choice. Charm, class, and an ability to show the darker side of the Time Lord, as shown in the tenth Doctor’s “the laws of time will obey me” speech, would make him a good fit.

If the show takes the American Doctor route, Peter Dinklage would be an excellent choice. His ability to exude wit, complexity, and conflicting emotions would be an asset to the show.

The main roadblock with these choices is the number of projects they are involved in. Hiddleston will be busy with the upcoming release of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. Dinklage, meanwhile, will most likely be occupied with the final seasons of Game of Thrones.

My last choice is Tilda Swinton. Based on her role as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, she could easily exhibit the extraordinary knowledge of the Doctor, as well as his lofty, mysterious air. I can hear her reciting the ninth Doctor’s explanation of who he is:

“I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. And the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour and I can feel it.”


I would support a woman Doctor under two conditions. First, the change would have to be a natural next step to progress the story. Second, the actress would need to be flexible in expressing the Doctor’s dynamic persona.

Whoever is chosen as the next Time Lord, man or woman, we can be sure Doctor Who will continue leading us through exciting adventures in time and space.


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