For the first time in it's long history, the hero of Doctor Who will be played by a woman. Have you heard? Most likely you have. We watched Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor regenerate last Christmas, and the clock is almost striking thirteen: Jodie Whittaker's Doctor is coming very soon.
What does taking on the iconic role mean to Whittaker? She puts it very simply in an essay for IGN: "It means everything." This much has been apparent for a while— not only did her very brief appearance at the end of last year's regeneration episode get fans excited, but new trailers have as well. Whittaker also proved to be a sensation at San Diego Comic Con 2018, where she charmed everyone and anyone.
Part of the fun was revealed today via a video from IGN, which features Who fans talking to them about why they are so excited about Whittaker's Doctor. What the fans don't know is that Whittaker herself was listening in, ready to surprise them in person. Take a look at the collection of surprises from the 13th Doctor right here:
In the essay, Whittaker goes a little bit further about what the show means to her. It "celebrates change, it celebrates inclusivity, inclusiveness, and all versions of that." She goes on to say that it also celebrates "the past, the future, humanity, and species that you can’t even get your head around even existing." It is the endless possibilities therein that excite her.
Even though a woman is at the TARDIS controls for the first time in 55 years, Whittaker makes it clear that "this show is for everyone." It has a little bit of everything, and it "doesn't exclude anyone." In that sense, she calls the show "unique." As to what her 13th Doctor will be like, she says that they will be "a hopeful Doctor that is ready to embrace every new experience with a glass full of light."
In case the video above wasn't proof enough, she is more than aware of the potent fanbase that the show has amassed: "I think the fans are what make the show, but what’s exciting for us as well is to potentially make new Whovians from this series, and to see, potentially, people being at Comic-Con next year that have never been before, and go because of their love of this." She marvels that she has already seen fans wearing her costume, even though they haven't fully seen her in action yet. The honor is not lost on her.
The very nature of the show is that things change. Matt Smith's 11th Doctor said as much when he regenerated— "times change, and so must I." Whittaker echoes that statement, saying, "The Doctor regenerates. The Doctor changes. With that comes a celebration of change, but [for] some people, there’s also a fear of the change." She drives the point home that her casting solidifies that fact that the Doctor "can and will" appear in any form, and that for a show like this, it is perfectly normal.
Is she ready to be a hero, not just to young girls all over the world, but to young boys as well? "My heroes don’t all look the same, and therefore, the heroes on television shouldn’t all look the same," she says. Without embracing "progression and change" then she posits that the show wouldn't be the gargantuan success that it has become. She is aware that some fans will always lament the loss of the former Doctor, but she says, "...that’s why this show is so exciting, is because you can never predict what’s going to happen, so therefore it’s never boring."
She also admits to being a "new Whovian" herself, saying once again that the new season is a perfect jumping on point for someone new to Who. Whittaker found it "incredibly engaging, and inclusive, and representative of the world I live in today..." which is exactly what the show should be, really. Prior to her casting, if someone had mentioned the show to her, she said that she would think of David Tennant, the 10th Doctor (as well as her Broadchurch co-star). These days, she says, "It’s fascinating to now have my own identity with it, and [have] it not take away from anyone else’s."
Adding that new showrunner Chris Chibnall's writing is "energetic and hopeful and full of electricity and full of light," Whittaker also mentions that the character is wonderful to play, and requires "a lot of caffeine." When people talk about the Doctor these days, Whittaker may very well think of herself. It is only right that she would— she is the Doctor now, after all. We don't know about you, but we're more than ready to welcome this caffeinated ball of light into our universe.
Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor will debut when Doctor Who premieres globally on October 7th. Allons-y, Geronimo, and oh, brilliant!