As Doctor Who enters its 60th year, a show known for regenerations is changing once more. Behind the scenes, Russell T Davies took over as showrunner with Chris Chibnall recently exiting prior to his final two specials airing in 2022. As the T.A.R.D.I.S. door closes on the thirteenth Doctor and Chibnall, the next season has officially begun production. With Davies’ hard at work on the next season, the question everyone is wondering is, “Who will pilot the blue police box next?”
While there hasn’t been an official confirmation from the BBC or Davies, a new rumor is circulating, claiming that the fourteenth Doctor has already been cast. And if the rumor is true, it is huge for the show and sure to delight many fans.
A Familiar Face
According to the rumor, David Tennant is returning to Doctor Who for three specials in 2023. Originating from a Facebook fan page, the anonymous post claims that Tennant is returning as the titular character, but not in the way most might be hoping. Instead of playing the tenth Doctor again, he would instead be a new incarnation of The Doctor. The fourteenth Doctor. The rumor also states that Tennant is only returning for three specials before passing the role onto someone else. However, this entire rumor should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. Though for a second, let’s entertain the idea.
This news, if true, would be incredible for both the show and the fans. David Tennant was widely accepted by many as the best iteration of The Doctor, due to the energy and excitement he brought to the show. Having him return would help breathe new life in the show by bringing old fans back while also hopefully continuing to build a new fan base. It’s hard at times to separate Tennant’s time on Doctor Who from the exceptional writing of Davies, so having both back with a slight twist would feel as comforting as having your old friends back, but new enough to not feel tired of the current Whovian status quo.
This would also set a new precedent because the same actor has never played two different iterations of The Doctor. That being said, Doctor Who has recycled actors from previous stories. For example, both Karen Gillan and Peter Capaldi starred in “The Fires of Pompeii” prior to playing Amy Pond and the twelfth Doctor respectively. Capaldi’s double appearance received an in-show explanation, which may explain why Tennant’s return is possible. In the season eight episode “The Girl Who Died” The Doctor indicates that he chose his face as a reminder to “save people”. Capaldi previously played a character saved by The Doctor instead of perishing during the volcanic eruption.
The reappearance of Tennant serves a similar purpose. With some control over outward appearance, it could be that there is something about Tennant’s face The Doctor needs reminding of. Perhaps it could be a reminder to be kind to everyone, something that the tenth Doctor was known for. Or perhaps as a reminder to be accepting of others’ love, something that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor seems afraid of. Two possibilities, though it is just as possible that there is another reason that is tied to whatever bigger mystery Davies is sure to bring us.
Final Thoughts on Davies and Tennant returning
The pairing of Davies and Tennant would be an exciting way to kick off the sixtieth-year, hopefully leading to a multi-Doctor story that Doctor Who milestones have become known for. However, and I cannot repeat this enough, this rumor should be taken incredibly lightly until we have direct confirmation from someone tied to the actual production.
Seeing that Davies has been hard at work on the new season, it may not be much longer until we get an actual confirmation of the next Doctor. Whoever lands that coveted role will have big shoes to fill, even if those shoes are his own.
Doctor Who returns later this year with two more specials.
Update 1/26/2022: Since the initial reporting that we did on this rumor, there have been some updates about the next series of Doctor Who. First, the head of press for Doctor Who over at the BBC was asked about the possibility of his return, and their response left me intrigued, check that out here. Just today, another rumor from the same source as this one started making its rounds about another familiar face possibly returning to the show as well. Check it out here and let us know what you think!