Doctor Who's Latest Casting Move Isn't as Controversial As You Think
A sudden cast change may seem jarring, but it really makes perfect sense.
Doctor Who is going back to basics. After the controversial Season 13 finale, the series rang in its 60th anniversary by bringing back both the original 2005 reboot showrunner and a fan-favorite Doctor and companion duo. Plus, the new Doctor is now the face of a rebranded “Season 1,” teasing a soft reboot for the entire series.
However, the sudden report of a cast departure led many fans to wonder if this risk is paying off at all. But a look at precedent suggests this isn’t as shocking as it looks, at first blush.
Variety reports that Millie Gibson, who introduced the character of Ruby Sunday in the Doctor Who Christmas Special, will leave the series after the upcoming Season 14 (or, as Disney+ wants us to call it, “Season 1”).
In Season 15, she will be replaced by Varada Sethu, best known as rebel Cinta in the Aldhani arc of Andor. While this may seem like a shock since the cast change comes before Ruby Sunday’s season even premieres in May, it’s not the first time a companion has left the show after only one season. The last time a companion stayed around for a single year was Bill Potts, who was the companion of the 12th Doctor for 2017’s Season 10. Bill, Martha Jones, and fan-favorite Donna Noble were all one-season companions, and they still left lasting marks on Doctor Who history.
There’s also a practical reason for this casting update being announced now. Filming for Season 15 has already begun, and considering how often this series films on location, set leaks are inevitable. Announcing a new companion now means fans won’t be shocked when someone new is shown in the TARDIS as the series continues production.
Doctor Who is fittingly looking toward the future, and that means planning way ahead with keeping fans informed too. So this isn’t a sign that fans can already forget about Ruby Sunday, she’ll have eight episodes of adventures with the Doctor this Spring.
Instead, trust that Doctor Who has a plan going forward, and that the one-season-wonder is a retro choice, not an indication of behind-the-scenes drama.