11 actors who'd make great Time Lords in that Doctor Who movie

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Marc Bernardin
Nov 25, 2014

With the exciting news that we were going to get a big-screen Doctor Who came the realization that director David Yates was going to recast the role of the Doctor. But who could play that galaxy-hopping madman with a blue box?

Here are 11 potential Time Lords.

While there are a ton of variables that'll go into who'll be the big-screen Doctor in Yates' reinvention of the franchise, two things seem safe to assume: 1) The Doctor will still be "British"—or, at least, have a British accent—and 2) It's gotta be a movie star. Doctor Who might be the BBC's most popular franchise, but it's still a cult show, with a passionate but small following. (No offense, Whovians, but the Doctor is nowhere near as popular as Harry Potter or Batman.)

So, with those provisions in mind ...

Daniel Radcliffe

You Might Know Him From: The Harry Potter series

If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on him. While I'm not sure if young Radcliffe can summon the necessary menace—or weariness—that runs beneath the surface of the recent Doctors, he's blossomed into a fine young actor. The fact that he was the star of a phenomenally successful fantasy franchise—who Yates directed four times—makes him a lock for the short list.

Jude Law

You Might Know Him From: Sherlock Holmes, Contagion

The Holmes films have lent some heat to Law, who hasn't really carried a hit movie since, well, ever. But he's got the talent to pull it off and isn't too hard on the eyes.

Robert Downey Jr.

You Might Know Him From: Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, The Avengers

He might not be a Briton, but he plays one on TV—okay, the movies. But if his accent is strong enough to play the United Kingdom's most famous sleuth, he can handle the U.K.'s most famous time traveler as well. And being the foundation of Marvel's cinematic universe doesn't hurt.

Michael Fassbender

You Might Know Him From: X-Men: First Class, Inglourious Basterds, 300

Suave as all get-out, handsome as sin and able to act his way out of Magneto's sweatpants, Fassbender is on everyone's list for everything. No reason this should be any different. There's a hard edge to him that could cut to the heart of the Doctor.

James McAvoy

You Might Know Him From: X-Men: First Class, Wanted

Everything I said about Fassbender, his First Class co-star, applies here. But where Fassbender can bring the aggression, McAvoy could bring the empathy to an alien with nothing but enduring love for the people of Earth.

Idris Elba

You Might Know Him From: Thor, The Office, The Wire, Luther

Before Matt Smith got the gig as the 11th Doctor, there was a bit of a groundswell for a Doctor of African descent—Paterson Joseph was the name that floated to the surface—given that there's no reason why a regenerating alien needs to have the same pigment with each incarnation. In the past 10 years, Elba has developed into an actor of galvanizing power: If you're going to break format, he'd be a hell of a choice to roll the dice with.

Natalie Portman

You Might Know Her From: V for Vendetta, Black Swan, the Star Wars prequels

Right along next to the black-actor groundswell was a push for a female Doctor. If you wanted to completely reboot and recontextualize Doctor Who, you might as well consider a lady while you're at it. And Portman brings the clout, thanks to her Black Swan Oscar, as well as a sterling box-office track record. And she can rock the accent.

Andrew Garfield

You Might Know Him From: The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man

Handling Aaron Sorkin's rapid-fire Social Network dialogue proved Garfield had the requisite verbal dexterity to play an occasionally scatterbrained time traveler. Once we get a good look at him as Spider-Man, we'll know if he can rock some action. One thing is certain, though: He's got the hair.

Johnny Depp

You Might Know Him From: Pirates of the Caribbean films, Alice in Wonderland

Phenomenal international drawing power: Affirmative. Quixotic charm: In abundance. Accent: Easily faked. Youthful: Well ... he's on the same side of 50 as Robert Downey Jr., but, much like RDJ, that "phenomenal international drawing power" kind of erases that.

Tom Hardy

You Might Know Him From: Inception, Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises

He's a bit beefier than most of the Doctors we've seen, who trend toward the spindly-sinewy. But as the not-so-old saying goes, you mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

Robert Pattinson

You Might Know Him From: Twilight

Let's face it: To make Doctor Who play to a global audience, you're going to need a global star. And any list of global stars who can give you a convincing British accent will have Pattinson's name on it. Sorry.