Even decades after its creation, Doctor Who is still an immensely popular franchise. When Sydney Newman, C.E. Webber, and Donald Wilson created the series in 1963, few could have predicted how dramatically game-changing it would become. The initial series stopped airing in 1989, sixteen years before its revival in 2005. Now, there are rumors that the current Doctor, portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, could soon be leaving. With many wondering who could take her place, The Queen and Frost/Nixon actor Michael Sheen looks to potentially be a frontrunner.
Just weeks after The Daily Mirror brought unconfirmed word that Jodie Whittaker might be leaving the role, we now have a new rumor that Michael Sheen is set to take over as the next Doctor. This is just a rumor, but if it is true, it would be super exciting for the series. Sheen is a rare talent, an actor who isn’t afraid to flirt with controversy when he has something to say.
In the 1990s, Michael Sheen was primarily a stage actor. His television debut came in 1993’s Gallowglass, a BBC mini-series based on Ruth Rendell’s 1990 novel of the same name. In 1995, he made his film debut with an adaptation of Othello, which starred Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh.
More recently, Sheen appeared in the BBC/Amazon adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s acclaimed novel Good Omens, and currently stars on the Fox drama Prodigal Son. He has grown increasingly popular over the years, becoming something of a household name for his roles in various biopics and, of course, the big-screen adaptations of the Twilight saga.
As for Jodie Whittaker, she has only been the Doctor for 22 episodes, a short tenure when compared to David Tennant’s 47-episode run. Still, her turn as the Time Lord has brought seismic changes to the franchise and will hopefully open doors for new, undiscovered talent hoping to step into the Doctor’s shoes. Plus, recent actors who have played the Doctor have only stayed on for three seasons, so it might be Whittaker’s time to pass the torch, maybe to an actor like Michael Sheen.
If it has to come to recasting the character, Michael Sheen would make an excellent Doctor. He definitely has the charisma and the charm, and he has proven time and again that he can pull from a strangeness that absolutely elevates so many of his performances. It’s extremely easy to imagine him nailing the role, perhaps more so than any of the others currently on the BBC’s radar.
Among the other actors and actresses besides Michael Sheen who are supposedly being considered for the role are James Bond supporting actor Ben Whishaw, 12 Years a Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Ghosts star Charlotte Richie. Jodie Whittaker’s predecessors in the role include Peter Capaldi, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Christopher Eccleston, with William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee being the first three Doctors from the show’s initial run.
While recently, Doctor Who has tried to avoid casting young-to-middle aged white men in the role, Michael Sheen would be a compelling choice for the role, although one would think Doctor Who might want to keep up their current habit of having unique types take on the Doctor.