Jodie Whittaker, the 13th Doctor in the science-fiction television series Doctor Who, will leave the show after the series’ abridged thirteenth season and two specials. Once she’s through with her current work, she’ll be entering the TARDIS and exiting the show, allowing another actor to take over as the iconic Time Lord. Her departure from the show has long been the subject of much speculation, but now, Jodie’s exit date is finally revealed.
Rumors suggest that Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker will leave the show in 2022, after concluding the abridged season 13 and two specials, ending her three-season run as the Doctor, as reported by Screen Rant. Interestingly enough, the tabloids have linked Whittaker’s departure with her absence from the front cover of the 2022 Doctor Who annual, which features the TARDIS instead of Whittaker’s portrait. This is the first annual cover in the show’s history that doesn’t feature a current Time Lord, despite Jodie’s ongoing involvement in the series.
Jodie Whittaker’s departure from the show makes sense, as it follows the three-seasons rule set by the show’s previous leads. She entered the show in 2018 and already concluded two seasons, with season thirteen being the third and final season she’s set to appear in. The upcoming season was cut to eight episodes from ten because of COVID restrictions affecting production schedules, and instead of running a full course, the series will release two specials filmed back-to-back with the upcoming season. Due to COVID-induced delays, the specials are set to release in 2022, extending Whittaker’s run as the Time Lord.
2022’s second special is likely to contain the all-important regeneration scene, in which Jodie Whittaker’s character will morph into the 14th Doctor, whoever that may be. Regeneration is a key aspect to Doctor Who’s longevity. The concept was introduced to the series in 1963. It allows the writers to replace the leading actor. Not only that, but the character’s regeneration enables the screenwriters to perhaps reinvent the show, change the Doctor, character arc, and the series’ style and tone. It plays well with the three-seasons rule, which was proposed by the Second Doctor actor Patrick Troughton, and followed by numerous Doctors over the decades.
It seems that Jodie Whittaker will be following the general rule. Though the Second Doctor’s proposal was purely motivated by fear of being typecast, Modern Doctors tended to follow the same rule due to the physically demanding nature of the role. Most of them played the iconic Doctor for three years, with some exceptions, of course, appearing on annuals regardless of their announced or scheduled departure from the show. But that’s not the case with Jodie Whittaker. Though she extended her stay due to circumstances, Jodie isn’t featured on 2022 annual cover for undisclosed reasons that have fans more than a little curious.
Jodie Whittaker is scheduled to enter the TARDIS sometime during 2022 to regenerate, with 2023 ushering in a new Doctor. The COVID-19 restrictions have affected the production, which prolonged Whittaker’s stay, and offered one convenient outcome – season 14, and the appearance of the 14th Doctor who is now scheduled for 2023, which is Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary.