It's that time again: The end of the current Doctor's timeline is in sight, and soon he'll erupt in a blast of golden light to get the universe's most impressive facelift. Yes, Peter Capaldi's exit from Doctor Who brings with it all the hopes and expectations for the inevitable next regeneration, and fans are already wondering who will fill the Timelord's tailored suit this time around.
Despite persistent rumors that Kris Marshall (Love Actually, Death In Paradise) will be the next Doctor, many fans are urging the BBC to choose someone a little more original — specifically, a woman or person of color. One such fan is #DoctorWho alumni Karen Gillan, who recently shared her thoughts on the matter.
Gillan played Amy Pond for two and a half series, making her the longest running companion in Doctor Who's modern age. Now, she's starring as Nebula in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and while on a press junket for the film, Gillan was asked by ScreenRant to share her opinions on the new Doctor Who casting. Specifically, the publication asked if Gillan wanted a woman or a person of color to play the new Doctor, and here's her reply:
"Both. Let’s go with both. We need some diversity in the TARDIS. That would be great, and also a female could absolutely play the Doctor. You know, some people question it, and I’m like, you’re crazy. Of course, a female can play that role. There are so many actresses that could do that and I’d love to see that."
It has been well established in the Doctor Who canon that Timelords can change everything about their appearance when they regenerate: age, gender, race and hair color are all subject to the Timelord's whim. And yet, an element of chance has been suggested too — after all, no matter how he wants those auburn locks, the Doctor has never been ginger.
This has really muddied the water: As Timelords can vary their sex and gender when regenerating, the possibility is very much there for the BBC to cast someone who isn't white and male as the Doctor. This makes the standard white British guy pretty boring. Some might even go so far as to say that without casting a woman or person of color (or both) as the Doctor, the BBC are actively refusing the opportunity to add some diversity and representation to Doctor Who.
That's not to say that the show itself isn't diverse. In fact, over the years the Doctor Who show-runners have made a point to represent many different peoples (not to mention alien species) — it's just a shame that this has never been extended to the show's lead character.
Unfortunately, all signs point towards the Doctor staying pale and male shaped for a while yet. On top of the rumors about Kris Marshall inheriting the keys to the TARDIS, a new report suggests that the BBC's Complaints Officer already revealed that the new Doctor will be male when responding to a letter of complaint about the Doctor maybe being a woman. Despite the fact that in over 50 years, children have been able to understand the Doctor suddenly looking like a different person, this concerned parent was sure the Doctor being played by a woman would "confuse the children." Well, they didn't have a problem with the reincarnated Avatar changing genders in the Nickelodeon cartoons Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend Of Korra. But I digress.
With Karen Gillan adding her voice to the issue, here's hoping that the BBC decide to take a little risk when casting the next Doctor. But even should he take the role, at least we can rest assured that Kris Marshall is a fantastic actor who will no doubt make the part his own — and as a bonus he's also ginger, which should delight the Doctor.
Tell us in the comments: Who would you like to see as the new Doctor?