No Who for a whole year? I almost lost my breath when I heard the news. As a Whovian I have grown accustomed to a new season coming out every fall followed by a very nice Christmas Special. But oh no, Steven Moffat just had to quit before they even began filming Season 10. We will see his last season of the show premiere in 2017 with his successor, Chris Chibnall’s episodes begin airing in 2018. Chibnall is best known as the lead writer and creator of Broadchurch. Like Moffat before him, Chibnall is a lifelong Doctor Who fan and looks at this as a great honor to be taking the reigns for the “ultimate BBC program.” This news came as a real shock when just a few weeks ago Moffat says he was not actually ready to quit the show but just helping look for his replacement.
All of this information was nicely wrapped, packaged and thrown at the world less than 2 months after a seriously heartwarming Christmas Special, two months after The Doctor’s latest companion died, and with a new Doctor only two season in; not to mention when we finally see him go back to Gallifrey and finally hear him talk about the Time War. It is such a major change! What will become of the show? Will Peter Capaldi stay on for more seasons than expected? If he leaves soon, who will be the next Doctor? When will a new companion be introduced? Will we see the return of old characters rewritten in completely different ways? Will the new T.A.R.D.I.S. get a new look? Information overload! There are a billion questions now and I think this is exactly what Moffat and BBC were trying to do.
When a new Doctor gets introduced it’s a way to engage new fans and revamp the show. Each one of the regenerations, starting all the way back to 1963, has had a very different personality and his own gimmick. We all know Tom Baker and his Jelly Babies or Matt Smith and his cool bow ties. I think that the transition from Smith to Capaldi was a very difficult one for fans. He was not only older but was written in a much darker manner. I think Moffat, though I love (almost) everything he has done with the show knew that to continue to be successful it needed to be revamped. And in true Moffat form he is leaving the audience with a mind full of questions, unease and worry. But that’s a good thing, I guess. We will all be waiting on the edge of our seats until the next Christmas Special at the end of this year and for a full season until 2017. It’s only 325 days away if we go by December 20th but whose counting?
There is really only one question that actually might make me pull my hair out if unanswered by the time the next season aires: when will Capaldi be leaving the show? At first I was also very concerned about Chibnall as a writer but I have enjoyed the episodes he has written for the show in the past. I was worried that he would not be able to write with speed and at the pace the show sometimes travels as compared to Broadchurch. I enjoy that show as well but it moves at snail speed compared to how Doctor Who moves. But then I remembered and episode he wrote back when Russell T. Davies was still with the show. I thoroughly enjoyed “42” which had excitement in every minute. So now that we know we have a capable writer taking the reigns of the show, lets hope we can still have a couple more seasons with our current Doctor.
Capaldi has only signed on to do this season 10. Will he be leaving the show with Moffat? I’m hoping he doesn’t but if he does I’m guessing BBC will try and shake things up a whole lot with the next choice for the title character. With the slump in ratings that started during Season 8, they tried to change things up with a different kind of Doctor. Not sure how successful their choice was but it was definitely a far step from the young and dashing Doctors of Season’s 2-7. (I really love Capadli and wish he would stay for a lot longer.) My hope is that they will choose a female as the new Doctor if he chooses to depart the show. Some say that strays way too far from the tradition of the show or that he has no more regenerations left. But when the Timelords granted him the regeneration on Trenzalore there is no real way of knowing whether or not they gave him just the 1 or 12 more, like a start over button. We also know that Timelords can pick their faces as told in “The Girl Who Dies.” And we all can’t forget the infamous Master turning into Missy as well as the Timelord in Season 9, “Hell Bent” changing from a man back into a woman. She mentions her normal form was a woman, “Oh- back to normal am I? Only time I’ve been a man, that last body. Dear Lord, how do you cope with the ego?” I also found that Davies suggested approaching Catherine Zeta Jones as David Tennant’s successor but he had no pull on casting as he had already turned the show over to Moffat. Back in the 80’s when the show was going through a slump the original show creator, Sydney Newman suggested changing The Doctor into a female character as well. But when the idea was rejected the show was soon canceled. So it seems like this might be a something to really consider.
The other idea that seems to be floating around is non-Caucasian male. It is rumored that Chiwetel Ejiofor was actually chosen first as David Tennant’s successor but declined the role. The 12 Years a Slave actor supposedly could not agree to the terms of the contract and therefore BBC went with Matt Smith. Neil Gaiman, a previous writer on the show was quoted on his Tumblr account in 2013, “And yes, I have no doubt there will be [a black Doctor]. (I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down.) Just as there will be a female Doctor.” I think he would have made a great Doctor. It’s just like having a black James Bond, the idea is so amazing but the classic community of followers may not be ready for that. They may not even be ready for a white female Doctor. Either way when Capaldi leaves we should all be prepared for some REAL changes to the show. Oh and some serious drama surrounding his exit.
So for right now I will be waiting on my show to return. Hoping to hear some good news because at this time I just can’t handle any more changes. I need more time binge watch Season 9 a million times, then start all the way from the beginning with Chris Eccelston. And hey, maybe the time will fly because as we all know time is a non-linear ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. That made me feel a little better … almost.