Doctor Who hosts one of the most beloved sci-fi characters of all time, and most transferences of the Time Lord to a different body and actor have been met with stoic (or not-so-stoic) resignation by the die-hard fans who loved and grew attached to say, Matt Smith's Doctor, or David Tennant's.
But the transfer that's about to be completed this coming October 7 when the 11th season of Doctor Who debuts on the BBC has been met with more than the usual amount of both excitement and dissection, as the world's first female Doctor, played by Black Mirror sci-fi alum Jodie Whittaker, will step from the police call box for the very first time. And, after 12 male Doctors, it is, of course, about time.
It seems that most Doctor Who fans are open to the change (a recent British poll had 85 percent of the thousands of self-proclaimed Doctor Who fans who were polled either thrilled with the casting or open to it) but a few voices of dismay have stirred the pot, such as fifth doctor Peter Davison lamenting the casting as a "loss of a role model for boys," though even he added, "...but I understand the argument that you need to open it up." (It is also worth noting that many other former Doctors, such as the hallowed Tennant himself, have squarely backed the choice with no reservations.)
So what does Whittaker think about this idea of gender-specific role models? In a recent interview with The Wrap, she echoed the sentiments of thousands of fans. First off, she said, "I'd be surprised by finding a boy who didn't have a role model in their life that was female." But also, she added, "Role models and heroes come in all different shapes and sizes, and I've never needed to look like mine for me to be able to relate to them." (For a great case study in young women's years and years of having to adapt on this front, especially in light of the still too narrow opportunities for female heroes, look no further than some personal favorite young heroines, Little Girl Loki and Little Girl Thor.)
Whittaker went on to laud Doctor Who as always having been "an inclusive" show. "It's not making the show to exclude," she said, "it's making the show to include." And, obviously, "the fact that a woman is playing an alien over a man playing an alien kind of is irrelevant to the qualifications. It's playing an alien, so the gender is irrelevant."
Further, and something all fans should know, "the Doctor is a Time Lord, an alien with two hearts," she said. "Those things don't change. The body changes...obviously it's the [same] gender [so far], but it's a very different form that the doctor's regenerated into, and I am an extension of that change. But not a diversion from it."
Whittaker went on to say that she looks forward to putting her own spin on the Doctor, as all Doctors before her have, adhering to "the writing," which is where the character is born. Legions of fans are looking forward too.