Whovians, it’s time to start stocking up on tissues. As confirmed this week by star Peter Capaldi, series ten of Doctor Who will be his last. Thanks to the very convenient regeneration mechanic, this simply means the mantle of the character will be passed on to another actor. It has become somewhat of a tradition to, in preparation for the waterworks, start fan-casting who might be the next Doctor. In the past couple of transitions, this has even helped shaped the Doctor Who canon and direction. With this in mind, I’ve teamed up with fellow TYF writer Katie Gill to come up with thirteen recommendations for the Thirteenth Doctor!*
*Yes, we are aware that technically the new Doctor will be the Fourteenth, but the late John Hurt’s Doctor is referred to in canon as The War Doctor and therefore does not add a number, no matter how dumb that sounds.
I mean this is a given. Colman worked with new showrunner Chris Chibnall on Broadchurch, which happens to be ending in 2017 (what a coincidence, said no one ever). Both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant worked with Russell T. Davies before they were offered the part of the Doctor so there’s precedent in that type of showrunner/actor Doctor Who working relationship. Aside from that, Colman’s a talented actress who has only dipped her toes into the sci-fi genre. If the Doctor regenerates as a woman, there’s going to be a new level of criticism no matter who’s cast–why not try and stave off some of that criticism by casting a talented veteran of British television – Katie Gill
In fairness, someone of Lewis’ build is the absolute safest move that could be made. Though, there is still a case to be made. Lewis has had a fairly consistent filmography since the end of the Harry Potter films in British TV; most recently Ripper Street. He has also seen a huge resurgence in popularity via the “be careful who you call ‘ugly’ in high school” meme. That’s probably a huge factor in this choice, too. A major player in Doctor Who’s popularity in the US came as a direct result of the youth and energy of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. There could be a chance to try to revitalize that alongside the Potter cred. – Travis Hymas
Eva Green’s also worked with Chibnall, though on the Starz series Camelot. She’s an amazingly talented actress, who can take any sort of genre and run wild with it. She can bring equal parts lightness and darkness to whatever character she’s given. Most importantly, she can imbue a level of seriousness to scenes that are utterly silly. The climax of season 2 of Penny Dreadful involved Green talking to a ventriloquist dummy of her character and she made it WORK. This is an actress who can easily sell whatever sort of dodgy effects the BBC throws at her. – Katie Gill
Another heavily tossed around fan favorite, but for a good reason. While Ayoade isn’t exactly a household name in the states, he has been a staple in British TV since 1999. Now, he is far more a comedy actor than many Doctors past, but with an attempt in the last series to close the book on Steven Moffat’s larger plots and restore the Doctor’s personality to “cosmic hobo,” a more comedic touch would facilitate that. Ayoade is also a well-versed writer and director, meaning he could contribute even more to the narrative by getting behind the camera. – Travis Hymas
Joseph was one of the names bandied around during the casting of the Eleventh Doctor–why not go ahead and cast him as the Thirteenth? He’s a talented actor who can bring warmth and humor to just about any part he’s offered. He’s already got time-travel experience with Timeless and helped sell strange new worlds on Nevewhere. The only problem is that Joseph is currently starring in the American series Timeless and might not want to swap shows. Still, that didn’t stop Capaldi from taking the role when he was starring in the series The Musketeers. – Katie Gill
I shouldn’t even need to explain myself, this scene should do it. Atwell has a surprising amount of range and a hell of a stage presence. With her last ABC series, Conviction, in the cancellation bin, she’s got the availability and the desire to take the role. Like the other well recommended women on this list, the idea of handing over the role to a woman will have resistance from some fans. That shouldn’t be the case, but heading off that criticism with the overly qualified will be the best way to do so. – Travis Hymas