Jodie Whittaker made history by becoming the first female Doctor in the long-running Doctor Who franchise. After three seasons in the role, it looks like she will be stepping down. According to The Mirror, the actress will be quitting the show after the upcoming series airs this Autumn in the UK. The BBC actually responded to this news but said that they “won’t be commenting on any speculation around Jodie’s future on the show.”
It is no question that Jodie Whittaker has suffered some strong discrimination for being the first female Doctor. Whether or not those issues factor into her decision to leave is unclear. However, The Mirror says that “she intends to stick to the traditional rule of leaving after three stints in the TARDIS, like the majority of her predecessors.” So her departure might not be maliciously motivated at all. Instead, she may just feel that she has served her time and wants to be free to pursue other roles.
An interesting wrinkle to this news about Jodie Whittaker’s end is that she won’t be the only one saying goodbye at the end of this next series. The source for The Mirror also says that co-stars Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole will also be exiting the show once the new series is over. But, showrunner Chris Chibnall will still be on board for the next installment in the franchise. Chibnall has also come under heavy fire from fans during his tenure as showrunner. Will he see even more ire focused towards him now that Whittaker is going to be gone as a target?
And the biggest question Jodie Whittaker’s departure brings up: who will be the next Doctor? Could the role finally be given to an actor of color? Or will the series fall back to casting a white male after giving the part to a woman for the first time? There will no doubt be rampant speculation and investigation going on now that the role will be vacant. How much will fans be eager to check out a new Doctor after Jodie Whittaker’s run with the part? And will this new regeneration be able to grab a new set of viewers or is Doctor Who only managing to hang on to the diehard fans at this point? There is no question that the show has diminished in international status in comparison to when David Tennant and Matt Smith were leading the series. Will the new Doctor have to be notable enough to nab a brand new generation of fans?
No matter what you think of Jodie Whittaker’s tenure in the Doctor Who franchise, there is no argument that her casting was an important and historic step for the nearly 60-year-old property. It is going to be interesting to see how her legacy is viewed in the coming years once we have a full picture of what her tenure as the Doctor will look like. Hopefully, she will be able to exit the series on a high note and deliver a finale to her version of the character that resonates with many of the other great actors who have played the role. We will know once her final season begins airing this Autumn.