It seems like an eternity has passed since Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor uttered his final words of wisdom to his soon-to-be-regenerated self in this past year's Doctor Who Christmas Special. With a plea for his next incarnation to “be kind,” 12 released them and Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor burst onto the scene. She looked at her reflection, realized that she was finally female, and uttered the now classic line, “Oh, brilliant!” The TARDIS then started to explode, which was to be expected at this point.
We’ve waited a long time for the 13th Doctor, and she has almost arrived. We’ve been given plenty of bits of information as to what this new Doctor (and her new season) will entail, and we know a fair amount about it. While we continue the (agonizing) wait for the adventures of 13 to begin, what better moment than this to take stock of everything we know about the new season thus far?
As the Doctor once said, “times change, and so must I.” Prophetic words — Whovians are about to experience possibly the greatest change-around that the show has undergone since it returned in 2005. That’s okay, because as the Doctor also said, “You’ve got to keep moving.” What do we know? Let’s jump in. Geronimo.
THE NEW DOCTOR
As has been already stated, the new Doctor is being played by a woman for the first time in the show’s history. Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block) will play her, and the first trailer (shown above) shows her starting off with a far more playful attitude than some other Doctors. Capaldi’s 12 grew to be playful for sure, but he definitely didn’t start that way. We also know what Whittaker’s Doctor’s signature outfit will be, which can be seen in the photo below:
With TARDIS blue pants, 11-esque boots, and a silhouette-friendly coat, 13 is going to be traveling in style. One of the most interesting aspects of the costume is the shirt that she is wearing: the rainbow stripe across the front immediately makes one think of insanely long rainbow scarf worn by Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor.
We also know what catchphrases 13 will be spouting off: instead of “Fantastic," “Allons-y,” “Geronimo,” or “Shut up, shut up,” she will continue to use her introductory line of "brilliant” as well as the word “ace.” Both lean into the positive aspects of her personality, with the latter phrase recalling the 7th Doctor’s longest running companion, who was of course called Ace.
THE NEW TARDIS
With a new Doctor, there usually comes a TARDIS redesign. The new exterior appears in the costume reveal photo, and a zoom-in of it can be seen above. It no longer has the clean, bright, shiny look that the 11th and 12th Doctors had; instead, the TARDIS looks a bit shabby again, with the door sign once more given a black background. This is a very similar look to the TARDIS used by Tom Baker’s Doctor, and perhaps an overall theme of design is emerging here.
In terms of the interior, we don’t know what it will look like, we just know that it’s been redesigned. Experiencing the new design for the first time is one of the joys of a Doctor’s premiere episode, and we can’t wait to see what 13’s TARDIS interior has in store for us. Here’s hoping that she kept the swimming pool, even though we’ve only (barely) seen it once.THE NEW SONIC SCREWDRIVER
Another bit of lore that usually changes with a new Doctor (but not always) is the iconic Sonic Screwdriver. The above image is the toy replica (which may nor may not have already been bought by certain writers), and it'll give you a good idea of what it's gonna look like. 13’s screwdriver is a little sleeker than the two previous versions, and it will emit a gold-colored light from the tip. Apparently, she will "acquire it" somehow (both 11 and 12 used versions made by the TARDIS), so that may account for the big design change. We assume that it will still make the same signature sound.
It wouldn’t be Doctor Who without a gaggle of companions traveling around with the Doctor, and this time we don’t just have one, but three. Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill), and Graham (Bradley Walsh) will all be joining the TARDIS crew, and while we don’t really know who they are (or how they come to be entwined with the Doctor), that’s another one of the great thrills of a new Doctor premiere. One thing we do know, thanks to the trailer, is that 13 will be asking them to be her “new best friends.” If they don’t immediately agree, then they have no soul.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Here’s where some of the biggest shake-ups are occurring. Steven Moffat has stepped down as showrunner, and Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch) has taken his place. He’s not a Doctor Who neophyte— he’s written more than a few episodes, including the hilarious Season 7 romp “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.” Chibnall has said that the season will tell one long story, and he's promising "new monsters, new villains." Both he and Whittaker have also said that the new season could be a "perfect jumping on point" for new fans.
Likely the hardest change to deal with will be the departure of composer Murray Gold, who has been with the show ever since the return in 2005. His iconic scoring will be greatly missed, but incoming composer Segun Akinola will be there to fill the void.
Writers and directors for the season have also been announced— in addition to Chibnall, the writing staff will consist of Malorie Blackman, Ed Hime, Vinay Patel, Pete McTighe and Joy Wilkinson. Taking on directing duties for the season will be Sallie Aprahamian, Jamie Childs, Jennifer Perrott and Mark Tonderai.
It was surprise to us as well, but Chibnall has said that the most famous Doctor Who villains of all-time, the Daleks, will not appear in the season. There is every chance that he was being cute when he said this.
The first real trial-by-fire for any Doctor is their first encounter with this famous breed of arch-enemy. We’re surprised that Whittaker’s Doctor won’t be going up against them, and we definitely hope that season 12 will bring them in. You can’t go too long in Doctor Who without them — it’s science.
THE PREMIERE DATE
The new season will premiere globally on Sunday, October 7th. New episodes will continue to air on Sundays, which marks a bit of a timeslot change. Season 11 will contain 10 episodes in total, but there will of course be the traditional Christmas Special (coming on Christmas Day) which is not a part of that count. The title of the premiere episode is "The Woman Who Fell To Earth."
We’ll continue to add to this roundup as we learn new details, but in the meantime, our excitement will continue to build. Things will be different, but there’s no reason to think that the new season won’t be ace. Hopefully we’ll all be looking at our televisions on October 7th, marveling at 13's adventures and saying, “Oh, brilliant!”
Before we do that? We just have to wait a little bit longer. “And the shepherd’s boy says…”