Over the weekend reports cropped that the Doctor will once again be regenerating soon as Jodie Whittaker — the first woman to play the iconic, time-traveling alien — is planning to leave the show after her upcoming third season. After the report from the Daily Mirror came out, the BBC had no comment on the matter, saying only that, “We won’t be commenting on any speculation around Jodie’s future on the show.” Not exactly a resounding denial.
The report cited a source with alleged knowledge of Whittaker’s thinking, saying, “It’s all very hush-hush but it is known on set that Jodie is leaving and they are gearing up for a regeneration. Her departure is top secret but at some point, over the coming months the arrival of the 14th Doctor will need to be filmed.”
The move would put Jodie Whittaker in line with every other modern Doctor’s three-series Doctor Who run aside from Christopher Eccleston, who only starred in one season, but it still comes as a surprise since her third season had already started filming. It also feels a bit sudden thanks to the shortened series length of Whittaker’s run and the fact that the past two seasons have struggled to define her Doctor aside from a much-panned revelation of her being a godlike child of the Time Lords. It’s not clear if her decision was made before or after the pandemic delayed production, but the actress is said to be looking to take on other roles.
Much to the chagrin of some fans, showrunner Chris Chibnall, who came to the series at the same time as Whittaker, is reportedly staying on. His tenure as showrunner has been criticized as lackluster as the show did a soft reboot after the long run of showrunner Stephen Moffat. His most recent episode, the New Year’s special, has been met with a collective shrug from critics though it did feature two of the Doctor’s “fam” leaving.
It should be reemphasized that the departure of Jodie Whittaker from Doctor Who is still only a rumor, with no confirmation from any side. Doctor Who will return sometime this year.