The Doctor might be getting a new face sooner than anticipated. The 12th Doctor might become the 13th in season 11 of Doctor Who. And — in a drastic change from his current incarnation — it’s possible his new face will be quite a bit younger. But what does that mean for new companion Bill’s time in the TARDIS?
Steven Moffat — Doctor Who showrunner since Matt Smith’s arrival to the show in 2010 — will be leaving after the show’s upcoming eleventh season. It’s expected that Moffat’s final episode will be the 2017 Christmas Special. And that might be the 12th Doctor’s (Peter Capaldi) final episode as well.
Moffat has said that he doesn’t plan on writing Capaldi’s exit via regeneration, but a new report from the Mirror suggests that soon-to-be-Who showrunner, Chris Chibnall, might do just that. The Mirror’s source reportedly says: “BBC management wants a return to the format from the David Tennant era, when you had a dashing male lead and young female companion.”
Doctor Who lost the more widespread cultural popularity it gained with the addition of Smith’s 11th Doctor when he left and was replaced with Capaldi. And while Capaldi’s performance has been dark, daring, and different, the executives at BBC seem to be in want of a change.
Also in for a change: Pearl Mackie’s Bill, who hasn’t even been introduced yet. Mackie is currently signed on to Who with a one-season contract, and reports indicate that she’ll be leaving the show alongside Capaldi when he departs.
This could indicate a truly special relationship between Bill and the 12th Doctor. Companions are usually caught off-guard (even hopelessly confused) by the Doctor’s regeneration cycle — recall Clara’s reaction when the 11th Doctor departed. But it doesn’t ever prompt them to actually leave. Bill could be the first.
However, she won’t be the first companion to only stick around for a single season. Freema Agyeman’s Martha only stayed with the 10th Doctor for a single season before departing to take on her real life, so perhaps that’s what Bill will do. Maybe she’ll use her adventures with the Doctor to find a new lease on life, but then be done when he suddenly becomes young and “dashing” again.
This “teasing” for a new Doctor will, undoubtedly, light the fandom fire to try and guess who the new “Who” will be. Ben Whishaw has always been a fan-favorite option, and rumors of a female Doctor taking the reigns (especially after the Master’s gender flip) have been popular for a while despite the new reports using the terms “male lead” and “young female companion.”
No matter who possibly takes over, though, we know that the Doctor’s new face will be far less visibly war-weary once again.