Time Lord

The new Doctor Who is a historic first for the sci-fi series

Ncuti Gatwa has been handed the keys to the TARDIS for Season 14 of the long-running series.

Ncuti Gatwa at the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

The Doctor has regenerated. After months of speculation and wild rumors, Doctor Who fans finally know who will replace Jodie Whittaker as the new Time Lord. The 14th formal incarnation of the titular Doctor Who will be 29-year-old actor Ncuti Gatwa.

Find out why this casting is fantastic and when we should expect to see Gatwa’s new Doctor grace our TV screens.

Who is the new Doctor Who?

On May 8, 2022, the BBC revealed that Ncuti Gatwa will play the Doctor in the 14th season of Doctor Who in 2023. This makes him the 14th actor to play the role as a regular on the series and the 16th Doctor overall. (John Hurt and Jo Martin have played other “secret” versions of the Doctor.) Like Peter Capaldi, Gatwa is Scottish but born in Rwanda.

Gatwa is already a pretty familiar face. Since 2019, he has starred in Sex Education, one of Netflix’s most popular shows. Put this in contrast with Matt Smith, who was 26 when he was cast as the Doctor in 2010 and was a relative unknown at the time. Essentially, Gatwa will bring some star power and charisma to the Doctor in ways we can’t begin to calculate.

He’s also the second Black actor to take on the role, following Jo Martin’s “Fugitive Doctor.” But he’s the first Black actor to become the Doctor in ongoing installments.

When will the 14th Doctor first appear?

Although the BBC reports that “Gatwa will make his debut as the Time Lord in 2023,” that’s almost certainly not true. As per tradition, the new Doctor usually appears in the final episode of the incumbent Doctor during the “regeneration” of one incarnation to the next. Because Jodie Whittaker’s last episode is expected to air sometime in Fall 2022, Gatwa’s 14th Doctor will likely make an appearance this year, at least briefly. For example, Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor made two cameo appearances in 2013 before taking over the role formally in 2014.

Returning Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies said Gatwa "dazzled us" in the audition process, and Davies “thanks his lucky stars” that they cast the actor.

On being cast as the new Doctor, Gatwa said:

“This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my upmost to do the same."

He also added that he’s a little “scared” to step into the TARDIS. But with the new season expected to air in 2023, there’s a good chance he’s already filming.

Now that we know who the Doctor will be, the only thing that remains is to see what kind of awesome Time Lord costume Gatwa will rock.

Doctor Who returns in late 2022 for Jodie Whittaker’s final episode. Season 14 will debut sometime in 2023.

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